lasagne in 15 minutes?

[almost] 15 Minute Lasagne

Last week I was telling my Irishman about this great idea.

For my 15 Minute Meals class I decided to base the recipes in the class on my student’s suggestions. Like a 15 Minute challenge.

Anyway, he though it was a great idea and shared it with his colleagues. That afternoon I got an email with a request.

15 minute lasagne and 15 minute jelly.

Now 15 minute jelly (or jell-o) shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Make a very concentrated jelly solution then cool it down with ice and water to set it quickly.

15 minute lasagne, on the other hand. That would take some thinking about.

So on Saturday, I gave it a shot.

And the result?

Much better than even I expected.

Working really quickly, I was able to get a pretty decent lasagne in the time limit. It was all about using a skillet to quickly cook the beef then add tomato paste and butter for an instant meat sauce.

The next trick was to construct the lasagne in the hot skillet, layering over a medium heat so the lasagne started to cook from the bottom as the layers took place. A combo of ricotta and parmesan saved the need to make a bechamel sauce which would have taken 15 minutes in itself.

Then a blast under a super hot overheat grill to brown, melt the cheese and make sure the top layers were cooked. Done.

And how did it taste?

My Irishman was a little bit concerned when I suggested we have my 15 minute lasagne for dinner on Saturday night.

To say he was blown away by how good it was is an understatement. So don’t feel like you’ll need to hide this lasagne away from company. It’s good enough for entertaining.

When I tasted the lasagne freshly made, it was better than just edible, but the lasagne sheets weren’t quite as tender as I would have liked. An extra few minutes under the grill and a few minutes to stand before serving would have fixed that (thus the ‘almost’ in the recipe title). By the time I reheated it for dinner, however, it was everything a good lasagne should be.

Is there something you’d love to be able to make in 15 minutes or less?

It’s not to late to join us for our 15 Minute Meals – delicious food fast class which starts this Saturday [video with more details below].

Or leave a comment below with your suggestions.

almost 15 minute lasagne

[almost] 15 minute lasagne
takes 15 minutes (if you’re quick!)
serves 4

I’ve called this [almost] because while I got it done in 15 minutes, I was working really hard and the average cook would struggle. Most people should be able to get it done in 20 minutes though.

Feel free to use your own freshly made pasta or your favourite meat sauce instead of this super quick version.

In the excitement of making the lasagne, I forgot about my ingredient count and ended up with 6. Woops. You could keep to 5 ingredients by skipping the butter and replacing it with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

500g (1lb) minced (ground) beef
4-6 tablespoons tomato paste
2 knobs butter
500g (1lb) full fat ricotta
3 handfuls grated parmesan cheese
3 large fresh lasagne sheets, cut into 1/3s

1. Preheat your over head grill on it’s highest setting and place a large fry pan (skillet) on a very high heat.

2. Add a little olive oil and the beef to the pan. Cook stirring every minute or so until the meat is no longer pink.

3. Meanwhile, combine ricotta and parmesan in a bowl.

4. Add the tomato paste and butter to the beef and stir well. Cook for another few minutes until the butter is melted and everything is hot.

5. Reduce the heat under the pan to medium. Remove 3/4 meat from the pan and smooth the remaining meat over the base.

6. Cover with 3 of the lasagne sheet 1/3s. Then add more meat (1/4). Layer with more lasagne. Then layer with more meat (1/4) and grate over the parmesan. Layer with the remaining 3 lasagne sheet 1/3s then cover with the remaining meat (1/4).

7. Scoop ricotta mixture over the top to cover then grate more parmesan over.

8. Place under the hot grill for about 5 minutes or until the top is golden brown and everything is hot. If you have time let is stand for a few minutes before serving.


video version of the recipe

*note: I recorded the whole process and haven’t edited it to prove that I made it in the 15 minutes time limit. You might like to skip through, rather than watch the whole thing. And please excuse the camera focusing and the odd shot of my kitchen floor.

Jules x


  • Love the idea, although I’d be hard pressed to make a vegetarian one (esp without any fake meaty stuff) in 15 minutes hehe. Actually I spose if you had some canned lentils it could work ok, but the flavour probably wouldn’t be as good!

    Thanks for this, am really enjoying these real-food-fast posts of yours! Very empowering for people who think cooking real food is too hard!

  • I just wanted to say… This concept is brilliant! People always think of lasagne as something that you need to slave over and you’ve taken it to a whole new level of corner cutting with this post!

  • This is such a great idea! Although lasagna only being 15mins away is dangerous!!!

    Just wondering, any tips on making it vegetarian? Without using fake meat?

    Thanks for all your great posts!

  • Frozen veggies and prechopped mushrooms would make it vegetarian and stay easily within the 15 minutes. For potlucks, my mom and I would always make veggie lasagna with spinach instead of meat and everyone loved it.

