Our family loves lasagna and I try to make up a big bunch at one time because if you’re going to make a pan of lasagna, you may as well make five pans. Last time I made up a big batch, though, I ran out of time and room in my electric oven. The solar oven came to my rescue for that last pan of lasagna and it acted as a slow cooker until we were ready to eat dinner.
For more outdoor cooking tips, be sure to visit that section in our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. Do you have a favorite outdoor cooking method? I’d love to know about it!
Solar Oven Lasagna
I’m not going to give you a recipe for this because you can use your favorite one with absolutely no changes. You could try this recipe from the Sun Oven blog for Solar Pesto Lasagna. Here’s one for burrito lasagna! The one in these pictures was a vegetarian lasagna with various greens we’d thinned from the garden. I think I had beet, onion and spinach seedlings in this lasagna and they were yummy.
Tips for great solar oven lasagna
Regardless of which recipe you use, here are a few ideas for making your slow cooker solar oven experience a little easier:
- Go rummage in the yard and see what you can toss into your lasagna to make it even more interesting. We added lambs quarter and thinned beet seedlings because that’s what we pulled from the yard that day. Any time you thin out baby plants at the seedling stage, make sure you either eat them right away or toss them into salad.
- We used a rice lasagna noodles trying to keep it gluten free but since the lasagna was in the solar oven for so long they just disintegrated. Next time, I think we’ll just go ahead and use a quality wheat noodle.
- If you don’t want to use aluminum foil, you can cover your casserole dish with a silicone mat. Pick your poison.
- Bottling your own spaghetti sauce will make any lasagna you make that much healthier. Click here to learn how.
- If you’re a cheese maker, or would like to be, making mozzarella is a fun place to start. It’s one of the easier cheeses to make. If you’d like to go all out, make your own ricotta, too. Use the highest quality dairy you can find. Click here to learn to make mozzarella.
- Instead of an aluminum pan, put your lasagna in glass dish. Here are some thoughts on healthy cookware, please click here.
If you don’t have glass, use whatever will fit. Be sure to measure your dish BEFORE you load up your lasagna!
More tips for great solar oven lasagna
- Your lasagna will need to cook about two hours. Test it for doneness after an hour and then again in another half hour. With this recipe, you don’t want to over bake if you can help it. Cheese is the one unforgiving thing in the solar oven if you over cook it.
- As always, remember to preheat your solar oven. With something as thick as a casserole, which is what a lasagna is, you really need to remember that part. I’m speaking to myself more than to you, FYI.
- Lasagna is messy and no matter how careful I am to not overfill the pan, some stuff always bubbles out. The cheese especially does this and it’s sticky. Put a silicone mat underneath your pan to catch as many of those leaks as you can.
- Pre-cook your meat. If you try to leave the lasagna in the solar oven long enough to cook the meat, you’ll turn your top cheese to rubber. Like I said, cheese is the only unforgiving foodstuff that I’ve found in the solar oven. If it’s on top and you leave your dish in the oven too long, it gets petulant and rubbery.
- Like I said, pre-measure your pan BEFORE you fill it with your lasagna layers to make sure that it fits inside your solar oven. Remember height, as well as width and length. On my S.O.S. the lid slopes down. More times than I can say I’ve walked out to my oven and put in my pan, only to discover that the sides are too tall and the lid won’t latch. Argh. Reason number 57 that I need to figure out how to build my own. I love my S.O.S., don’t get me wrong – that just really bugs.
- In winter, I’ve had a casserole take four hours to cook all the way through. In summer, this lasagna took about two hours to get all melty and steaming. Yum.
- Do NOT forget your hot mitts when you go to get this out and figure your apron will work just as well. Ask me how I know.
Or, you could do this in your solar oven
If you have two solar ovens, don’t forget to make breadsticks in the other one! If you’d rather just make loaves of bread, here’s a recipe and method from My Food Storage Cookbook – please click here. Just for kicks and if you’re not in the mood for lasagna, here’s her pizza recipe for the solar oven – please click here.
So, there you have it! What’s your favorite way to use your solar oven as a slow cooker? If pizza is more your thing, be sure to check out my friend Teri’s book below – a favorite read at our house! We’re gathering materials to make our own…
To get you started on your slow cooker solar oven journey, you may need these fine products: