3 Store-Bought Frozen Lasagnas That Are (Almost) Better than Homemade
I remember reading Garfield comics as a kid and feeling an intense kinship as the fat cat tossed pawfuls of lasagna in his face while “I Love Lasagna” floated in the thought-bubble above his head. Same, Garfield. Same.
I don’t just love lasagna, I worship it. You can’t go wrong with a warm, bubbling casserole of noodles, tomatoey meat sauce, creamy ricotta cheese, and stretchy mozzarella. Even the “worst” versions of it are OK (in my opinion). And the best versions — made with seemingly never-ending layers of tender fresh noodles, rich Bolognese, and creamy béchamel — haunt my dreams.
Clearly I’m not the only lasagna-lover out there, considering the freezer aisle is full of the stuff. The single-serving microwavable options are ideal for quick lunches or dinners with a salad on the side. And the big ones make family dinner a cinch. Just unwrap and heat. Which ones are the best? The ones Garfield (and discerning shoppers) would love the most? I recently decided to gather up all the lasagnas I could find at my local grocery stores — including a mainstream grocery store, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Target — to see which ones tasted the closest to homemade (and would find a regular spot on my shopping list). Here are the clear winners.
1. Rao’s Meat Lasagna
Rao’s marinara sauce is my go-to jarred pasta sauce, so I had high hopes for the brand’s frozen lasagna. Rightly so, it turns out — it’s fantastic. The noodles come out perfectly cooked with a nice chew; the sauce is bright, fresh, and tomatoey without musty dried herb flavors or unnecessary sweetness; the ground beef and pork are wonderfully tender; and the layer of herbed ricotta is rich, creamy, and fluffy. Quite a feat for a frozen entrée. Rao’s makes a 27-ounce size for serving family-style, too.
2. Udi’s Gluten-Free Italian Sausage Lasagna
You’d never know this delicious lasagna was gluten-free. The noodles cook up nice and chewy, and a generous serving of bright tomato sauce with flavorful bits of Italian sausage add even more dimension. The herbed ricotta stays creamy throughout and doesn’t become dry, which can be an issue when reheating frozen lasagnas.
Buy: Udi’s Gluten-Free Italian Sausage Lasagna, $5.49 for 8 ounces at Target
3. Trader Joe’s Roasted Vegetable Multigrain Lasagna
Amy’s makes a fine veggie lasagna with generous amounts of spinach, but this family-size veggie lasagna from Trader Joe’s won me over for going all-in on roasted vegetables layered between sheets of multigrain pasta made with rye, oat, and flaxseed. I love that the pasta has added nutrition, plus there’s a much wider array of vegetables than you normally see in frozen lasagna: zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, carrots, and mushrooms. The tomato sauce is on the bland side, but when I topped it with fresh Parmesan and a few spoonfuls of Trader Joe’s Italian Bomba Hot Pepper Sauce, it was a huge hit.
Do you have a frozen lasagna that you swear by? Tell us about it in the comments below!