This Spicy Quinoa Lasagna Rolls recipe uses a semi-homemade spaghetti sauce that starts with 2 store-bought jars and is filled with quinoa, peppers, onions, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, and ricotta cheese.
Lasagna Rolls are another one of those things I think almost everyone out there has their own version of, but of course mine is THE best. It is full of all kinds of spicy, cheesy flavor, and loaded with nutrition packed quinoa. I know after you try my Spicy Quinoa Lasagna Rolls they will become your new favorite as they are mine. In case you haven’t heard of quinoa before let me tell you why I love it.
First while it is a grain it’s also a complete protein, which means it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids. Lots of people mistakenly think you can’t get all 9 amino acids from plants, but that simply is not true. Quinoa while having a slightly nutty flavor by itself takes on other flavors amazingly well. Which is why I choose to use it in my Spicy Quinoa Lasagna rolls, plus given the consistency depending on how you use it I find it a similar texture to ground meat. Though admittedly a bit finer ground than you normally find with meat.
Quinoa Cooking Tip: This is what your quinoa should look like when it’s finished cooking. See all the cute curly q tails and exploded inner bits? That’s perfect. If you’re ever cooking quinoa and they get done before all the water is gone, just drain it off. If you run out of liquid before quinoa explode just add a little more and keep cooking. No harm done!
Lots of people find lasagna rolls easier to put together than a traditional lasagna, however I find them to be about the same. I’m not sure if I just know a few handy tricks when it comes to stacking a lasagna but in any case they seem to both be pretty quick. If you have an extra pair of hands around your house these Quinoa Lasagna Rolls go together in no time if you make a little assembly line, but if you’re like me and solo don’t worry it’s not too much work. The one thing I do like about these compared to a full lasagna is that they are nicely portioned out for you, which makes serving easier, and I can cut back on the amount of cheese I use making them just a bit healthier.
I like to lay all my noodles out after I cook them it just keeps them from sticking together as they cool and having to spend tons of time trying to pull them apart in one piece when they do. If you have issues with your noodles sticking together while they are cooking just add a Tbsp or two of extra virgin olive oil to the water before adding the noodles. Be extremely careful when laying your noodles out as they are very, very hot. Make sure to use tongs, forks, or another utensil so you don’t burn your hands. I find tongs to move them and forks to unfold them work the best. Do not touch them with your bare hands until you know they are cool enough to do so.
Once you have them all laid out you’re just going to layer ricotta, followed by the sauce, and a couple of slices of the fresh mozzarella. Then starting at one end you’re going to slowly roll it towards the other end, you may need to kind of make sure you’re tucking the filling in slightly if it starts to put out. Make sure not to push down too hard as you roll and that will also help keep the filling inside. Next just transfer them to a 9×13 glass pan. You’ll want to put a little sauce down in the bottom of the pan first to keep the rolls from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pan as they bake. Repeat until the pan is full. Make sure to save sauce and mozzarella for the tops of the rolls.
The last thing I want to talk about for these Spicy Quinoa Lasagna Rolls is the spicy element. I use 2 Fresno Peppers, I like them when they are red however if you find green ones just know the flavor is slightly different and they are not as spicy. I usually add them to the slow cooker whole, except slicing the stem off while not cutting into the pepper. I only do this because I’ve found sometimes the stems will soften enough to fall off during cooking and then you have to go looking for them, so it’s an optional step.
If you happen to slice too far into the pepper and expose the seeds you have two options; throw it in the pot, however the seeds add a lot more heat, or slice it up length wise and clean out all the seeds. I only leave my peppers in about half the cook time but suggest you start tasting around 2 hours in. The sauce should set your mouth on fire when you taste it alone because once you add it with the noodles, cheese, and quinoa it calms down a good amount to be the perfect level of spicy. The other options you have are to use a milder pepper or no pepper at all if you do not enjoy spicy food.
This recipe will be split into two recipes for you. One will be for the sauce and the other for the Spicy Quinoa Lasagna Rolls. I’m doing this because I love this sauce, I use it when I want spaghetti or need to make a full lasagna, or really anything with red sauce. So feel free to print just that recipe and try it on anything you like.
I’d LOVE to hear from you! If you try one of my recipes you can use #spicefulkitchen on Instagram or connect with me on Facebook. I’m always here to answer questions or try to help with substitutions you may need for your family as well.
Spicy Quinoa Lasagna Rolls
Remember you’ll need BOTH of the recipes below to make this meal.
- 2 jars of pre-made spaghetti sauce
- 2 Fresno peppers, stems removed
- 2 bell peppers, chopped (your choice of colors)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 oz Crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp Cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbsp Italian blend herbs
- ½ Tbsp salt
- 2½ cups water
- 1 cup Quinoa, rinsed
- 2 pinches salt
- ¼ tsp dried garlic granules
- 1 tsp Italian blend herbs
- Chop your bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, mince the garlic
- Remove stems from the Fresno Peppers
- Add everything to a crock-pot with the 2 jars of sauce and the seasonings listed to the water
- Cook on High 4 to 6 hours or low 6 to 8
- After 2 to 3 hours taste and remove the Fresno peppers if the sauce is hot enough, if not continue cooking and check every 30 to 60 mins.
- During the last 30 mins add the water, quinoa, and remaining seasonings to a pot on the stove
- Bring to a boil, cover with a lid half off, turn down and simmer 20-30 mins
- Combine the quinoa mixture and sauce right before using
- 1 batch Spaghetti Sauce
- 1 pkg lasagna noodles, prepared as directed on package
- 15 oz Ricotta Cheese
- 1 lb Fresh Mozzarella
- Prepare lasagna noodles as directed on package
- Slice mozzarella cheese into thin slices
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spread a little sauce into the bottom of your 9x13
- Lay out the noodles flat
- Spread a layer of ricotta cheese across the bottom of them
- Follow with a layer of the sauce
- Top with 2-3 slices of mozzarella
- Place in pan with the noodle flap on bottom
- Repeat until the pan is full
- Cover with remaining sauce
- Add an additional slice or 2 of mozzarella to each roll
- Bake 35 to 40 mins, until everything is bubbly and cheese is nice and melted