    My question is, where did you get the premade fresh pasta sheets? If one didn’t mind starting the water early, I suppose dried would work as well…

  • Laura
    Love the idea of your Mum’s spinach lasagne
    The fresh pasta sheets were just from the supermarket here in Australia. Dried would work if you precooked them like you suggest – but I think you’d have to forget about 15 minutes then.

    I’ve actually made a veggie lasagne for the 15 Minute Meals class. Use 2 drained cans of lentils instead of the meat – just heat and combine with the tomato paste and butter. I also put in layers of grilled eggplant and red capsicum (peppers) from the deli. If I had to choose I think the veggie version would be my favourite!

    Nasty might be a bit harsh.. it actually tastes really lovely. But it’s far from being traditional thats for sure :)

    What sort of veg would you have in your pie? Sounds like a great idea

    You’d be surprised how good lentils taste in a dish like this – really recommend giving them a try

  • I’d love to see a 15 minute pot roast. Obviously you can’t braise anything in 15 minutes, but a dish with that sort of unctuous texture is always what I crave when I need comfort. Something that evokes that same feeling would be awesome. Similarly, a 15 minute pot pie (chicken, shepherds, veg, etc) would sure come in handy! (Can you tell I’m craving rich comfort food today?)

  • While I’m definitely a fan of quick but good cooking, I wouldn’t stick to 5 (or even 6!) ingredients just for the sake of it. A few handfuls of baby spinach leaves in the layers, which would cook right with the pasta, would up the nutritional value tremendously. Similarly some grated carrot or zuccini, and a clove or two of garlic in the meat sauce.

  • I tried this last night but was slightly wary of the lasers not bing cooked through-our grill isn’t great-so whilst the meat was cooking I simmered the fresh pasta sheets in a shallow sauté pan for a few minutes first with lashings of olive oil between to avoid sticking, then blotted on kitchen paper. I also substituted the tomato paste for some red pesto as that is what I had in the fridge. It was delicious! Thanks Jules for this amazing idea. I agree that it’s not traditional but I realise that’s not supposed to be the aim. A very impressive 15 minute dish.

  • For almost every new post of yours that has arrived in my inbox lately, a voice in my head has gone “I WANT TO MAKE THAT!”
    I just made your lemon cake (YUM) and will make this lasagne this weekend (and have made many other dishes in the past weeks and months)! I think I’d like to spend a little more time on it (perhaps just 5 more minutes) though so I can add some vegetables to it – perhaps grated carrot and a can of tomatoes but the philosophy is inspiring and fantastic. I love your site!

  • This is amazing Jules!
    I never imagined that you’d get it done so quickly!! And I can’t wait to try it. Thanks so much!

  • Jen
    A 15 minute pot roast would be a challenge – will have to add it to my list :) I’ve been thinking about pies as well… I think it could be done using frozen puff pastry..

    Love the baby spinach idea to up the veggie content – and it wouldnt really add any more time

    Would never have thought of red pesto – great idea!

    Glad to hear I’ve been getting that voice in your head to talk :) So glad you’re enjoying Stonesoup. Thanks for leaving a comment – it really makes my day to hear people enjoying my recipes

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    And I’ve included a veggie lasagne in the 15 minute meals class as a bonus recipe because it doesn’t quite fit the time limit but is just as lovely as this meat version.

  • Jules your blog is the answer to my hectic lifestyle. Im a college student, new wife and living in the Colorado mountains with only generator electricity and hot water heated on the stove. Im making this lasagne tonight! Im a nutrition student so Im always looking for easy ways to eat healthy despite the craziness! Thanks for your hard work and great ideas!

  • Hi Jules
    What a lovely blog! You’re food looks amazing and what a great idea to have an e-book! I have just started a food blog and I especially love the little things you do extra for your readers, like the printer friendly button. Very cute!
    Can’t wait to try this lasagne, i’ve had a craving for lasagne for at least a week but couldn’t find the time to make one! Perfect solution!

  • Just tried this (it has been on my “to cook” list since … Sept 6, I guess–didn’t realize how busy I’ve been!), and it tastes as yummy as it looks. I didn’t have any parmesan, so I used the feta I had instead and tossed some oregano and garlic in with the beef. I think next time I will also add a tablespoon or two of water to the tomato paste to make it a little more saucy. I usually avoid lasagna because it can be so expensive, messy, and time consuming, but I will definitely make this again. (Hopefully it will not be another 2.5 months before I cook dinner…)

  • Jules, I’m brand new to your site and I am an instant fan! One question about the yummy lasagana: is there a reason that you did not layer the ricotta mixture with the meat and only left it for the top layer? I’m just so used to the bechemel being layered along with the meat sauce but maybe for quick cooking it doesn’t work? Or was that just a preference-thing?

  • Will have to give this a go, always mean to make lasagne but get put off by how long it takes. It getting the thumbs up from another Irish person is a good endorsement!

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