I know that most of the recipes I share with you in this space are “sometimes” foods.
From pasta-laden, full-fat casseroles swimming in cheese to decadent desserts with more sugar than a bag of Pixy Stix, I know the temptation is real.
But we all need some recipes that look and sound a bit sinful but actually aren’t as bad as they seem. That’s where this week’s dish comes in. As soon as I saw a lightened version of lasagna, I knew I needed to try it and hoped it would be as good as it looked.
Good news: it was.
This comes from the blog “You Brew My Tea” by Katie Hale. You can find the original post at https://www.youbrewmytea.com/lightened-homemade-lasagna-dish. I added way more herbs/spices and changed the amounts of some of the other ingredients in my version.
Lightened Homemade Lasagna
- 1 pound lean ground turkey breast
- 1 pound Italian turkey sausage
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 3, 15- ounce cans tomato sauce
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
- 1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
- 2 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese shredded, divided
- 12 oven-ready lasagna noodles
- Heat a stock pot or Dutch oven with a lid over medium heat. Add the turkey and sausage and saute until it is fully cooked, crumbling the meat as you go.
- When the meat is almost totally cooked, add in the bell peppers and onions and saute for another five minutes or so.
- Add the garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, oregano, salt, onion powder, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir well.
- Leave the burner on medium and place the lid on the pot. Let the sauce simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the sauce simmers, combine the cottage cheese, ricotta and one cup of the mozzarella into a bowl. Stir to combine.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray a deep nine-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray.
- Remove the sauce from the heat, give it another good stir, and start assembling your lasagna.
- Place four noodles on the bottom of the casserole dish. (I had to break one of mine to get fill coverage. It doesn’t have to be perfect.) Spread one-third of the sauce over the noodles, and then dollop one-third of the cheese mixture on top of the sauce.
- Repeat twice more.
- After the final layer, add the final cup of shredded mozzarella.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Serve hot with some crusty bread.
We really, really enjoyed this. It wasn’t as decadent as making a full-fat lasagna (especially because I love making Paula Deen’s version), but it was still really good, and just like with regular lasagna, we thought it was even better when we reheated the leftovers the next day. I loved the bell pepper flavor in the sauce.
We also put several pieces in the freezer for quick meals down the road, and those have defrosted and reheated well, too.
I’m still going to keep normal lasagna directions in my recipe box for special occasions, but this one is going to go on a card right next to it. I can never give up my “sometimes” foods, but recipes like this certainly help in between.
This piece first appeared in print on Aug. 3, 2023.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.