I tried making Lasagna Soup for the first time and it was comfort food-level satisfying, especially when paired with soft breadsticks!
Cool weather comfort food
I feel like we’ve been spoiled with this cooler weather we’ve been enjoying lately. The fact that it’s February and it’s still chilly at night makes me DREAD all the more once real Philippine weather kicks in. Just thinking about last year’s 40+°C highs makes me shudder. I do not look forward to the moment when once again literally everyone and their dogs will be complaining about the heat. (Seriously, my friend’s dog already knows how to open the AC on her own so…)
That said, I feel like it would be a crime to not savor every second of this blessedly cool weather. For some reason, I have it in my head that to do it properly, I should at least post a comfort food recipe here before it all ends… in flames.
I’ve had this Lasagna Soup recipe in my backlog for a while now. I actually stumbled upon it accidentally, and out of curiosity, I HAD to try it. The only lasagna I ever knew is the casserole version after all. It never even crossed my mind there would be a soup adaptation of it. Did you guys know?
Anyway, it’s always a gamble trying soups like these in our house because I never know how people will receive it. We very rarely make Western-style soups because we love our Asian soups over here. But every once in a while, I like to change things up. This Lasagna Soup was definitely one of the most unusual soups that ever graced our table. It’s a cheesy, tomatoey pasta soup that is both filling and effective in evoking warm and cozy feelings. In short, it really hit the spot.
From lasagna to lasagna soup
I can’t recall the exact circumstances under which I came across this recipe, but I do know it’s from the Cooking Classy blog. Being something I’ve never made nor encountered before, I was really hesitant to make particular adjustments to it. However, I do find that I need to really reiterate one VERY important thing when you make this: SEASONING. You need to take the time to taste and season this soup REALLY WELL before serving, otherwise I imagine it will just taste kind of plain. Seasoning properly will make a forgettable Lasagna Soup cross over to one that makes people go ‘Mmmm…’.
I also want to point out that taking time to cook the onions until it begins to somewhat caramelize is also an important step to get maximum flavor. Shamefully, this is something I actually failed to do because I was in a hurry, so PLEASE do not be like me. (Of course, the cheese topping helps in the flavor department too.)
Making this reminds me of making lasagna in a way, except it’s super simplified. I have tried making lasagna a few times before, and I was never quite pleased with the result. In fairness to the recipes I have tried though, I have to take responsibility for those fails. In my haste to finish I took a lot of shortcuts I shouldn’t have taken, and I could not be bothered to take the extra tiny bit of time and effort to taste and adjust the seasoning.
Making lasagna can be a troublesome and time-consuming undertaking, and so when I flash back to all those failed attempts I can’t help but question myself as to why I wasted all that time making the actual lasagna but never made sure the sauce tasted perfect before proceeding lol. I did not want to have the same regrets with this one, especially since nobody (including myself) wants to feel like they’re drinking slightly flavored water rather than soup. TLDR; I seasoned the heck out of this Lasagna Soup. At some point, I have to learn my lesson right?
Lasagna Soup made right is simply comfort food-level satisfying. Plus, it’s something you can make in less time than actual casserole lasagna. I’m not here trying to compare the two because these two dishes are honestly quite different, but I just want to say this is a much quicker option if you’re craving for the taste of lasagna but haven’t the time to actually make a legit one. It’s kind of like a thinner tomato soup on crack, because it has pasta and beef and cheese. And oh my the cheese topping! It really takes this up a notch! Definitely invest in good cheese and none of that pre-grated stuff! Not only will it taste better, but the cheese pull from the mozzarella is extra gratifying this way!
Lasagna Soup tastes even better once reheated as well, similar to actual lasagna. However, there were barely any leftovers when I served these with breadsticks. Strangely enough, being able to soak up all the soup using the bread make it much easier to consume more.
Let’s talk about the breadsticks
I’m kind of obsessed with them. They were so easy to make but were so good! (These are soft breadsticks, mind you.) I don’t know if it’s because I spend way too much time making yeast breads with super long instructions, but simple bread recipes that still produce fluffy breads always blow my mind. And to think I probably over-kneaded this a little bit because I completely forgot to add the oil with the rest of the ingredients before popping the bowl onto my stand mixer. I only remembered to add it later on, when the dough was already in one piece. The oil didn’t quite incorporate properly using the dough hook so I had to knead it manually for a few minutes.
It’s a testament to the solidness of this recipe from LoveBakedIn on Food.com that despite all the extra kneading, the breadsticks still came out fabulous! They were incredibly easy to make, and honestly you can even make things easier if you decide to pass on the twisting step and just kind of cut them up into broad pieces. They only needed a single rise but they came out lovely and soft! And you know what that means? They soak up the soup really nicely.
Funnily enough, these breadsticks also need a lot of spices to be flavorful enough to eat on their own. You can use whatever combo of spices and herbs you like for this and the only tip I can give is DO NOT HOLD BACK! Lightly spiced is fine if you’re eating these with the Lasagna Soup, but if eating them alone, I recommend being generous with the spices. You can also do the parmesan coating indicted in the original recipe because it also makes these breadsticks really tasty! I personally conservatively spiced my breadsticks because I wanted the Lasagna Soup flavors to be more prominent. Overall, I’m really happy I tried this combination!
