My grandmother didn’t make lasagna.

Perhaps that is why I’ve never felt that bad taking what should be tradition and transforming it into something totally unrecognizable.  Omitting key ingredients, adding in a rainbow of vegetables that wasn’t there before, or saying “who needs an hour of baking or a tray of cheesy perfection…just throw it all on the stovetop and call it soup!”.

As it turns out, without a gold standard to compare it to, anything goes.


But how could that be?, you ask.  An Italian grandmother without a lasagna to her repertoire?  Impossible!

Strange, I know. But true.


But that was my grandmother for you.  Nothing she did ever really made sense.  Not her undying love of Halloween, the Christmas tree she kept on display in her apartment year-round, or how, even after she had forgotten everything, she still remembered my grandfather’s name.  Even in death, she was an enigma, pushing along to the age of 95 and outliving her daughter by 26 years and her son by three weeks, only to die in her sleep this past Wednesday.  I mean, really, how can you even begin to comprehend something like that?


The priest reminded us at her funeral that burying three people in eight months is hard.  And really.  It is, but it isn’t.  My grandfather’s death this past January was in some ways expected and understandable.  And so would my grandmother’s have been, if only my father had been there.

It was his absence that was the hardest.  That hurt the most.

Things were just not supposed to be this way.  And that is that.


At times like these, you feel compelled to fill yourself with comfort in whatever way you can.  And even though a lasagna recipe was not passed on through generations of Brunos or Garofalos (my grandmother’s maiden name), the combination of pasta, tomato sauce, and cheese is one that will always make me feel a little bit more at peace.

This soup was a breeze to throw together and was so delicious that The.Boy. declared it as his favorite dish that I have ever made for him.  I substituted soy crumbles for the sausage that was in the original and he kept insisting that there was ground beef in there somewhere.  I consider that a win.

So, yeah.  If you’re in need of a bowl of a little something something that feels like a warm hug, this is it. No matter what lasagna recipe your grandmother used to make.


Lasagna Soup
Serves 4, adapted from Closet Cooking


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 package SmartGround original crumbles
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 lb whole wheat pasta
  • 4 oz ricotta
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz mozzarella, grated
  • 1 handful basil, chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the crumbles and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, breaking them apart as you go. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the pan and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and fennel and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the veggie broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, bay leaf, “meat” crumbles, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, parmesan cheese, and mozzarella.  Serve soup topped with the cheese mixture and basil.

I am submitting this to Souper Sundays, which is hosted by Kahakai Kitchen and to Presto Pasta Nights which is hosted this week by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast.

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
Share →

93 Responses to Lasagna Soup

  1. This does sound pretty amazing, I can see why The Boy loved it. I’m sorry for you loss, Joanne.

  2. Oh Joanne, your family has seen way too much loss in such a short time. So sorry for you and your family. This soup looks like a wonderful form of comfort to help get through all of these tough days.

  3. london bakes says:

    Oh Joanne, I’m so sorry about your grandmother. I hope you are doing as well as you can be considering the few months that you’ve had. This looks like a comforting hug in a bowl; I’m glad it brought you a little peace.

  4. I am so sorry for your seemingly unending loss…it’s so unbelievably unfair. I’m glad you’re (seemingly) finding comfort in cooking. This looks delicious.

  5. Oh Joanne… darling… I’m so so sorry. What a year this has been for you. But your ability to stay composed through it all is just remarkable. It’s one of the many blessings that comes with cooking… to give us a creative outlet and to comfort us through tough times.

  6. Joanne, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandmother. This certainly has not been an easy year for you…. Wishing you and your family much comfort and many happy memories….

  7. Shannon says:

    What a lovely and comforting bowl of soup. Thanks for sharing it with us. I know I’ll be bookmarking this recipe for future use.

    I’m sorry for another loss in your family. I hope you get some time for peace, calm and comfort.

    – Shannon @

  8. *HUG* So sorry for your loss. Expected deaths still hurt, though, and it sounds like this year has been very challenging for you.

    Your soup looks great, though! I used to make a lasagna soup in my hey-day as well… I loved using little radiator noodles in it! 🙂

  9. Oh Joanne, I am so very sorry for your loss. What a year it has been for you. I can only hope that you have lots of precious memories to carry with you, and that 2013 brings you lots of sunshine and happiness.

  10. Danielle says:

    You guys have been through so much – I’m so sorry!

  11. Amy says:

    JESUS H CHRIST on a popsicle stick. I just want to bundle you up, feed you cookies and lasagna soup, and make you laugh. Or pass you tissues. Whichever. 2012 suuuucks. Much much love to you and your family.

  12. I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family.

    Your soup looks amazing!!

