I’ve never known anyone to turn down a piece of lasagna. It seems like it’s the first thing to go at buffets, family gatherings, and holiday parties. It’s a comfort food for sure, and while it takes more effort than a lot of dishes, it is the ultimate make-ahead or “freezer-bound” meal! Believe it or not, I made my very first lasagna only recently. It was packed with fresh vegetables and I fell in love, eating it for days. I decided it was time to try my hand at a meat lasagna. Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I was compelled to sneak in some veggies, use a mix of full fat and low-fat cheese, and trade traditional beef for turkey. Mushroom-hating Lloyd didn’t suspect a thing.
Making lasagna is time-consuming, although well worth the effort. While I was at it, I decided to double all my ingredients and make two. I brought one with me while visiting family for the weekend, and left another behind so that Lloyd wouldn’t have to eat Big Macs or McRibs all weekend. I was only gone two nights, and I came home to an almost empty pan.
Healthy Turkey Lasagna with Spinach
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 C mushrooms, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 jar tomato sauce (or favorite homemade sauce)
- 1 lb lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
- 2 packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 (16-oz.) container 2% ricotta cheese
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 C mozzarella cheese (I used half regular, half part-skim), divided
- salt & pepper, to taste
- parsley, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a pan over medium-low heat, add olive oil and sauté onion and mushrooms until tender. Add garlic and sauté for one minute.
Add turkey, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through.
Add tomato sauce to the turkey. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook lasagna noodles until al dente. Set aside.
Stir together ricotta cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese, 3 C mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper. Stir in spinach. Set aside.
Cover the bottom of a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish with meat sauce.
Arrange a layer of noodles over meat sauce; top with cheese and spinach mixture. Add another layer of noodles, meat, and cheese.
Top with one last layer of noodles, and sprinkle the top with remaining 1 C of mozzarella cheese.
Bake, covered, at 350° for 45-50 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until cheese is golden.
Let lasagna stand 15 minutes before serving.
Garnish with parsley, if desired.
I am a huge advocate of “healthifying” most of our dinners, but I refuse to sacrifice flavor. 99% of the time I use ground turkey or chicken in place of beef for a recipe. Maybe it’s because we are used to it, but we truly enjoy it just as much. Lasagnas, stir fries and are an easy vehicle in which to add some veggies for a extra nutrition. I do not recommend ever cooking with all low-fat cheese, as it doesn’t melt quite the same. I find that a 50/50 or 60/40 combo of regular and low-fat seem to the trick and we don’t notice the difference.