Food

Best Ground Turkey Lasagna – Healthy Seasonal Recipes


Hold onto your apron strings my fine friends, and get ready to meet the best turkey lasagna recipe you have ever tried! You are going to love this veggie-packed lasagna made with lean ground turkey. I have all the details how to make it, step-by-step photos and a how-to video. Plus I’m sharing all my top chef’s tips for making it ahead and freezing. This recipe is tried and true and totally foolproof.

a slice of lasagna on a white plate with escarole

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Why This Turkey Lasagna is the Best You’ll Ever Try

We’ve all been there. You find a promising-looking recipe for lasagna that claims to be both easy and good, and it falls far short of expectations. Not enough sauce. The noodles are too mushy. Even worse, not enough meaty filling! Well, put those bad experiences behind you. It is time to be wowed!

  • This Ground Turkey Lasagna is brimming with chunky ground turkey filling and has plenty of garlic, fresh basil and sauteed onion in the easy homemade sauce.
  • The tender layers of lasagna noodles are not too soft and yet not too al dente.
  • Plus I have made some swaps to make it lower in calories and healthier than a traditional lasagna with ground beef.
  • I also added in sneaky veggies to add low-calorie bulk and nutrients.

Trust me. I have been testing this recipe over and over again to get it just right. So you can rest assured your time and money will not be wasted.

Serve this lasagna for company or for a Sunday supper, or make it ahead for a night when you won’t have time to spend in the kitchen. It can even be frozen and baked straight from the freezer!

Want More Healthy Lasagna Recipes?

Key Ingredients

the ingredients for the lasagna with text overlay on a white table

Lasagna Noodles

You’ll need nine regular lasagna noodles for this recipe. This is key! Do not buy no-boil noodles– they are too flimsy and don’t have a good texture. And also, there is no need to boil them in a large pot. The extra veggies in the filling let off just the right amount of moisture as the lasagna bakes to soften them to just the perfect texture.

Ground Turkey

You can use whichever type of ground turkey you want for this recipe. I like either 85% or 90% lean. I find the very lean (95% or 99% lean) to be too dry. But honestly, the amount of sauce and veggies really moistens the filling up quite a bit so you don’t have to be too picky.

Note that some packages of ground turkey are 1 pound and some are 20 ounces. I have tested this recipe with both and it works either way. (I’m telling you, this recipe is bulletproof!) If you use a 20-ounce package be aware that when you layer the sauce you will need to use slightly more per layer. 1/4 cup more to be exact.

Shredded Cheese, Parmesan and Ricotta

As with my other lasagna recipes, I always try to shave calories off here and there to make them a little more healthy but without sacrificing great classic lasagna taste. So a lot of that comes into play with the cheese selection.

I’ve found that part-skim ricotta is an easy way to cut back on saturated fat and calories. Plus I amp up the cheesy flavor by layering Parmesan cheese on top of the lasagna. Parm has a lot of flavor but is lower in fat and calories per volume than other cheeses. So a little goes a long way.

I also used an Italian cheese blend for layering between the noodles. You can shave off even more by using part-skim mozzarella cheese. I’ve tested it either way, and both the full-fat blend and lower-fat mozzarella work great.

Stealthy Veggies

I started this recipe out with only onions and garlic, but I quickly discovered that it needed a lot more moisture or it would be dry. And I also really liked the idea of sneaking in a lot of extra veggies to make this a healthier family dinner.

I used a blend of finely chopped mushrooms and zucchini and it did just the trick. The stealthy veggies give off just the perfect amount of moisture to soften and cook the uncooked lasagna noodles and to make the turkey moist and tender. Also everyone loved how thick the lasagna layers were. It is loaded with filling!

A NOTE FOR MUSHROOM HATERS: My daughter hates mushrooms and she has been loving this lasagna for the last month (plus+) that I have been testing it. Seriously, besides my Sloppy Joes with mushrooms, there are very few mushroom recipes she’ll eat and this one was a big win with her. The key is to chop them finely so they blend right into the turkey. The big bold flavors from the Italian Seasoning and fresh basil really help to cover up any lingering mushroom flavor.

Step-By-Step Instructions For Turkey Lasagna

preheating the oven and sauteeing the onions

Step 1: Prep Oven and Pan

Start out by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat your baking dish with nonstick spray. You can also brush it lightly with olive oil if you don’t have cooking spray.