  13. :hugs: My father’s funeral was the first funeral I can remember going to–I lost him before either set of grandparents that I can remember (my grandma died when I was too young to comprehend it). It’s so hard. Every big moment in my life I start crying because he SHOULD be there. It’s hard. Very, very hard.

    Cooking is the best form of therapy. I’ve found that although sadness takes away my appetite, as long as I have others to cook for I can find some peace in putting together a recipe. It looks like that’s what you did here too. <3

  14. Marcia says:

    I’m so sorry about your grandma. My mom’s mom was the first funeral I remember. I was about 11 I think. They never get easier. A few years ago we lost my dad, my stepfather’s mom, and my husband’s only uncle in the space of one month. Something about winter and the holidays.

    Soup looks good as always.

  15. I’m so sorry for your loss, Joanne. My thoughts are with you and your family! And I’m totally making this, like tomorrow.

  16. I’m sorry to hear about your grandma. *hug*

    This does sound spectacular. Believe it or not, I dreamt of making lasagna last night (yes, I sometimes dream about food). And now this soup? It must be fate asking me to make some already! 😉

  17. SimplyLife says:

    Oh I am so so sorry to hear of this loss. Hope you are doing okay and staying comforted by this soup and lots of family and friends.

  18. I am so sorry for your loss Joanne, this is a nice tribute to your family! It does look amazing and I think it will be perfect for tonights dinner!

  19. Jenn says:

    I’m calling 2013 to be a GREAT year for you. The year of Joanne 🙂 No crap. Just people you love, eating delicious food, running without a care and working at something you love! Take care!

  20. Oh, Joanne, I’m so sorry about your grandmother. Three weeks after your dad’s passing makes it doubly hard. I continue to pray for you and your family.

    Now, the soup – the soup! I’m in love with this transformation of lasagna – your Boy is a keeper!

  21. Katerina says:

    In our family we lost three people in three years, one every year almost at the same period of time! It is hard when someone leaves but if this person has completed a life cycle then it is easier for everyone to accpet it. the problem is when someone leaves letting unfisnished things behind. This is really hard! Hang in there Joanne life is hard but it has its moments of joy and you have all the time in the world to live them. The soup is fantastic!

  22. Lynn says:

    Oh my – that’s too many funerals in too short a time. I imagine that was so hard. Your grandmother sounded way fun! Love that she always kept her Christmas tree up.

    And the soup looks divine.

  23. This is genius, Joanne. I love lasagna and can only imagine how perfect a soup it makes. This looks fabulous. And the pasta choice is perfect!

  24. It’s amazing what beauty can come from pain. Two funerals so close together – and you continue to push through to make gorgeous dishes, take pictures, and help everyone around you fall in love with food. Again, my good vibes are being sent to you.

  25. sandra says:

    I am sorry to hear about your grandmother. Mine lived to be 96 as well. I attribute it to feistiness and good genes.

    Lasagna in a bowl is brilliant. Must try this out – with the tofu crumble as well.

  26. Josie says:

    I wish I could give you a warm hug, Joanne. But this lasagna looks like the next best thing. Thinking of you and your family.

  27. Eileen says:

    Lasagna is soup form sounds pretty perfect to me–especially since it doesn’t require the usual hours of baking. Super fast lasagna deliciousness!

    I’m really sorry to hear about your grandmother. Hope you are doing ok–and let us know if you need anything. 🙂

  28. Guru Uru says:

    My condolences for your grandmother my friend, I am sending you hugs – I hope you eat a big bowl of lasagna and think of the beautiful memories shared with her 🙂


  29. Hotly Spiced says:

    I’m so sorry to hear your family has suffered another lose. What a time you’re having. Your grandmother sounds adorable with her year-long Christmas tree and she certainly had a good innings. And I think going to sleep only to wake up in heaven is the best way to go. xx

  30. So sorry to hear about the recent spate of bad news. Good to see you powering through.
    Lasagna, in soup form, and made with whole wheat penne…I am glad I am not a pasta police. Though this looks like an open shut case:)

  31. Christine says:

    Joanne, I’m so very sorry to hear of yet another loss in your life. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts. I’m sending you a big bear hug from the West coast. Be especially gentle with yourself. That’s a lot to take in for one year. I think comfort food is the way to go and this recipe looks really good. Plus, it doesn’t look as time consuming as lasagna in a pan.

  32. I am sorry for your loss Joanne. Your family is in my thoughts. This dish, along with some form of mac n’ cheese would make me feel comforted too. That is like a hug in a bowl. xoxo A

  33. OohLookBel says:

    This post made me sad for all your losses this year. But happy that you and your Boy are getting through it with wonderful food like this.

  34. see now this is my kind of soup: little to zero broth and all good stuff.

  35. daphne says:

    soy crumble? that is new to me!

