The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
I love to cook, but with the price of groceries at a pretty extreme high at the moment, I'm trying to find ways to reduce the cost of my weekly shop and find ways to save some money in the kitchen.
One of the go-to meals I make for myself and my partner is homemade lasagna, which is wonderfully comforting, particularly as the weather gets cold, but in total, a tray of the dish can easily cost me about $30 (ricotta and ground beef are so, so expensive right now).
So, for this test, I'll be trying Selection, no name, Compliments, Great Value and President's Choice to see how they rate against each other and whether or not I'd buy them again as a cheaper alternative to making the dish myself.
I'll be rating each of them out of 5 in terms of how likely I am to repurchase the dish, and one of them is getting a permanent spot in my freezer.
Selection meat lasagna from Metro. Right: A portion of cooked Selection meat lasagna.
The Selection brand meat lasagna from Metro tastes good... but it's not lasagna?
When I cracked open the package, I was confused at first because it appeared to be just noodles with meat sauce. Upon reading the package, my hunch was confirmed: it is indeed mafalda noodles with meat sauce, so I'm not entirely sure this qualifies as lasagna.
This product specifically noted that it needed to be microwaved, which made me worry about what the final texture would be like, but the noodles stayed surprisingly firm.
Another pro for this dish is that unlike the others which took about an hour in the oven plus cooling time, this single-serving portion was ready in about four minutes, so if you're in a rush or hangry, this is a solid meal.
Overall, this "lasagna" is tasty, but let's call it what it is: bolognese.
For that reason, it's getting a failing grade from me.
Price: $2.49 for 215 grams
Price per 100 grams: $1.16
No name meat lasagna from No Frills. Right: A portion of cooked no name meat lasagna.
Unlike the Selection option, the no name meat lasagna from No Frills is very much lasagna, but it's mediocre lasagna.
Although I enjoyed how many layers there were and the fact that the pasta wasn't mushy, I found this lasagna to be quite dried out and have very little flavour.
As well, I couldn't actually discern any disparate pieces of beef in the ragu which was a little strange, but all of the ingredients combined together definitely make for a filling meal.
This is the cheapest option on this list in terms of price per 100 grams, so if cost is a factor, this lasagna is definitely not a terrible choice — it's just not great.
Price: $5.99 for 1 kilogram
Price per 100 grams: $0.60
Great Value meat lasagna from Walmart. Right: A portion of cooked Great Value meat lasagna.
The Great Value meat lasagna from Walmart falls into solid middle-of-the-pack territory.
It had a really rich tomato taste and, unlike the last two, I could definitely taste some kind of seasoning. It felt super hearty and would definitely warm and fill you up on a cold day.
Unfortunately, this lasagna is lacking in texture and quickly just kind of fell apart on my plate rather than staying in its layers. The noodles seem to have succumbed to the sauce, so when you get a mouthful, it's all just mush — but at least it's tasty mush!
Price: $9.58 for 1 kilogram
Price per 100 grams: $0.96
Compliments Beef Lasagna from Freshco. Right: A portion of cooked Compliments meat lasagna.
Unlike the previous lasagnas, the Compliments Beef Lasagna from Freshco is super beefy.
This is the type of lasagna that after eating, you immediately need to lie down because a nap will be necessary.
Although the flavour is a touch bland, the noodles held up really well in the oven and the meat flavour is very pleasantly rich.
What this lasagna lacks in flavour can easily be supplemented by some fresh basil and a few dashes of hot sauce, so while it's not perfect, it's pretty close to it.
Price: $8.99 for 1 kilogram
Price per 100 grams: $0.90
President's Choice Meat Lasagna. Right: A small portion of cooked President's Choice Meat Lasagna..
And the winner of the store brand lasagna taste test is President's Choice!
The edges of this dish got nice and crispy, which none of the others achieved, and it makes for some really pleasant texture amongst all of the softer ingredients.
It also had a really complex flavour that I wasn't expecting — instead of just meat, cheese, sauce and noodles, it had just a bit of spice in it to make it interesting, and the seasoning really made it shine.
This genuinely tastes like it's homemade, and while I personally prefer my lasagna to have a bit more heat, I can fix that with red pepper flakes or hot sauce.
Price:$4.49 for 320 grams
Price per 100 grams: $1.40
The President's Choice lasagna worked out to be the most expensive of the options, and while it's delicious, Compliments is a pretty close second place that'll cost you a bit less, so depending on your budget, you can go from there.
I will personally be keeping an eye on No Frills and Loblaws for when the PC lasagna goes on sale, because it's the one I want to have in my freezer!
These prices are confirmed at the time of publishing, but they can change at any time. Taxes and fees may not be included.