Use your solar oven as a slow cooker for lasagna or any casserole. Here are simple tricks for solar oven slow cooker lasagna!
Solar Oven Lasagna Recipe
I’m guessing you have a favorite lasagna recipe already? You can use that one with absolutely no changes!
If you don’t have a recipe, try this one from the Sun Oven blog for Solar Pesto Lasagna.
Or for a vegetarian option, try this Garden Fresh Zucchini Lasagna from Grow A Good Life.
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 greens in this lasagna and they were yummy.
Solar Oven Slow Cooker Lasagna Tips
Regardless of which recipe you use, here are a few ideas for making your slow cooker lasagna turn out beautifully in your solar oven.
Ingredients for Slow Cooker Lasagna
Like I said, your favorite recipe will work but here are a few suggestions for helping your lasagna turn out even better.
Greens & Cheese
If you have a garden, see what nutritious greens can be added into your slow cooker lasagna. Sneaking extra veggies into casseroles and sauces is an easy way to help your family eat healthier.
For example, 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.
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. Visit Farmhouse on Boone to learn to make homemade mozzarella cheese.
Noodles & Sauce
Used your favorite noodle for your slow cooker lasagna recipe but avoid rice pasta because it will disintegrate in the solar oven if there’s any interruption in cook time. Solar oven interruptions usually occur when cloud cover comes up unexpectedly. The lasagna will still cook, but rice noodles will turn to mush, in my experience.
Bottling your own spaghetti sauce will make any lasagna you make that much healthier. Visit Common Sense Home for a great canning recipe for spaghetti sauce.
Equipment for Solar Oven/Slow Cooker Lasagna:
Quite obviously, you’ll need a solar oven. To learn about various brands, please visit these articles:
- From Learning and Yearning, a review of the Sunflair Solar Oven.
- From Homestead Honey, an explanation of how she bakes in her Sun Oven brand.
We use the S.O.S. brand and are happy with it. Honestly, there’s something to admire in each brand, and there are drawbacks to each. I
think I should own one of each and use them all each time I cook. I cook for seven people, so having only one solar oven is not enough for a full meal.
Other Equipment Thoughts:
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 want to use aluminum foil, you can cover your casserole dish with a silicone mat. Whatever you use should be heat-proof.
If you don’t have a glass casserole dish, use whatever will fit inside your solar oven. Be sure to measure your dish BEFORE you load up your lasagna!
Baking the Lasagna in the Solar Oven
As always, remember to preheat your solar oven. Do this by simply placing the solar oven with the lid secure in the sun about an hour before you need to use it.
With something as thick as a casserole, which is what a lasagna is, you really need to remember that part. Use an oven safe thermometer to be sure the solar oven is up to temperature. For lasagna, this should be around 350°F/176°C.
For Best Baking:
- Your lasagna will need to cook 1-2 hours. Test it for doneness after an hour, and then again in another half hour, if needed.
- 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.
- 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.
I’ve found that cheese is the only unforgiving food in the solar oven. If it’s on top and you leave your dish in the oven too long, it gets petulant and rubbery.
Mess and Measuring in the Solar Oven
Reminder: 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.
This isn’t something we really have to think about when making slow cooker lasagna because we simply fill the insert with the ingredients. This is one way that casserole cooking in the solar oven is different from the slow cooker.
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.
Solar oven or slow cooker lasagna can both be messy! Just like you would with a slow cooker insert, be careful about overfilling the casserole dish unless you want to scrape cooked on bits out of your solar oven. Put a silicone mat underneath your pan to catch any leaks.
In winter, I’ve had casseroles take up to four hours to cook all the way through. In summer, this lasagna takes about 1 1/2 hours to get all melty and steaming. This is because the winter sun just isn’t as intense as the summer sun. It will still power a solar oven, though!
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.
Solar Oven Sides
If you have two solar ovens, don’t forget to make breadsticks or rolls 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.
If you’d like to explore a few more off-grid cooking methods, try this article to learn about two others – one might surprise you!
So, there you have it! What’s your favorite way to use your solar oven as a slow cooker? My new favorite is dehydrating fruit – read about that here!
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 pizza oven for complete off-grid baking!