- Yellow onions work best for this (and all soup recipes in general). I realize we’re having a bit of an “onion crisis” here in the Philippines right now, but I can’t really give a good non-onion substitute for this one. I made this recipe before the expensive onion era so I was able to use a lot of it, and you really want onions for that extra depth of flavor and some natural sweetness in your soup. Onion powder for me is okay as a seasoning agent to boost the flavor of the soup, but not as the main onion component. For best flavor, you’ll want to cook the onion until it starts to really soften and starts to caramelize and leave some fond on the bottom of the pot. Don’t be like me and be making things in a hurry! That tiny bit of extra time will be worth it.
- You can use fresh herbs in place of dried, but you’ll need a lot more of it. Dried herbs, as long as they’re fresh, will have some good concentrated flavor. It’s also much more convenient to use. However, if you have access to fresh herbs, you can totally make good use of that! Cooking Classy recommends using 1/4 cup of fresh basil to replace the dried basil. For the dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary, simply triple if using fresh.
- Make sure to taste and season this as you go! You definitely want to avoid bland or overly salty soup. I kept tasting the soup and actually ended up adding some sugar to this recipe to give it a bit of balancing sweetness.
- You can use broken up lasagna or bowtie pasta for this recipe. I used bowtie to make things cute. You can actually probably cook the pasta in the soup itself if you’re serving this right away and are sure you won’t have any leftovers. As a general rule, I usually cook my pasta/noodles separately for these kinds of dishes. Then I estimate much my family would be able to finish during a specific meal before combining it with the soup. If you add all your pasta at once and end up with leftovers, the reheated pasta will be soggy.
- Use good quality cheese for the cheese topping. The cheese component really brings this to a whole other level, so definitely DO NOT skip. I also recommend using block cheese rather than pre-grated cheese.
- Lasagna Soup tastes even better once reheated. Just like good lasagna, this becomes even tastier after being aged lol. Ideally, you’ll want to cook some pasta anew the next day and add that into the reheated soup just to avoid soggy pasta.
- Be generous with the spices when making the breadsticks. You can totally use your favorite combo of spices here. I kept it simple but you can totally follow the original recipe of brushing the breadsticks with butter and sprinkling with garlic salt and/or parmesan cheese.
- If you’re planning to make the soup and breadsticks at once, I have suggestions on how to time the recipes so you can finish them in time to serve together. See the recipe box below!
Lasagna Soup with Quick Breadsticks
For the Lasagna Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
- 450 grams lean ground beef, patted dry
- 1 large yellow onion, diced (equivalent to 1¾ cups)
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1,080 mL (4½ cups) low-sodium chicken broth, plus more to thin as needed
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced or crushed tomatoes
- 2½ tablespoons tomato paste
- 1¾ teaspoons dried basil, or more to taste
- ¾ teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 Tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
- Chili powder or chili pepper flakes, optional
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 180 grams bowtie pasta or 8 lasagna noodles, broken into bite-size pieces
- 150 grams (1¼ cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 60 grams (½ cup) finely shredded parmesan cheese
- 250 grams (1 cup) ricotta cheese
- Basil leaves or parsley, for garnish
For the Quick Breadsticks
- 240 mL (1 cup) warm water
- 1 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 60 mL (1⁄4 cup) oil
- 360 grams 3 cups bread flour
- 2½ teaspoons (almost 8 grams) instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or basil*
- 1½ teaspoons garlic or onion powder*
- Melted butter and grated parmesan, for optional coating
Make the breadsticks
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, place all the dough ingredients and give it a little mix with a spatula. Once shaggy dough is formed, attach to stand mixer with the dough hook. Knead for about 5 to 8 minutes until dough is elastic, supple, and pulls away from the bowl.
- Dump dough out onto your work surface and roll out into a 10- x 12-inch rectangle. Cut into strips about 3/4 inch wide. Twist each strip into your desired shape. I like to fold in half before twisting, like a pretzel. You may also just cut them into long breadsticks outright. Place on a greased or lined cookie sheet.
- Cover and let the dough rise for 30 minutes, up to 1 hour if you have the time. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) for at least 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, start the lasagna soup
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot, crumble beef into pot, season generously with salt and pepper (and other desired spices to flavor). Allow to cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Remove beef from the pot and set aside a moment. Leave the beef fat inside the pot.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive then add in the onions. Sauté until it begins to soften and starts to caramelize a little bit, about 3 minutes. Really give the onions time to soften and release flavors. Add in the garlic; sauté for 30 seconds.
- Pour in chicken broth, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sugar, chili powder/flakes (if using), and the browned ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Mix and give it a taste, then adjust the seasonings according to taste.
- Bring the soup just to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.
In the meantime, make the breadsticks
- Bake the risen bread dough for 10 to 15 minutes. (I like to open the top heat during the last 5 minutes to brown the breadsticks.) Once done, brush with butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired.
Continue with the remaining soup components
- In another pot, bring water to a boil and prepare bowtie or lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain well.
- In a small mixing bowl, make the cheese topping. Use a large fork or wooden spoon to stir together mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta. Set aside until the soup is ready to serve.
- Once the soup is ready, stir cooked pasta into soup. If you feel the soup is too thick at this point, feel free to thin it out with a bit of broth. Off the heat. Ladle soup into bowls, place a large dollop of the cheese mixture on top, then garnish with chopped parsley or basil.
- Serve the soup with warm breadsticks on the side. You can use the breadsticks to mix the cheese into the soup as you dip. Enjoy this comforting meal!
Watch how it's made
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