Look, let’s cut to the chase: lasagna is heaven-sent ambrosia for the lifter on a budget. Even if you aren’t on a budget, you would be hard-pressed to find a meal with such perfect macro ratios as a lasagna. Although I love to cook, I have stopped cooking lasagna for the most part, simply because you can’t beat the price of a pre-made lasagna, even if you make it yourself. Combined with the time it takes to make, I would rather buy a pre-made lasagna, and cook another meal while the lasagna is cooking.
Much like pizza, a bad lasagna is still lasagna, which means you WILL be finishing it. However, not all lasagnas are created equal. In this article, I compile my reviews of the three pre-made lasagnas that I have seen on most store shelves. I will be ranking them from worst to best; so, put on your lasagna shorts and let’s get to our pinkies-up review of my three lasagnas. (NOTE: I did not include brands of single-serving lasagnas, although any can be single-serve if you believe in yourself)
#3. Stouffer’s Lasagna with Meat Sauce
The macro ratios aren’t too bad, so if you are a VERY tight budget, this is the lasagna for you. However, it only beats the next two lasagnas by a couple dollars, and I would pay the extra for some ricotta: cottage cheese is the choice of an unsophisticated countryman when it comes to lasagna. The ingredient list is actually pretty good for a pre-made meal; you can recognize all ingredients, and I like when ingredient lists end with an actual food. The next two lasagnas beat this lasagna on all fronts, though.
#2. Kirkland Signature Lasagna (AKA: Costco Lasagna)
Price: $16.99 (two-3lb packages)
Ah, Kirkland Signature: the brand we all grew up on. These lasagnas have a special place in my blackened soul, alongside my mother’s lasagna, because I have enjoyed both more times than I can count. Costco lasagnas now come in two different options: a standard 6lb lasagna with beef, and a package of two-3lb lasagnas, with beef and Italian sausage. I have grown partial to the sausage lasagna, because I love the taste of fennel seeds in my food. As you can see, the ingredient list is amazing: it starts with tomatoes, and ends with milk. This is why I say you can’t make it for this cheap. Even if you didn’t buy organic, 2lbs of beef alone would run you almost 10 dollars. For $16.99, you are much better off buying a pre-made lasagna.
The mouthfeel of this lasagna is very enjoyable, it makes you want to keep taking more bites. The noodles are somewhere between al dente and soft, which is my personal favorite. The ricotta is abundant, and although it doesn’t have as much flavor as I would like, ricotta beats cottage cheese any day of the week. The macro ratio is near-perfect, and the ratio of ingredients is almost unbeatable, which brings me to my top lasagna choice, below.
#1. Michael Angelo’s Lasagna with Meat Sauce
I have to be honest: I have only eaten this lasagna twice, but that doesn’t keep it from being #1 on my list. Costco lasagna was poised to take home 1st place, until this dark horse showed up. It is truly the best pre-made lasagna I have ever eaten, no question. I like that the noodles are thinner than the previous two lasagnas, and it is the only one that isn’t soup-like when taken directly out of the oven. I don’t think I have ever seen such a beautiful ingredient list for such a large meal: The first ingredient is tomatoes, and the last is FRESH parsley. It may not be as large as the big Costco lasagna, but two of these together is still cheaper than one Costco lasagna. The ricotta is heavy with this lasagna, just how I love it, and the ricotta is VERY flavorful. I can tell that it was made by them, and not scooped out of a flavorless tub of store-bought ricotta that has been sitting in water for a month.
The mouthfeel of the noodles and proteins in this lasagna are simply to die for. There is no gummy texture, no layer of fat left on the roof of your mouth, and most importantly, it just begs to be eaten in one setting. The cheese on the top is thick and fresh, no spared expenses here.
This was a list of my top three lasagna choices, I hope you enjoyed them, and I hope it made you hungry. I was not paid to write this article, I simply love lasagna.