{The Recipe ReDux}: Homemade Lasagna in Jars

by Robin on August 20, 2013

in dinner, food memories, recipes

Intern Kylie here!

So my older sister is dating a nice Italian boy.  Like for real Italian.  Not like how I’m German because my great-great grandpa grew up in Germany.  Her boyfriend grew up just outside Milan and is only in the U.S. for his PhD.  So for this post we’ll lovingly refer to him as, “The Italian.”

Why is this relevant? Because in the year they have been dating, I have been fed more pasta, gnocchi and lasagna than ever before in my life.  I’m not complaining.  The only downside is that the majority of the dishes are made with heavy cream. Again, not complaining.  He’s making us recipes that were taught to him by his mom and I’m sure have been passed down for generations. And if there is one thing you don’t mess with, it’s family traditions.

The Italian has taught my family that it’s blasphemy to (1) put chicken on pizza and (2) order broccoli and cheese gnocchi at a restaurant.  And unless you want to be on the receiving end of a death glare, under no circumstances should you ever suggest dinner at Olive Garden.









But all jokes aside, he’s really taught my family something about truly enjoying and savoring food.  At first, it drove me CRAZY that he didn’t eat dinner until around 9 pm.  I mean, WHAT?! When we would make dinner reservations with my sister and him we always had to compromise on the time.  I’m all for eating dinner at 6 pm…we’d usually end up with reservations at 7:30 pm.  Compromise.

It took me awhile to realize it, but even something as simple as waiting to eat dinner a couple hours later really made me slow down and start looking forward to food.  I mean, I always look forward to food…hence the food blog and the obnoxious here-is-everything-I-ate instagram.  But I feel like in the past year, since The Italian has been in all of our lives, I’ve started to appreciate food more.









When he makes us dinner, it’s not just another lasagna or another bowl of pasta; it’s a way for him to be close to his family when they’re more than 5,000 miles away.  We all eat the food…The Italian putting his fork down after every bite (and taking sips of his red wine, which is a dinner essential for him) and he tells us how his mom’s version of the dish is always better (I think that part is true for all cultures).

So in the last year I’ve developed a better understanding of what food is.  It’s more than something to fill you up.  It’s a way to keep memories alive.  It’s a way to feel your mom in the kitchen when she isn’t there.  It’s a way to be at home when you can’t be.  To me it cares much more meaning than flavor.  And in the words of this girl, “nostalgia really is the best flavor.”

Understandably, I’ve recently developed a fondness for all things Italian.  Which is why when I was trying to think of something that had layers that I could put in a jar…lasagna immediately came to mind.

In this version of lasagna I left out the heavy cream and went for a lower fat cheese options (part-skim ricotta and low-fat mozzarella). And to cut down on the salt, I made homemade tomato sauce.  Well, kind of.  I used no-added-salt canned tomatoes for the base instead of fresh tomatoes…so I guess that’s kind of cheating.

Then you just layer all the lasagna ingredients into the jar, bake and you’re good to go.  Now, The Italian would probably tell me that it’s blasphemy to eat lasagna out of a jar…but I have to admit, it was pretty fun.

Buon appetite!

Lasagna in Jars
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Ground Turkey Layer
1.25 lb lean turkey, ground
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Tomato Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
14.5-oz can of diced tomatoes (low sodium/no added salt), undrained
6-oz can tomato paste
3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parmesan, shredded
¼ teaspoon salt
Cheese Filling
15-oz container part-skim ricotta
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
½ cup low-fat mozzarella
1 egg
Other ingredients
3-4 no-boil lasagna noodles, broken into pieces that fit inside the jar
Fresh basil leaves
½ cup parmesan, for garnishing each jar
8, 6-ounce glass jars
Cook the Turkey
Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add in ground turkey and minced garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until turkey is browned and cooked through. Set aside.
Make Tomato Sauce
Add olive oil to a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Add in minced garlic and stir until fragrant and golden brown, about 1 minute. Add in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, fresh basil, parmesan and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and partially cover.
Make Cheese Filling
In a bowl, combine part-skim ricotta, parmesan cheese, mozzarella and an egg. Mix until everything is incorporated.
Assemble in Jar
Pour tomato sauce into cooked ground turkey and mix together.
In a 6-ounce jar, layer the ingredients in the following order: Ground Turkey Pasta Sauce, no-boil lasagna noodle, cheese filling, fresh basil leaf, ground turkey pasta sauce, no-boil lasagna noodle, cheese filling, sprinkle of shredded parmesan. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Jars will still be warm so be careful when people are grabbing them. Serve with salad.
Makes 8 jars of lasagna (serves 4-8 depending on how many jars each person wants/sides served with the lasagna)
RobinsBite Culinary Nutritionist Registered Dietitian http://robinsbite.com/



{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

dixya| food, pleasure, and health August 21, 2013 at 7:59 am

this is such a creative recipe. I never thought about baking it in the jar.