Step 2: Sauté the Onions and Garlic with the Dried Spices

For the filling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the diced onion, chopped garlic, dried Italian seasonings, ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook the onion mixture, stirring often, until the onions are starting to brown, 4 to 6 minutes.

collage showing two steps: browning the turkey, stir in tomato sauce

Step 3: Cook Ground Turkey and Veggies

Add the ground turkey to the onion mixture and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is no longer pink, and is broken up into small crumbles, 4 to 6 minutes.

Stir in zucchini and mushrooms and cook, stirring often until the vegetables have let off their liquid and the liquid has evaporated, 7 to 10 minutes.

TIP: It is important to brown the turkey before adding in the zucchini and mushrooms because the veggies will let off so much liquid that they will prevent the turkey from browning. The fond that develops adds a nice rich flavor to the sauce.

Step 4: Add Canned Tomato and Basil

Stir your canned crushed tomatoes into the turkey mixture and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in basil. Adding the basil at the end will help preserve its flavor to carry through to the final dish.

Note the sauce will seem a little watery at this point, and this is normal and by design. Remember the noodles are uncooked. This extra moisture is key to helping the noodles achieve the perfect texture!

collage of two steps: mixing the ricotta with the egg and layering the lasagna

Step 5: Make Ricotta Filling

For the ricotta layers, you’ll simply need to stir the ricotta with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the egg. Keep stirring it until it is smooth. Depending on your brand of ricotta, this may take a minute.

Step 6: Assemble the Lasagna

Now it’s time to layer everything together!

  • Start with a base layer of the sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. {Each layer of sauce is 1 3/4 cups.} This helps to prevent the noodles from sticking and helps to soften them.
  • For layer number one, start with a layer of three uncooked noodles. As I said before, do not cook noodles in advance. They will cook in the sauce as the lasagna bakes.
  • On top of the noodles, spread out 1 3/4 cup sauce.
  • Half of the ricotta goes on top of the sauce. Dollop it all over, then gently spread it out with a spatula.
  • Add 1 cup of shredded Italian cheese blend on top of the ricotta. This completes layer one.
  • Repeat with another full layer of noodles, sauce, ricotta and shredded cheese for layer two.
  • For the top of the lasagna, add on three more noodles, and the sauce only.
two steps in a collage: the casserole dish covered with foil and putting cheese on top of the baked lasagna for the final step

Step 7: Bake Lasagna

Cover the lasagna with a small layer of parchment. {This helps prevent the tomato sauce from touching the foil. Tomato is corrosive and will react with aluminum and cause pitting.} Then cover completely with your aluminum foil.

TIP: Baking the lasagna covered helps the layers cook through and the noodles to soften. If you add your cheese on top too early it gets dried out and hard and can burn.

Bake the lasagna in the center of the oven for 50 minutes. Check to see if the noodles are tender by peeking under the foil and testing with the tip of a paring knife. The lasagna should be bubbling along the edges.

Step 8: Top with Cheese and Bake Uncovered

Once the lasagna is essentially cooked, the only thing left is to add on the final layer of cheese. Remove the foil and parchment (I save mine to use for covering leftovers) and add on the last of the shredded cheese blend and all of the Parmesan.

Pop the lasagna back into the oven and bake it until the top layer of cheese is completely melted.

hand holding up a spatula with a slice of lasagna with the casserole dish  in the background

FAQ and Expert Tips

How do you serve lasagna?

Once you remove the lasagna from the oven it is important to let it sit for a minimum of 10 minutes. If you have the time, it is even better to wait 20 before cutting and serving. It needs time to “set-up.” This makes the slices neater, and it won’t burn your tongue. Simply cut the casserole across into quarters, and then across into eight squares. Use a flexible spatula and a second knife to help slide it off the spatula onto the plate.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions

Lasagna is the perfect make-ahead recipe for entertaining, meal prep or getting a jump on your holiday menu planning. It can be built and refrigerated or frozen! Here are the details for either way of making it ahead:

Make Ahead

  • To make this lasagna ahead prepare through step six. Cover with the parchment and foil and refrigerate up to two days.
  • When you are ready to bake it, preheat the oven. Place the covered lasagna in the center of the oven.
  • Bake it until the sauce is bubbling along the edges, it is steaming and the noodles are just tender when pierced with a pairing knife. This take about 1 hour 10 minutes.
  • Then proceed with removing the cover and topping with cheese as in step 8.

