Lasagna is my most favorite meal and one I’ve been enjoying since childhood. My mommy’s version was very simple and I still remember helping her make it in the kitchen as a little girl. Over the year’s I’ve played with the recipe until arriving at the rendition you see here. Some changes include swapping ground beef out for ground turkey, adding lots of veggies, and different cheeses. I pack spinach, carrots, and mushrooms into a normal marinara sauce (sometimes store-bought and sometimes my own recipe) along with some aromatics–garlic and onion. The result is a lightened-up lasagna that tastes just like the one I grew up with but is kind of good for you. It’s also just as easy–you don’t even have to cook the noodles!
My family still loves this meal, though, and they can’t even tell that it’s “healthier”! This is one of the first meals I made for myself in college and it quickly became a go to–from leftovers during finals to gossip filled dinners with my sorority sisters. This lasagna that is delicious when freshly made but even better the next day…and the next day! I can eat this for any meal (as evidenced in my Instagram feed and stories). I love it not only because of the taste but because it’s a dish that is my own–influenced by my dear mother and shaped over time through my experiences and experimentation. I think it represents the balance I try to achieve in my eating: healthy stuff like veggies and lean protein with carbs and sauce. 🙂 Add a cupcake or a macaron, and we’ve got a more complete picture! It can also be made without the meat for a [still very delicious] vegetarian option.
Do you have a family favorite recipe that you’ve put your own twist on over time? Let me know below. Thanks for reading!
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 48 ounces marinara sauce
- 3 cloves garlic minced or chopped
- 1 half white or yellow onion chopped
- 2 big handfuls spinach leaves
- 5 ounces mushroom chopped
- 5 ounces carrot sticks
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 1 cup set aside for topping
- 1.5 cups shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 16 uncooked lasagna noodles not the "no boil" kind
- 3 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- olive oil
Cook down onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Add ground turkey, sea salt, black pepper, chili powder, and crushed red pepper then cook through.
Add in carrots, mushrooms, and sauce. Let cook for a few minutes then stir in spinach. Reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix three cheeses (except 1 cup mozzarella) with egg and parsley by hand until uniform.
Turn off heat to sauce then spoon a thin layer of it into the bottom of your baking pan. Place a layer of raw noodles on top. Spoon and spread out a layer of the cheese mixture.
Repeat this order until all ingredients are used. This should be about three layers, ending with a thin layer of sauce. Sprinkle remaining cup of mozzarella over top. (It's ok if the noodles aren't completely covered, as steam generated in the pan will help cook them.)
Cover pan tightly with foil and bake for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to set for one hour before serving.