    I love comfort like this- and how nice that your boy likes it as well. A win win for sure. Hopefully you will be surrounded by more happy moments in times to come Joanne- you deserve it.

  36. Dining Alone says:

    What a hard time, I am so sorry. The soup does look delicious and I hope it feels like a warm hug to you.

  37. Megan says:

    I’m so sorry about your grandmother, Joanne. Sending you a hug!

    This lasagna soup does look pretty amazing!

  38. Candace says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Joanne.

  39. Kim says:

    Wow, Joanne. I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother. You’ve had such a tough year. Things can only get better 🙂

    Love the looks of this soup. High praise from the boy!

  40. Oh, I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother. 95 is very impressive though. This lasagna soup looks really good and a perfect comfort food.

  41. Gloria says:

    Look absolutely yumm! I love all these grated cheese!!LOL

  42. Gloria says:

    Joanne I really sorry about your grandmother!

  43. Reeni Pisano says:

    I’m so sorry about your Grandma! She didn’t make lasagna? I love that you did for this tribute to her! Lasagna + soup = the best comfort food. *HUGS*

  44. Blond Duck says:

    I’m so sorry. So so sorry.

  45. Tonette says:

    I’m sorry for your loss…God bless all, Joanne.
    MY Italian grandmother didn’t make lasagne, either.Maybe it is a Northern Italian thing? Where was your grandmother from ?
    I love the soup idea.

  46. Natalie says:

    So sorry to hear about your grandmother. This soup definitely seems like a warm hug, and I’m sending you a virtual hug too!

  47. Lora says:

    That’s a lot of loss to take in all at once. Comfort food indeed.

  48. That Girl says:

    Oh Joanne! You are officially done. Too much loss for one person. It is time for the fates to intervene and give you a break.

  49. Kari says:

    Oh Joanne, my heart hurts for you – I am so sorry, what a terrible, horrible string of months. It is hard, too, how sometimes it is the unexpected things that hit home the hardest. I can completely grasp that your father’s absence would have been the thing that seemed worst at your grandmother’s funeral. I am so sorry.

    You have made a wonderful, non-traditional soup though, I will say that 🙂

  50. I totally know what you mean – who has the hour to make a perfect lasagna?! This is the perfect alternative, and so much more hearty in comforting in a soup form!

  51. This is an interesting soup.

    I’d like to say that without a gold standard to compare it to, your creativity will have no bounds.

  52. Jeanette says:

    Joanne – sending hugs your way. So sorry to hear about your grandma – it’s been a tough year for you. Glad you are able to find some comfort in food such as this beautiful bowl of lasagna soup. I think my kids would go crazy over this.

  53. Hannah says:

    Just reading that title gave me an “ah ha!” moment- Such an obvious mutation of a classic recipe, and yet I had never dreamed of trying it. I’m back on my usual cold weather soup bender, so I’m thrilled to finally get some new ideas to start stewing.

  54. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother but I love the fact that she never made lasagna. It’s wonderful when we can create our own traditions, which are sometimes better than the ‘gold standard’ originals, anyway. She sounds like quite a woman!

  55. Big Dude says:

    Your soup looks delicious and sounds like it would fit your grandmothers style – gos she has you to carry on. It’s always hard to loose loved ones.

  56. Cara says:

    My grandmother never made lasagna either – understandable, since we have no Italian blood. You’d think she might have a killer matzoh ball recipe, and I suppose she did, if you count a box of Manishewitz Matzoh Ball mix 🙂 So similarly, I don’t feel bad experimenting with my own recipes for homemade matzoh balls.

    So sorry for your loss, Joanne. I know your father must have given his mama a big bear hug greeting up there and they are both smiling down on beautiful you, enjoying a bowl of this goodness in their own way!

  57. i’m sorry for your loss, joanne. this soup sounds like a wonderful tribute to your grandma.

  58. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother. A comforting soup like this sounds perfect for the rough times you’ve had lately!

  59. Mo 'Betta says:

    Bless your heart! You & your family have been through it. I’m so sorry! This soup does look amazing and comforting.

  60. Pam says:

    Oh Joanne… I am so sorry for yet another loss in your life. I think this soup would definitely make me comforted… it looks wonderful.

    Sending love & hugs your way!

  61. Jessie says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother, Joanne – you and your family have been through so much. This is a beautiful tribute, even if she didn’t have a special lasagna recipe. Because, really, you are one of her legacies, and you do her proud.

    *HUGS!!!!!* Love from IL.

