Healthy Turkey Lasagna
Lasagna is such a comfort food, and this recipe gives you all the comfort with less fat, and plenty of nutrition with protein, calcium and iron.
1 pound ground turkey (preferably dark meat)
1/3 cup finely diced red pepper
1/3 cup finely diced white or yellow onion
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons for bottom of pan
3 teaspoons dried oregano, plus a sprinkle for the top
3 teaspoons dried basil, plus a sprinkle for the top
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon pure cane sugar
3 cups marinara sauce
2 cups Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling on top
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling on top
12 lasagna noodles (gluten free, whole wheat, traditional)
1. Cook lasagna noodles until al dente (not too soft).
2. While noodles are cooking, place 1 tablespoon of olive oil, diced red pepper, onion, garlic and ground turkey in a sauce pan. Sauté for about 5-7 minute until turkey is cooked thoroughly.
3. Add tomato paste, cane sugar, dried oregano, dried basil, onion powder and salt.
4. Add in marinara and cook on medium heat until well combined, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan (or similar) by spreading 2 teaspoons of olive oil in the bottom of the pan and then spreading a 1/2 cup of the meat sauce so the bottom is covered.
7. Slowly place 4 noodles side by side in the dish lengthwise.
8. Add another 3/4 cup (approximately) of meat sauce, then 1 cup of mozzarella and 1 cup of Parmesan. Continue layering, repeating one more time. For the final layer, spread final 1/2 cup or so of meat sauce on the top, followed by the remaining 1/4 cup of mozzarella and 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Sprinkle a bit of dried oregano and dried basil.
9. Bake uncovered at 350 for about 20-25 minutes until the top cheese layer is lightly brown and the dish is bubbling.
10. Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes before cutting.
My mom had a lightened-up turkey lasagna that she would include in the meal rotation for dinner. We always had it with buttered rolls from Costco and a salad. There are a few meals from my childhood that bring comfort and this is one of them.
While this isn’t the exact recipe, it is very similar and brings back the feeling of comfort. Food does hold emotion and memory for me. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. We express ourselves through food, through memories shared around the dinner table.
Luckily, this is a comfort food that doesn’t wreak havoc on my digestive system. Ricotta cheese is an incredibly flavorful addition to traditional lasagna. Sometimes an egg is even thrown in there for binding, richness and flavor. This dish is lighter (comparatively) on the cheese, which is really helpful for people who are sensitive to heavier foods.
Ground turkey (even dark meat) is also a bit easier on digestion than ground beef. Red pepper, onions and fresh garlic all blend together perfectly to give a rich flavor without the extra fat and heaviness of traditional lasagna. This way, you can enjoy the comfort food and still feel comfortable afterward!