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 21, 2013 at 8:27 pm

On pinterest I saw little banana breads baked into jars and I was like, “that is SUCH a good idea!!” So I went crazy thinking about what else I could bake in them:)) I was also thinking about somehow making a healthier deep dish pizza baked into a jar…don’t exactly know how it’d work but sounded fun:)


Deanna Segrave-Daly August 21, 2013 at 9:11 am

As a Italian-American, I so love this post :) My sister lived in Italy for 4 years too so I reaped the food benefits as well! I learned that you never ever ask for olive oil to drizzle on your bread at a restaurant – it’s considered poor taste (who knew?) These lasangas are so adorable – got me craving them for lunch!


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 21, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Definitely didn’t know that about olive oil + bread…I’ll keep that in mind when “The Italian’s” family comes to visit haha:)


Dr Barb, Nutrition Budgeteer August 21, 2013 at 10:29 am

What a creative idea. When thinking about this month’s theme for Recipe Redux, never even thought about baking a meal in a jar. Very creative.


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 21, 2013 at 8:31 pm

I blame pinterest haha:) I saw someone bake banana bread into a jar and thought it was such a good idea!


Alex @ Delicious Knowledge August 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm

So cute! As an Italian (my dad is from Italy) I totally understand the appreciation of food part. I love that I was taught, from an early age, the art of cooking and of course- my grandma’s recipes. This lasagna in jars looks so yummy! As one who does not practice portion control around lasagna, this looks like a great solution!


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Haha yes!! Definitely a great solution for portion control! And I bet your grandma’s recipes are what dreams are made of…so delicious I’m sure:)


Karman August 21, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Really enjoyed this post and hearing about “the Italian”–Love how that culture embraces meal time!


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm

It’s been so fun to be around him and experience it all:) It’s funny though, there are 5 of us in my family but I feel like he’s had a greater impact on us than all 5 of us have had on him.


Deb @ Dietitian Debbie Dishes August 21, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Mmm… I love this idea! These are so cute. I feel like they would be easy to pack in a lunch and reheat at work too!


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 21, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Ohh definitely something easy to grab-n-go and then reheat. My grad school is starting up soon so next week I’ll be back to packing lunches. I should make a batch of these again this weekend, would definitely be convenient!


Meal Makeover Mom Janice August 21, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Love this idea! Wouldn’t this be fun to heat up, wrap in foil, and send in a child’s school lunch?


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 22, 2013 at 8:08 am

I say, “YES!” but then again, I’m a little biased:)


Diane Boyd August 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm

I think there are lots of people packing lunch and dinner these days who would love this recipe!


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 22, 2013 at 8:08 am

It’s a good change from the typical sandwich or salad that people (myself included) tend to pack for lunch. I know I’d look forward to this way more than I would look forward to a sandwich haha:)


Nikki @ The Kids Menu August 21, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Love it!! What a fantastic idea – I would have been worried about baking in a jar too.


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 22, 2013 at 8:05 am

I think I had a couple visions of the jar exploding in the oven…but everything seemed to come out okay:)


Nina @ Whats for eats August 22, 2013 at 1:16 am

I have a real problem making lasagne in a tray – making individual portions in a jar like this sounds like the answer!! Love the story that goes with your recipe too Robin.


Robin August 22, 2013 at 8:52 am

Hi Nina-
Isn’t Kylie smart for coming up with such a great recipe (and story)? I think it’s going to be a great solution for lots of folks!


Liz - Meal Makeover Mom August 22, 2013 at 6:53 am

Wow. What a clever recipe. I never thought about baking in mason jars, but it sure makes sense! This is SO family friendly … and healthy, of course :)


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 22, 2013 at 8:03 am

…and just fun to eat haha:)


Jessica @ Nutritioulicious August 22, 2013 at 8:09 am

I studied abroad in Italy when I was in college, so I have a special place in my heart for Italians (and Italian men ;-) Absolutely love this recipe – so creative!


