How to make slow-cooker lasagna soup

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Lasagna is one of my favorite foods, but I don’t eat it nearly as often as I’d like because it’s time-consuming and fussy to make. Usually, when I’m craving it, I end up making spaghetti with marinara and topping it with about half a pound of Parmesan cheese. Then I discovered this soup. It has all the key ingredients of a great lasagna: sheets of noodles, rich meaty sauce and melty cheese.
With the help of the slow cooker, this meal is unbelievably simple to put together. Zucchini, celery and mushrooms add flavor and texture, but don’t worry: This isn’t a “light” soup. It has all the gooey, meaty goodness you expect from lasagna.
Cooktop Cove
Lasagna Soup
15 minutes
8 hours
8 hours, 15 minutes
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1 pound (450 g) ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound (225 g) sliced white mushrooms
1 zucchini, diced
3 stalks celery
1 teaspoon (1 g) dried oregano
1 teaspoon (5 g) granulated sugar
28-ounce can (800 g) crushed tomatoes
14-ounce can (400 g) diced tomatoes
4 cups (480 ml) chicken broth
8 ounces (225 g) lasagna noodles, broken into large pieces
2 cups (200 g) low-moisture mozzarella
1 1/4 cups (315 g) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons (3 g) fresh basil leaves, shredded
Rub olive oil around the interior of the slow cooker. Set ground beef on bottom and layer garlic, mushrooms, zucchini and celery on top. Sprinkle in sugar and oregano. Dump in crushed and diced tomatoes and chicken broth.
Cook on low for 7 1/2 hours, stirring after 4 hours, if possible.
Stir in noodles, mixing thoroughly. Cook 30 more minutes.
To serve, divide soup between six deep bowls. Add 1/3 cup mozzarella to each and stir in. Top with a 2-tablespoon dollop of ricotta and sprinkle with basil and Parmesan.
Pro tip: For a deeper cheese flavor, add a few Parmesan rinds to the slow cooker at the beginning of the cook time. The rind is the hard outer edge of the cheese. You can save rinds from cheese and collect them in the freezer, or some stores sell them by the pound; ask for them at the cheese counter.
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