The one handicap that comes with camp cooking is the lack of an oven. So naturally, lasagna and camping are two things I never considered together, until I recently discovered a way to make a delicious skillet lasagna. The concept is the same as baked lasagna — hot bubbly layers of pasta, sauce, and cheese — except that it all happens in a skillet.
A couple of months ago, I went camping at Portal Forebay campground in Central Sierra Nevada. It was the last weekend to get up there before the snow and we were excited to squeeze in one more easy weekend getaway. The power company is the area’s primary user, so the campground is surprisingly well-established for its location. There are paved roads through parts of the wilderness you would never expect to see, barely wide enough for one vehicle, that snuggle right up against cliff edges and go up and down steep mountainsides. Few others were around to share the spot, and for good reason — it was cold! That weekend, I tried a version of lasagna with fresh baby spinach and sliced cremini mushrooms. It was the meal everyone craves on a frigid night out in the wild.
For the recipe we are featuring here, we combined two Dirty Girls favorites and created a hearty ground beef and vegetable lasagna that can easily be customized to your taste. Substitute your favorite vegetables instead of the spinach and mushrooms, and omit the meat if that’s not your thing. If you can’t find no-boil noodles, use the regular ones, and cook them first.
We will soon be releasing a dirty version of this recipe for those who like to travel light. Once again, focus on the concept, and be creative with the specifics. This skillet lasagna will become one of your staple one-pot meals. If your friends are anything like ours, they’ll be in awe that you created such a delicious recipe and didn’t need an oven.
Prep Time / Cook Time/
Activity GuideBike Touring, Car Camping
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
- 1/2 pound ground beef (optional)
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/3 pound mozzarella, sliced
- 6 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles, or 6 regular noodles, cooked
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 4 cups fresh baby spinach
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Can opener
- Cutting board
- Large bowl
- Mixing spoon
- Stove with simmer control
- Large deep skillet or 2 quart pot
- In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and saute for 5 mins. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Add the garlic and onions and cook until onions are translucent, stirring frequently. Add the crushed red chili flakes and cook for a few seconds. Add ground beef, if using, and cook for about 5 minutes or until meat is browned and cooked through. Add crushed tomatoes and set can aside. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour about 2/3 of the sauce back into the can, and leave 1/3 in the bottom of the pan.
- Start by layering noodles over the sauce and then layer ricotta, mushrooms, spinach, mozzarella and drizzle with olive oil. Repeat layering starting with more sauce until all ingredients are used, ending with mozzarella. Top with the Parmesan cheese.
- Cover and simmer until the lasagna noodles are cooked and the cheese melts. Remove from the heat and let the lasagna cool for a few minutes before serving.