Cowboy Chili Lasagna
Homemade Lasagna + Cowboy Chili?
At first glance at the title, this recipe may sound strange.
Yet think about… Stewed meat with hearty spices, noodles, and cheese. Just because it’s not traditional Italian lasagna, doesn’t mean it’s not a win.
My kids’ favorite chili recipe is our Slow Cooker Chili Mac & Cheese. They love the blend of rustic chili flavors mingled with macaroni noodles, and a generous amount of cheddar cheese, to make the chili base ultra-rich and silky.
We entered their favorite chili recipe in a local chili cook-off and won!
So today I thought I’d share a fun spin on both our “award-winning” Chili Mac & Cheese, and on lasagna.
A Lasagna Recipe For Everyone
Some people don’t like classic Italian-American lasagna because they think the tomato sauce is too sweet…
I don’t know any of these people personally, and probably could not be friends with them if I did, but I’ve heard of this strange anti-lasagna phenomenon.
If you fit into the lasagna hating sub-culture, I forgive you.
Just kidding, that’s going too far. No need for forgiveness.
Yet, I do believe I’ve got a recipe to convert you… Cowboy Chili Lasagna.
You see, rustic cowboy chili is chunky, spicy, and meaty. Sweetness is not a factor at all.
So when you combine it with two kinds of hot molten cheese, and three carby layers of noodles, you’ve got a baked pasta casserole everyone can appreciate.
Cowboy Chili Lasagna Recipe Ingredients
Most of the listed ingredients go in the chili. It’s important to make a fabulous chili recipe, in order to make a killer chili lasagna.
However, you don’t actually have to cook the chili very long, because it will continue to cook as it bakes!
- Ground beef – The base of the meat sauce.
- Mexican chorizo – The ground kind, not Spanish cured sausage links.
- Red onion – Use sweet onions if you can’t find red onions.
- Red bell pepper – For color and tang.
- Garlic – Because garlic makes everything better!
- Red kidney beans – Use canned beans to speed up the cook time.
- Crushed tomatoes – Canned.
- Chopped green chiles – Mild, medium, or hot. Go with mild if you are feeding a crowd.
- Ancho chile – Or use chili powder.
- Cumin – For smoky flavor.
- Cilantro – This adds a pop of freshness.
- No-boil lasagna noodles – Some brands call this “oven-ready” lasagna. The noodles vary in size, so you will need 3-4 noodles per layer. 9 to 12 total.
- Cream cheese – Use this instead of ricotta or cottage cheese.
- Cheddar cheese – Because it pairs perfectly with chili.
No-Boil Lasagna Noodles
One key element that makes this recipe so easy to bake it using no-boil or oven-ready lasagna.
This is dried pasta that is meant to soften in the oven, without boiling before hand, like classic dried lasagna.
You can find no-boil lasagna noodles at most major grocery chains. However, if you can’t find it at your store (and don’t want to order it online) you can make this recipe with traditional lasagna.
I’ve included instructions in the recipe card below!
Cowboy Lasagna FAQ
No. Mexican Lasagna usually uses taco meat in place of the tomato sauce, and tortillas or tortilla chips in place of the pasta.
Yes! Whether you are using no-boil noodles or traditional lasagna noodles, you can make the chili and layer the lasagna up to 2 days before baking it.
Yes. Although I feel the meat adds a ton of flavor and texture to this recipe, you could leave it out. Either add extra beans or a meat substitute like tofu.
Yes. If you can find gluten-free lasagna noodles, the recipe will be completely gluten-free. Just note, most gluten-free pasta does not hold up over time, so I would make and serve this on the same day.
That’s ok. As mentioned above, you can use traditional noodles. I’ve given three preparation options in the recipe card below.
Get The Full Cowboy Chili Lasagna Recipe Below!
More Dazzling Lasagna Recipes You’ve Got To Try
- Homemade Classic Lasagna with Sausage
- Cheesy Southwest Chicken Lasagna Rolls
- White Vegetables Lasagna
- Cool Ranch Taco Lasagna
- Supreme Pizza Lasagna
- Slow Cooker Chicken Broccoli Lasagna
- The Best Paleo Lasagna
- Keto Chicken Lasagna Cups
Cowboy Chili Lasagna
- 1 pound ground beef
- 8 ounce Mexican chorizo
- 1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 30 ounce canned red kidney beans, drained
- 28 ounce crushed tomatoes
- 7 ounce chopped green chiles
- 1 tablespoon ground ancho chile (or chili powder)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 8 ounce no-boil lasagna noodles (9-12 noodles)
- 12 ounce cream cheese, softened
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Set out a 9X13 inch baking dish. Then set a large saucepot on the stovetop over medium heat.
- Add the ground beef and chorizo to the saucepot. Break the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Brown for several minutes, stirring to make sure the meat doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Then push the meat to the sides of the pot and add the chopped onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute for 3-5 minutes to soften the vegetables.
- Add the kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, green chiles, ancho chile, cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro.
- Meanwhile, determine whether you can fit 3 or 4 lasagna noodles in the pan in a single layer. Then either lay 9 or 12 lasagna noodles out on the countertop. (To make three layers.) Spread an equal amount of cream cheese over each dried lasagna noodle.
- Spread a small amount of chili over the bottom of the baking dish. Add 3-4 lasagna noodles, in a single layer, over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle 1 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese over the noodles. Then add 2 large ladels of chili over the cheese and spread it out in an even layer.
- Add a second layer of lasagna noodles with cream cheese, 1 1/3 cup shredded cheese, and chili in the same order as the first layer. On the final layer, add the lasagna noodles, all the remaining chili, then place the remaining 1 1/3 cups cheese on top of the chili.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the edges of the lasagna are bubbling, and the cheese is melted. Allow the lasagna to sit at least 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
- Either boil them according to the package instructions, then make the recipe as-is.
- Or use them in the recipe dry, add 2/3 cup water to the pan, cover the pan with foil, and bake for 1 hour.
- Or make the recipe the day before with dry noodles. Add 2/3 cup water and let the lasagna soak overnight in the fridge. Then bake for 30 minutes as directed the next day.