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Turkey Spinach Lasagna {Lighter Lasagna Recipe}

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Enjoy a protein-packed lasagna without the beef! Use ground turkey and spinach instead for a flavorful turkey spinach lasagna the whole family will love!

spatula lifting a slice of the turkey spinach lasagna out of the dish with stringy cheese!

Lasagna is one of those classic comfort foods that brings everyone to the table! With layers of pasta, sauce, cheese and meat, it’s a one dish meal that’s a must in any menu rotation! Not only does lasagna freeze well for baking on demand, but it reheats perfectly.

I first made this ground turkey and spinach lasagna on a whim to clear my freezer before a move. It also seemed like a wonderful way to make a lighter lasagna recipe.

I say “lighter” instead of light because I can’t bring myself to use fat free cheese. BUT, by swapping higher fat ground beef for extra-lean ground turkey, I lighten up the dish enough to balance.

You may also use ground chicken in this recipe. And if all you have on hand is beef, use it! Just drain the fat after you cook the beef so it’s not greasy when you add it to the lasagna.

Adding spinach not only checks the “green thing” box for the meal, but it adds iron to the recipe – a mineral found in beef.

Do I have to cook the noodles before assembling my turkey spinach lasagna?

Not if you don’t want to, and you don’t even have to use the no-boil noodles. The tomato sauce has enough liquid to cook the noodles during the baking time.

picture of the cheese layer of the lasagna showing the dollops of ricotta and the scattered shredded cheese

You may use whatever kind of lasagna noodles you’d like. Since this recipe has been on our family’s menu for a few years, I’ve used no-boil, classic, whole wheat, and even gluten-free! All the noodles have worked just fine, so use what you’d like. 🙂

Can I use leftover turkey instead of ground turkey?

I like your style, reducing food waste, and getting creative! The answer is… yes. Of course you can! This is good with leftover chicken too. Whatever you use, dice it small or give it a blitz in the food processor to mince it finely.

Crumbled firm tofu or tempeh works really well too as an alternative protein that you don’t have to cook. Just crumble and add to the lasagna. If you’re looking for completely vegetarian lasagna, check out my pumpkin lasagna recipe.

A few tips for making lasagna ahead of time and freezing…

Before I leave you with the recipe, I want to share a few pointers in case you’re new(ish) to making lasagna like I was when I started married life cooking.

First, lasagna can be assembled up to 2 days before you bake it. Store it covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake.

When the Godfather and I worked different schedules, I used to assemble in the morning before I went to work, leave the lasagna in the fridge, and he would bake per my instructions when he got home. That way, when I got home, we could eat together.

angled picture of the lasagna in the baking dish on a trivet with an ivory kitchen towel in the background

If you’d like to make this further in advance – like as part of a monthly meal prep – place the unbaked lasagna in the freezer! For simplicity, it’s easiest to use an aluminum pan for freezing the lasagna. Cover with foil, then, once frozen, wrap in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.

When you are ready to bake, remove the plastic, place on a baking sheet for support, and follow the baking instructions. You’ll need to add 10-15 minutes to the final baking time. But it’s really nice to have a homemade lasagna ready to bake when you need it!

And if you’re only cooking for a small family, you can still make a big lasagna! In fact, it’s a great way to maximize your kitchen time! There are 2 ways to scale the recipe for just 2-4 people.

The first is to split the recipe into 3-4 aluminum loaf pans. You then bake just a single loaf of lasagna and have more for the freezer! There won’t be as much leftover, so keep this in mind if you’d like extra for lunch. Making the recipe in 2 8×8-inch square pans is another option.

Second, did you know you can individually wrap leftover lasagna for freezing? This is a game changing tip! Make your whole lasagna, then after you’ve enjoyed it and the extra has completely chilled in the refrigerator, cut it into portions.

Wrap each portion well in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag or other airtight container. Freeze. When you need a quick lunch for one or two, unwrap a portion of lasagna and microwave a few minutes until heated through!

Working from home doesn’t mean that I always want to cook every meal, so it’s nice to have homemade food on hand that’s easy to reheat.

plated portion of the turkey spinach lasagna on a white square plate

I hope you love this recipe for turkey spinach lasagna, darlings!

spatula lifting a slice of the turkey spinach lasagna out of the dish with stringy cheese!

Turkey Spinach Lasagna

Yield: 12-16 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Enjoy a protein-packed lasagna without the beef! Use ground turkey and spinach instead for a flavorful turkey spinach lasagna the whole family will love!

Ingredients

  • 1 package of lasagna noodles
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 6 cups fresh spinach
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Heat one tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and the onion. Cook for about two minutes and then add the ground turkey, salt, pepper, and oregano.
  3. Cook the turkey for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently to bake apart, until cooked through. If you are using lean turkey, there shouldn't be any grease to drain, but if there is, drain it now.
  4. Add the spinach and cook 3-4 minutes until the spinach is wilted.
  5. Stir 3 1/2 cups of the sauce into the cooked turkey mixture. Check the seasoning levels to make sure they're to your liking. Adjust as needed.
  6. Take a 9″x13″ pan, spray with nonstick spray, or mist with olive oil. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  7. Add a single layer of lasagna noodles, then top with a third of the spinach and turkey mixture. Dot with 1/3 of the ricotta and 1/3 of your shredded cheese.
  8. Repeat two more times, ending with the cheese on top.
  9. Cover the pan with foil so the foil touches as little of the cheese as possible, and bake 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or so until the cheese on top browns a bit.
  10. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  11. Leftovers lasagna can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or wrapped in individual portions and frozen up to 2 months.

Notes

  • For the shredded cheese, you can use what you like. Mozzarella is a classic, but I have used a mozzarella and provolone blend and an Italian cheese blend too.
  • If you are baking your assembled lasagna from frozen, add 10-15 minutes to the covered baking time.
  • Lasagna can be assembled, covered, and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before baking.

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