Combining two classic recipes into one, this delightfully unique Reuben Lasagna is made with layers of tender corned beef, tangy sauerkraut, aged Swiss cheese, al dente pasta sheets and 1000 island ricotta caraway cream. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, enjoy this lasagna with a pint of your favorite Irish Stout.
One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is to create recipes that merge two very different recipes into one. Whenever I’m eating I’m always thinking, “oh, I bet this could be made into a pizza, burger, pasta salad or taco and be amazing!” That’s how this week’s recipe came about. A few years ago I was planning a dinner for my Dad’s birthday which happens to be close to St. Patrick’s Day. I wanted to create something special for him that combined a few of his favorite foods: lasagna and reuben sandwiches.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my dad is fairly predictable when it comes to food. When we go out to eat, my Mom and I can usually look at the menu and put bets on what he’s going to order. However, it’s gotten to the point where my dad has caught onto our little game and started trying new things just to prove us wrong. I know, we’re all super mature!
Two menu items that my dad always seems to gravitate towards are lasagna and reuben sandwiches. So I decided I wanted to figure out a way to blend these two family-favorites together.
At first, the task seemed a little daunting but I soon realized how naturally a reuben’s ingredients could be incorporated into the layers of lasagna.
As for the corned beef I want to start fist with a little PSA. Please for the love of God don’t use sliced, process deli corned beef for this recipe. It just won’t work the same way. Don’t do it. No. Just Stop. Don’t. You’ve been warned.
I would have inserted a video clip of sad forlorn roasted corned beef briskets in meat cages with Sarah McLachlan singing to reinforce my point in this post. Unfortunately, this blog doesn’t have the production budget to get the rights to her music though. Hopefully, my words are all that’s needed for you to put the deli meat down and go for the real beef.
I love to use leftover corned beef for this recipe. It’s a great way to use it up the remnants of your St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage plus it makes the prep work a lot faster.
However, on days where I’m making this lasagna, in its entirety, from scratch, I like to start the corned beef in the morning and let it cook all day in a slow cooker. That way, by dinnertime, it’s falling apart and just waiting—ready for me to assemble the lasagna.
My slow cooker corned beef is easy. Just add the meat to your crockpot with the seasoning packet. Next, add diced onion, a little Dijon mustard, a bay leaf and enough Guinness to almost cover the meat. Then, let it cook for 4-6 hours on high—or until it easily shreds with two forks.
One piece of this Reuben Lasagna that I struggled with was how to ensure there was still plenty of moisture in it after baking. Traditional lasagna gets a lot of its moisture from both the meat sauce and ricotta. Therefore, I didn’t want to completely abandon those elements.
This is where 1000 island dressing comes in. The lasagna gets a healthy splash of 1000 island to not only the cooked corned beef but it also gets infused into the ricotta cheese. This allows for the corned beef to stay moist once it’s baked and also maintain that essential creamy ricotta layer everyone loves.
While we’re on the topic of ricotta, I also add a generous amount of caraway seeds to this layer. I think this addition really gives this recipe the iconic rye flavor it needed to truly be considered a Reuben Lasagna.
Last, let’s talk cheese. To mellow out the strong flavor of aged Swiss cheese, I decided to go with a blend of Swiss, mozzarella and Parmesan. This blend maintains the classic lasagna flavors of sharp parmesan and melty mozzarella but incorporates the pungent Swiss cheese flavor found in every great reuben sandwich.
When assembling the lasagna, follow the classic order of ingredients. Meat sauce, noodles, ricotta, cheese, veggies (sauerkraut in this case), meat sauce and repeat—ending with a final layer of corned beef. Then, top everything, of course, with lots and lots of cheese. This lasagna smells amazing in the oven and the cheese gets nice and bubbly.
If you’re a lover of lasagna and a lover of reuben sandwiches this recipe will likely become one of your new favorites. It was certainly a hit with my dad on his birthday.
I think what I love most about this recipe is that it’s a new take on two classic recipes. It’s something old and something new at the same time. Recipes like these are always great reminders that boredom shouldn’t be possible when it comes to food. If you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut, cycling through the same old recipes, try blending them together in a new way. You might be surprised and find a hidden gem in the process. Or you might fail—but that’s what takeout is for. Right?
I hope everyone has a safe and delicious St. Patty’s Day. Thanks for visiting!
- 2.5 pounds shredded, fully-cooked corned beef, see recipe notes below
- 1 (16-ounce) box lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
- 16 ounces sauerkraut, drained
- 2.5 cups swiss cheese, grated
- 1.5 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated and divided
- 14 ounces 1000 island dressing, divided
- 2 eggs
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.While the oven preheats, grease a deep 9×13 rectangular baking pan or casserole dish. Set aside.Next, combine corned beef with 1 1/2 cups of thousand island dressing in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.Then, in a separate large mixing bowl, whisk two eggs. Add ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup 1000 island dressing and stir until fully combined. Season with salt, pepper, caraway seeds and parsley and mix until everything is blended. Set mixture aside.
Finally, in a small bowl, mix together grated swiss, mozzarella and remaining parmesan cheeses to create a three-cheese blend. Set aside.Now, take your prepared casserole dish and start assembling the lasagna. Note that you’ll likely have about 3-4 layers of each filling so do your best to divvy up your ingredients to ensure relatively even layers.Begin with a layer of the corned beef mixture. Then lay down a layer of cooked lasagna noodles to completely cover the meat layer. Next, spread a little of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with grated cheeses and top with an even layer of sauerkraut.Repeat the order of ingredients two more times, ending with a layer of the corned beef mixture. Top the lasagna with any of the remaining cheese blend. Or, by all means, grate a little more, if you have it, for an extra cheesy top layer.Tightly cover your baking pan with tin foil and place lasagna into your preheated oven. Bake to 30 minutes and then uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Lasagna is ready when cheese is melted, bubbling and starting to turn golden.Remove from oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. To serve, garnish with additional caraway seeds and chopped fresh parsley and cut into squares. Enjoy.
For an easy corned beef slow cooker recipe:
- 2.5 pounds corned beef (with seasoning packet)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 12-16 ounces Guinness (or other dark beer)