Freeze Ahead

  • To freeze lasagna build it as directed through step six. Then cover the lasagna with parchment and foil. Heavy-duty foil is best for freezing. Then wrap it tightly with two layers of plastic wrap. If you have extra large 2-gallon ziplock freezer bags, you can slide the wrapped lasagna into one of them to help prevent freezer burn.
  • Freeze the lasagna for up to 6 weeks.
  • To cook directly from the freezer, remove the plastic and bake in the center of the oven for 90 to 95 minutes. Test to make sure it is heated all the way through by testing with an instant-read digital thermometer. Continue with the recipe in step 8 as directed.

More Baked Pasta & Ground Turkey Recipes

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Description

Get ready to meet the best turkey lasagna recipe you have ever tried! You are going to love this veggie-packed lasagna made with lean ground turkey. I have all the details how to make it, step-by-step photos and a how-to video. Plus I’m sharing all my top chef’s tips for making it ahead and freezing. This recipe is tried and true and totally foolproof.


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasonings, or 1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey (see ingredient note)
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded on a box grater
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh basil, plus some for garnish
  • 15 or 16-ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 9 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 12 ounces (3 cups) shredded Italian cheese blend, “Pizza” cheese or part-skim mozzarella
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9 by 13-inch lasagna pan with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, dried Italian seasonings, ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are starting to brown, 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add turkey to the onion mixture and cook, crumbling with a spoon, until the turkey is no-longer pink, and it is broken up into small crumbles, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in zucchini and mushrooms and cook, stirring often until the vegetables have let off their liquid and the liquid has evaporated, 7 to 10 minutes.
  4. Stir tomatoes into the turkey mixture and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in basil.
  5. Stir ricotta, egg and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Season with pepper.
  6. To assemble lasagna: Spread 1 ¾ cups sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with three uncooked lasagna noodles. Spread 1 ¾ cups sauce on top of the noodles. Spread half of the ricotta mixture over the sauce. Top with about 1 cup Italian cheese. Top the cheese layer with three more noodles, 1 ¾ cups sauce, all of the remaining ricotta and 1 cup Italian cheese. Layer on the last 3 noodles and spread with the rest of the sauce.
  7. Cover with a layer of parchment and a layer of foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the top-most lasagna noodles are soft when pierced with a paring knife, and the lasagna is bubbling along the edges.
  8. Remove the foil and parchment. Top the lasagna with the remaining Italian cheese and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until the cheese on top is completely melted, 5 to 7 minutes. Rest 10 minutes before cutting into portions. Garnish with basil before serving.

Notes

Make Ahead

Prep: To make this lasagna ahead prepare through step six. Cover and refrigerate for up to two days.

To bake: Preheat the oven. Place the lasagna in the center of the oven and bake it covered with parchment and foil until the sauce is bubbling, it is steaming and the noodles are just tender, about 1 hour 10 minutes.

Then proceed with removing the cover and topping with cheese as in step 8.

Freeze Ahead

Prep: Follow recipe through step six. Cover the lasagna with parchment and heavy duty foil. Wrap with two layers of plastic wrap or place in an extra large freezer bags.

Freeze: Freeze the lasagna for up to 6 weeks.

Bake: Remove the plastic from the frozen lasagna. Bake, covered in parchment and foil in the center of the oven for 90 to 95 minutes. Test to make sure it is heated all the way through by testing with an instant-read digital thermometer. It should be over 175 degrees in the center and likely well over 200 along the edges. Continue following the recipe as directed in step 8.

  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Italian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8 lasagna
  • Calories: 497 cals
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Fat: 22 g
  • Saturated Fat: 11 g
  • Carbohydrates: 37 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 36 g

Keywords: ground turkey lasagna,turkey lasagna,healthy turkey lasagna,turkey lasagna with vegetables,turkey lasagna with no bake noodles,turkey lasagna with ricotta

About the Author

Katie Webster

Katie Webster studied art and photography at Skidmore College and is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute. She has been a professional recipe developer since 2001 when she first started working in the test kitchen at EatingWell magazine. Her recipes have been featured in numerous magazines including Shape, Fitness, Parents and several Edible Communities publications among others. Her cookbook, Maple {Quirk Books} was published in 2015. She launched Healthy Seasonal Recipes in 2009. She lives in Vermont with her husband, two teenage daughters and two yellow labs. In her free time, you can find her at the gym, cooking, stacking firewood, making maple syrup, and tending to her overgrown perennial garden.



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