  62. Candice says:

    Thank you! I made an adaption of this today and it was soooo good 🙂

  63. grace says:

    sorry to hear about your dear grandma, joanne!
    this is a great idea, as my lasagna often ends up so sloppy, it might as well be soup! 🙂

  64. Wow, that is crazy! So much loss all at once. I’m sorry your Dad wasn’t there. 🙁 I’ve been thinking about the boy and it’s a good sign that he’s stuck with you through your grief-your relationship has suffered and survived it’s first strain. That makes me happy. 🙂 As for the soup, OK, God, I get it, I need to make lasagna soup! You can stop having every blogger I know give me reminders with their delicious photos. *drool*

  65. Tandy says:

    This sounds like a bowl of hugs. Sorry about your granddaughter Joanne {hugs}

  66. vianney says:

    so sorry for your loss~ a perfect tribute to your grandmother, and a christmas tree all year orund…my kind of women!

  67. Sorry for your loss and let’s say she had a point there…

  68. Erica says:

    I am sorry about your grandmother! It was a hard year for you family! The soups looks comforting, rich and delicious!

  69. What an incredibly challenging year for you Joanne. I wish I was there to give you a big hug…even though I know that’s not enough to really make things better.

  70. Oh my gosh, you’ve had to deal with so much recently, Joanne! Your grandmother had a grand life of 95 years. I am, again, so sorry for your loss and my deepest sympathy to you and your family.

  71. Anonymous says:

    Interestingly, I learned of this fabulous soup during Italian language class yesterday when we were learning the verb mangiare “to eat.” We had to ask the person sitting next to us what the were eating for lunch today. My classmate was going to eat lasagne soup. I was sure I wanted to eat it, but figured it was a meat dish, but it was vegetarian! I made it for dinner last night and lasagne it is! I had a hard time waiting for 30 minutes of simmering, I was so anxious to eat it!

  72. What a cool concept. Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy the flavors you love with different textures. This lasagna soup would definitely do the trick!

  73. Shannon says:

    Definitely seems like a warm bowl of comfort… one giant hug sent your way! fabulous soup, i’m definitely going to have to try this one. <3

  74. Katerina says:

    This dish looks delicious dear! Thanks for sharing! I’ll possibly try it tomorrow ?

  75. Dana says:

    Comfort in a bowl is right. I love the flavors of lasagne but I hate making it. So much fuss!! This is a great idea. Another lovely and heartfelt post from you.

  76. Shannon says:

    I made this tonight. Oh. My. Goodness. I loved it – and so did my fellow diners. Delicious! (I did add more garlic, because we are garlic fiends.)

    – Shannon @

  77. I am so sorry for your loss, Joanne. Sending hugs your way. Lasagne soup sounds wonderful to me. All the flavor and none of the fuss! 🙂

  78. Joanne–I am sorry to hear about your grandmother. My thoughts and prayers remain with you and your family during this hard time.

    Such a great idea for a soup–great comfort food for sure. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week.

  79. Johanna GGG says:

    So sorry to hear about your grandmother – she sounds like a real character – you are having a rotten time lately – but this soup looks delicious and when isn’t soup a comfort!

  80. Melissa says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother. Luckily she left behind this wonderful recipe. I can’t wait to make this and trick my BF into believing I cooked with meat too.

  81. Peggy G. says:

    It’s been forever since I’ve been to visit you, but I see that you’re still pumping out amazing dishes like this! I’m so sorry for your loss Joanne, and I hope you and your family are safe from harm!

  82. Kevin says:

    Your lasagna soup looks amazing! Now I am going to have to make it again soon!

  83. Chris says:

    So sorry to hear about your grandmother’s passing, Joanne, especially on top of everything else. You are in our family’s thoughts!

    And I love your description of this soup as a comforting hug. Eat up!

  84. There are long lasting ways to get the amazing middle you crave. These genius tips
    Will help you shed inches and pounds, banish the bloat, And feel even more gorgeous.
    we have very best advice for quickly shrinking your tummy. Here are the surprising

    5 Tips to a flat stomach

    Hello, skinny jeans! Stop making these 5 Major mistakes and you will finally lose your stubborn belly fat

  85. Oh Jo I’m so sorry. I bet she is up there hanging with your dad though. Looking down at this soup, very very proud of you xo

  86. Anonymous says:

    Joanne, I am sorry to hear of the heartaches you’ve endured these past months. I wish you comfort.

    Katy @ foodforahungrys oul

  87. stephzuniga says:

    Love this recipe, and I empathise with your loss. I lost my Dad in November and nothing has been the same since, it must be terrible enduring so much loss in such a short spate of time. Hopefully 2013 will be better for you!

  88. Carrie says:

    Just made this for lunch, and it was delicious! I didn’t have soy crumbles so I substituted half a package of ground turkey. Thank you for an easy and delicious recipe. 🙂

  89. […] year ago…Lasagna Soup, Curried Red Lentil Burgers with Mango […]

  90. Joanne, oh my gawd, I love this!!! totally going to try this! and I love Closet Cooking!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *