Frozen ravioli is one of my favorite “cheat” ingredients. It’s a nice item to stash in your freezer for last-minute quick dinners when you don’t have anything else planned. And instead of just boiling them and adding sauce, sometimes I like to bake them up lasagna-style! This Baked Ravioli is a truly easy comfort food that takes next to no planning. You’re going to love it!
WHAT IS BAKED RAVIOLI?
This super simple dish is a lot like lasagna, but with a LOT less fuss. It’s simply layers of ravioli layered with a rich red meat sauce, then topped with cheese and baked to perfection. For this recipe we use a really simple homemade meat sauce to take everything up a notch, but you can totally use your favorite store-bought red sauce as a sub to make the baked ravioli even easier .
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for baked ravioli:
- Italian sausage: The sausage makes this dish super filling and it also brings a lot of built-in herbs and spices that give the sauce and overall casserole a lot of flavor. You can substitute non-pork Italian sausage if preferred, but if you substitute plain ground pork or ground beef you’ll want to double-up on the seasonings in your sauce.
- Yellow onion: Onion gives the sauce a nice natural sweetness to balance the acidity of the tomatoes, and a wonderfully savory base flavor.
- Crushed tomatoes: this is the base of your red sauce. The fine texture of the tomatoes is just the right texture between chunky and puréed.
- Italian seasoning: this simple store-bought seasoning mix is a one-stop shop for seasoning your red sauce. If you don’t have this, you can substitute a mix of dried basil, dried oregano, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme.
- Frozen ravioli: the star of the show, frozen ravioli makes this dish come together so quickly and easily. Plus, you can stash it in the freezer for emergencies without it going bad! Use cheese ravioli for the most lasagna-like experience. If you use beef ravioli, you may want to layer in some cheese with your ravioli and sauce before baking, and reduce the amount of Italian sausage in the sauce.
- Mozzarella: the final layer of gooey cheese that tops this simple casserole! You can use plain mozzarella or substitute with a mix of Italian cheeses, if you prefer.
- BUDGET OPTIONS
- I’ll admit, this recipe is a little indulgent with all of that sausage, and using convenience products, like frozen ravioli, will also make the cost a bit higher. BUT there are some swaps you can use to bring the cost of this recipe down even further. Here are some tips:
- Swap half of the Italian sausage for sautéed mushrooms, peppers, or spinach.
- Make your own Italian sausage by buying plain ground pork and adding in your own spices.
- Buy your cheese in bulk to bring the price per cup down.
- Use a store-bought red sauce (you’ll need about 32 oz.)
- Watch for sales on the sausage and ravioli, then stash them in the freezer to “lock in” that sale price until you’re ready to make your baked ravioli!
HOW TO STORE BAKED RAVIOLI
This baked ravioli will hold up in the fridge for about 4-5 days, so it’s great for meal prepping the week ahead! If you want to store it even longer, divide it into single serving portions and then once it’s chilled completely in the refrigerator you can transfer it to the freezer for longer storage (about three months). The frozen portions can be reheated quickly using a microwave for a super fast homemade meal!