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Authentic Italian Beef Lasagna

Our Authentic Italian Beef Lasagna is bound to be the best baked pasta dish you’ll ever try! Between the salty pasta layers, the cheesy warm goodness from Lifeway Kefir’s Farmer Cheese, and the lean ground beef to keep things light, this will go down in history as my favorite family meal prep recipe.

It’s so easy to make… just watch for yourself! 😋

Can I make this lasagna ahead of time (like meal prep)?

Absolutely! Here are some of my recommendations (based on a variety of schedules I’ve had in the past):

  1. (Freeze to Bake Later…) Make the lasagna up to the point of baking (so do not bake it), then wrap the baking pan tightly in sealable wrap to freeze for up to 2 weeks. When ready to bake, thaw in the fridge overnight to bake as instructed below.
  2. (Make earlier in the day to bake later in the afternoon…) This is my favorite way to make this lasagna, since the prep is very simple. I usually will start the beef mixture around lunch time, then let it simmer (covered with a lid) until an hour before dinner, which is when I assemble together the layers and bake.

What is Farmer Cheese?

Lifeway Kefir’s Farmer Cheese is a low calorie, reduced fat culture soft cheese that is made using their Old World recipe. It has tangy flavor that adds amazing richness to almost any dish! On its own, it’s packed with 12 live and active probiotics, as well as plenty of nutrients. 

It’s also up to 99% lactose-free, making this cake lactose intolerant friendly! In addition, each serving has 13g of protein and is high in calcium, AND is gluten-free… can it get any better?!

Read more: Lifeway Kefir’s Farmer Cheese

Authentic Italian Beef Lasagna
Authentic Italian Beef Lasagna

Thank you Lifeway Kefir for sponsoring this recipe! As always, all opinions are my own. 

Why is Farmer Cheese special?

If you’ve been around for a while, then you may notice my growing fondness for using Lifeway Kefir’s Farmer Cheese as a healthier alternative to ricotta in pasta dishes, buttermilk in cakes, etc etc. And in fact, that fondness began when I was a child, watching my mother, who is of Armenian descent, use this very farmer cheese in a variety of her dishes. One of my favorite being her crostini with a little lemon zest, honey, caramelized figs…

As I got older, and did a little more research into the nutritional facts behind farmers cheese versus ricotta cheese, I then understood why! While both are fabulous cheeses, I adore how Lifeway Kefir’s Farmer Cheese provides the special quality of live probiotics. 

Probiotics are made up of good bacteria that can help keep your body functioning properly and healthy. This good bacteria can help your immune system fight off bad bacteria, as well as keep your digestive system healthy! And because we can always use an extra boost in gut health 🙌🏼

Authentic Italian Beef Lasagna
Authentic Italian Beef Lasagna

I’m interested! Where can I try out these delicious Lifeway Kefir products?

Wonderful question! 😉 I have been purchasing their products for years at my local Whole Foods Market and Harris Teeter, but they are in so many locations that I would recommend checking here to find out one nearest you!

Now, it’s time to grab our aprons and begin baking deliciousness!

Authentic Italian Beef Lasagna

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Servings: 12 to 14 people

Ingredients

For the Soft White Cheese Layer:

  • 16 oz. Lifeway Kefir Farmer Cheese
  • 1 large Egg

For the Slow Cooked Beef Layer:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, minced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 28 oz. Crushed Tomatoes
  • 6 oz. Tomato Paste
  • 6.5 oz. Tomato Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Beef Broth
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Dried Italian Herbs
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper

Other:

  • 16 oz. Lasagna Noodles
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Instructions

For the Slow Cooked Beef Layer:

  • In a large saucepan, heat up the olive oil for 1 minute. Add in the minced onion to saute for 2-3 minutes, then add in the garlic to saute for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  • Add in the ground beef, using a spatula to break it up. Cook for 5-8 minutes, until beginning to brown. Add in the remaining 'slow cooked beef layer' ingredients, then stir together until well combined.
  • Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, then lower the heat to simmer for at least 45 minutes, up to 1 1/2 hours.

For the Soft White Cheese Layer:

  • Simply whisk the egg in a medium-sized bowl, then stir in the farmer cheese.

To Assemble:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the lasagna noodles to cook for 8 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water.
  • In a 9×13" baking pan, add 1/2 cup beef mixture to spread out evenly. Add a layer of lasagna noodles that are slighty overlapping one another. Add 1/3 of the ricotta mixture to spread evenly on the noodles, then top with 1/3 of the remaining beef mixture. Repeat until all ingredients are used, then top with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake for 20 minutes (covered with foil), then an additional 20 minutes (without foil). Let it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving warm.

’till next time! xxL

If you loved this delicious recipe I would truly appreciate it so much if you would give a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram @brightmomentco. It always makes my day seeing y’alls creations!

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“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” ~ Lamentations 3:25-26

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