Skillet Lasagna Roll-Ups with Kale Pesto

updated Dec 22, 2020
Skillet Lasagna Roll-Ups with Kale Pesto

This reimagined take on lasagna roll-ups boasts crispier edges and a fun new look. Starting with a store-bought sauce lets you focus your efforts on a nutty homemade pesto.

Serves4 to 6

Prep40 minutes

Cook45 minutes

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someone is stirring the skillet lasagna with a metal spoon inside of a skillet with small bowls of spices nearby and out of focus
Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

Throughout the pandemic, the type of food that’s satisfied me the most has been classic comfort dishes with a healthy-ish spin. In the spring, that meant spinach and herb-packed stuffed shells, and in the summer a phyllo pie bursting with as much zucchini as it could hold. That brings us to fall and winter and this cozy lasagna skillet, which I’ve given my green treatment to in the form of a nutty kale pesto.

These cheesy, crispy roll-ups are just what you need to bring new life to pasta night. A store-bought sauce lets you focus your efforts on the pesto, and a smaller yield than classic lasagna means you won’t be swimming in leftovers. If you’re burnt out on cooking, this dish will revive you — I can’t express enough how fun it is to make.

Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

A New Twist on Lasagna Roll-Ups (They’re Extra Cute and Crispy)

If you’ve ever made lasagna roll-ups, chances are you laid them seam-side down in a baking dish and covered them in sauce. But after seeing this beauty from the Don Angie chefs, I was inspired to flip the rolls upright to show off their fun frills — and give them deliciously crispy edges.

Assembling them is fun, and don’t worry about being too precious: They’ll taste great no matter how tightly or loosely they’re rolled. You’ll simply spread your ricotta filling onto each noodle, roll them up one by one, then cut each one in half to make two coils (do your best to not let the filling spill out). Arrange in a skillet full of sauce with the ruffled edges facing upwards, cover with cheese, and bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is browned. Serve with spoonfuls of leftover pesto and the marinara from the skillet.

Whether you eat plant-based full-time or want to go meat-free once a week, Tonight We Veg will bring you the feel-good vegetarian meals you crave. Twice a month, in addition to our existing lineup of great veggie recipes, we’ll share easy weeknight recipes that prove how diverse produce-forward food can be, each packed with smart tips we’ve picked up over the years. Cook along with us, and share your creations using #tonightweveg.

Skillet Lasagna Roll-Ups with Kale Pesto

This reimagined take on lasagna roll-ups boasts crispier edges and a fun new look. Starting with a store-bought sauce lets you focus your efforts on a nutty homemade pesto.

Prep time 40 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup

    plus 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more as needed

  • 2 large cloves

    garlic

  • 1/2 cup

    walnuts

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided, plus more for cooking the pasta

  • 1 large bunch

    flat-leaf kale (about 8 ounces)

  • 2 ounces

    Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1 firmly packed cup finely grated, or 2/3 cup store-bought), divided

  • 6 ounces

    low-moisture mozzarella cheese, divided

  • 1 bunch

    fresh basil leaves

  • 9

    dried lasagna noodles

  • Cooking spray

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • 1 (15 to 16-ounce) tub

    high-quality whole-milk ricotta cheese

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 (about 24-ounce) jar

    marinara sauce (about 3 cups), such as Rao's

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium straight-sided oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, crush and peel 2 large garlic cloves. When the oil is shimmering, add the garlic and 1/2 cup walnuts and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is lightly golden-brown and the walnuts are toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes (reduce the heat if the garlic is browning too quickly). Transfer the walnuts, garlic, and any residual oil to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment or a blender.

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, strip the leaves from 1 bunch kale and discard the stems. If needed, finely grate 2 ounces Pecorino cheese on the small holes of a box grater (about 1 cup). Grate 6 ounces mozzarella cheese on the large holes of a box grater (about 1 1/2 cups). Finely chop fresh basil leaves until you have 1/2 cup and reserve a few whole leaves for garnish.

  3. Add the kale to the boiling water and cook until bright green and wilted, about 30 seconds. Use tongs to pull the leaves out of the water, let any excess water drip back into the pot, then transfer the kale into the food processor.

  4. Add 9 lasagna noodles to the boiling water and cook 1 minute less than package directions, about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, add 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and half the Pecorino to the food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped, about 10 (1-second) pulses. With the motor running, stream in the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil and process until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add more olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time to thin it out as needed. Taste and season with more salt as needed.

  5. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. When the noodles are ready, drain and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet.

  6. Transfer 3/4 cup of the pesto (reserve the remaining for serving) into a large bowl. Add 1 cup of the mozzarella, all of the basil, 16 ounces ricotta cheese, 1 large egg, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir until combined.

  7. Spread all of the marinara sauce (3 cups) in the bottom of the skillet used to toast the walnuts. Then, assemble the rolls: Spread about 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture onto each lasagna noodle. Roll them up one by one, then carefully cut each one in half to make two coils, doing your best to not let the filling spill out. You should now have 18 coils. Arrange in the skillet in a single layer with the ruffled edges facing upwards. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and Pecorino.

  8. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and cheese is browned, about 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then top with fresh basil leaves and serve with reserved pesto and marinara sauce from the skillet.

Recipe Notes

Pesto: 3/4 cup store-bought pesto can be used in place of homemade.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days. Store leftover pesto in the smallest container possible with the smallest top surface area and thoroughly pack it in to eliminate air pockets. Pour a thin layer of olive oil over the surface or press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the pesto, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Pesto can also be frozen for several months.