Hey — I’m Italian! I love lasagna. Lots of meat, sauce, and gooey cheese…what’s not to love, right? Well, all those calories and fat grams. I set out to try to reduce some of that with this recipe for lasagna.
I do a few different things in order to create this healthier lasagna. Instead of ground beef or sausage, I use ground turkey. I make my own sauce, so I know what is in it and add as much sodium and sugar as I see fit. I also skip the ricotta cheese and sub out cottage cheese, which has fewer calories and a fraction of the fat. I’m not using any reduced fat anything (reduced fat products scare me — the things that big food companies replace in food products that are reduced fat in order to make their products taste good cannot be healthy), but just making these two substitutions makes a world of difference. I also cut back on the mozzarella that I normally would use and only use about 1 Cup (grated myself — again, skip the pre-shredded cheeses due to chemicals and preservatives).
This lasagna has all of the taste of the higher calorie and fat version, but you really wouldn’t know it. In fact, my husband was a little leery of the cottage cheese but said he wouldn’t have had any idea that I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta in this. It’s that good.
What you need to make a smaller pan of this lasagna (about 4-5 adult servings):
6 – 8 sheets of no boil, flat lasagna noodles (Barilla makes a great product)
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning, divided evenly
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 Cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey
1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 small, 16 oz container of cottage cheese
1/2 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp salt, divided
fresh ground pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet, brown your ground turkey until there is no pink left. Add your onion and garlic to the turkey and allow to saute for a few more minutes. Add your tomatoes, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, some fresh ground pepper and 1 tsp of Italian seasoning. Let the meat sauce simmer for 7-10 minutes.
While your sauce is simmering, let your cottage cheese drain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl to get as much whey/liquid out of it.
After a few minutes of draining, rinse the bowl you drained off the liquid into and mix your cottage cheese, remaining Italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp salt, and a pinch of black pepper together in it. Stir in about 1/2 Cup of your shredded mozzarella cheese into the cottage cheese and spices and set aside.
Spoon some of your meat sauce into the bottom of a small baking dish (I used an oval dish here, but you could use an 8×8 glass baking dish if you wanted to) to cover it completely.
Lay down one layer of noodles, covering the sauce. You will probably have to break some of the noodles into pieces for this. On top of the noodles, spoon half of your cottage cheese mixture and smooth it out evenly. Add another layer of noodles on top of the cottage cheese mixture. Repeat these steps one more time, finishing with adding the rest of the sauce on top of the last layer of noodles. Top the lasagna with your remaining 1/2 Cup of mozzarella cheese.
Spray some aluminum foil with cooking spray to prevent sticking to the cheese, and cover your lasagna (cooking spray side down). Put your baking dish on a cookie sheet to prevent spillage from ruining your oven. You did just run the self-cleaning option on it, stinking up your entire house for a full day. What? You didn’t…okay, that was me. I’m not messing that up again!
Bake covered for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and allow to bake another 20 minutes until bubbly and golden on top. Let the lasagna cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
Serve with salad and garlic bread. Yum!