the main course

Leftover Parmesan Rind Lasagna

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While they’re a little too hard to eat as is, leftover parmesan rinds still have a lot to offer to your cooking. Put them to good use in creamy soups, vegetarian broths, and cheesy pastas like this Lasagna. The rind will thicken the mix a little bit and imbue an extra oomph of that sharp, nutty, cheesy flavor.

Makes 6-8 servings

Leftover Parmesan Rind Lasagna with Imperfect Foods Ground Beef


For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp Imperfect Foods Olive Oil
  • 1 lb Imperfect Foods Ground Beef (or ground turkey, ground Italian sausage, or Impossible ground beef)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Imperfect Foods Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 28-oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For assembly

  • 1 ½ pounds (about 6 cups) of fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 16 oz ricotta
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb dried lasagna noodles
  • Imperfect Foods Olive Oil, to taste 


  1. Add oil to a large pot and bring to medium heat. Add meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat starts to brown, about 4-5 minutes. If using a vegan meat alternative, cook according to the directions on the packaging. 
  2. Add onion and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and rosemary. Cook, stirring until the tomato paste turns dark red. 
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pot and stir until everything is combined. Fill one of the empty tomato cans halfway with water and add to the mixture. Add the parmesan rind (and don’t forget it as you’ll want to take it out later) and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°. 
  5. Fill a large pot with water, add salt (more salt than you think; the water should be “salty like the sea”) and bring to a boil. Cook the lasagna noodles to al dente according to the directions on the packaging. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water. Drizzle oil between noodles to keep them from sticking together.
  6. Set aside 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. In a medium bowl, combine remaining 5 cups of mozzarella cheese, ricotta, 1 cup parmesan, and cream. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Spoon a little of the meat and sauce mixture onto the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish and spread it out. Top with a layer of noodles. Then top with about 1 cup of meat sauce and 1 cup of the cheese on top. Top with another layer of noodles and repeat until you run out of noodles and sauce. Remember to pull out the parmesan rind when you see it. Top with reserved mozzarella and more parmesan.
  8. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and place the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any overflow.
  9. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling up around the edges. Remove foil and increase oven temperature to 450°. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the lasagna top is golden brown and crispy. Cool slightly before serving.

Recipe Notes and Variations

  • Lasagna keeps pretty well so this recipe can be made up to 5 days ahead before serving. You can also keep it in an airtight container in the freezer for several months.
  • We used a classic rectangular 3-quart baking dish to make our Leftover Parmesan Rind Lasagna, but you can adjust the quantity of ingredients to fit a smaller or larger dish. 


  • Emily
    December 16, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Love this! I always keep a bag of leftover parmesan rinds in my freeze to throw in soups and sauces. I will have to try this lasagna.

    • Imperfect
      December 21, 2021 at 11:36 am

      You’re awesome! Thanks so much for being a food waste warrior with us! 💚


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