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 23, 2013 at 9:49 am

I completely regret not studying abroad in college. I bet living in Italy was a dream! Glad you like the recipe:)


sandra August 22, 2013 at 2:12 pm

what a great idea. I love the individual pots for a savory lunch treat.


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 23, 2013 at 9:51 am

And with all the layers I thought they were fun to make…even if they do take a little time to layer everything into the jar. But I think kids could enjoy helping layer everything together!


Mary @ BrightonYourHealth August 22, 2013 at 11:09 pm

I really loved your article and recipe. Great idea for lasagna in a jar! Did the “Italian” taste it and what did he think :) ?
I live in France and visit Italy (just to eat) a few times a year. Usually I love to go to Bologna, Italy, a wonderful city known as one of the food capitals of Italy and is located close to Milano.
I love how your sister’s boyfriend cooks the family food and you sit and savor every bite. Adored your comment on how eating at the Olive Garden just wouldn’t happen (agree!) and no broccoli and gnocchi.
Just love it all.
And yes, 9 pm is my dinner time too!
Grazie mille for this wonderful post!
Mary Brighton


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 23, 2013 at 9:59 am

Haha I love that you visit Italy, “just to eat” hahaha:) I’d love to be able to hop over to Italy for a quick dinner! Living in Texas it takes me ~6 hours just to get out of the state…so I really can’t just hop into a new culture very quickly. Europe sounds like such a fun place to live.

The “Italian” DID try the lasagna and he said he enjoyed it…but he wouldn’t ever say anything bad about anything I cooked:) His sister actually lives in France too…she’s in Lyon.


heidi@betterthandormfood August 23, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I love this idea, esp for work lunches. My hubby and I fight for leftovers that we can bring the next day. I’m making this instead.


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 23, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Do it…and then hide them in the back of the fridge so they don’t disappear on you:)


Alex August 25, 2013 at 8:20 pm

I LOVE this idea! Portion control, deliciousness and perfect for an on-the-run, throw in your bag lunch!


Kylie @ immaeatthat August 26, 2013 at 9:59 pm

My thoughts exactly!!


Stephanie May 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Can you tell me what temperature you bake these at? I can’t find it listed anywhere.


Robin May 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Whoops!! Sorry about that–it’s 350. Thank you for stopping by!


Nova May 14, 2014 at 10:43 am

So…how do you eat these? I mean, they look awesome, but I don’t understand how to eat them. Isn’t the jar hot? Once the jar cools down, isn’t the food cooled off too? And, instead of getting a bit of every layer in every bite, do you end up eating first sauce, then noodles, then cheese, etc? Mild confusion aside, I love how this make lasagna portable!


Robin May 15, 2014 at 11:42 am

Aren’t they adorable? I’m passing your question along to the original author, Kylie Held from @immaeatthatblog. I’ll look forward to her reply, too.


Kylie @ immaeatthat May 16, 2014 at 10:22 pm

Hi Nova! Yes, the jar is hot. These wouldn’t be the best for little kiddos:) I let mine cool for 10ish minutes before serving so the jar wasn’t 300F+. But you still have to be careful not to handle the jar…kind of like when you order enchiladas at a Mexican food restaurant and you have to be careful not to touch the hot plate.

Also, I just dug in and got noodles+sauce+cheese in every bite! No layer by layer eating!:)


N.C. August 26, 2014 at 4:14 pm

How do you mince olive oil I wondered out loud! Under your tomato sauce ingredients you listed olive oil to be minced!!!!! Also I assume you mean to cook this at 350 degrees for the 45 minutes, right? I didn’t see a temperature listed. Anyway, this sounds great and am about to embark on this cooking venture today. Thanks.


Robin August 27, 2014 at 8:34 am

Oops! no mincing of olive oil needed! Thanks for catching that! Yes, 350 for 45 minutes. Enjoy!


Jody February 25, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Hi there,

This looks like an amazing idea. Just a quick question – can you bake the lasagna and then refridgerate it and heat it back up? I was thinking of baking one for my lunch but would have to make it the night before.



Robin February 25, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Yes! Absolutely. Thanks, Jody! Enjoy!


Sarah June 13, 2016 at 9:15 pm

I really enjoyed reading your post, especially your encounter with “The Italian”. Your lasagna in jars is cool. I’ll definitely make one for myself. This is so suitable for people with everything on-the-go! Buon appetite!


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