The title of this recipe post might be a little misleading, because the lasagna I’m about to share with you does contain meat, though you could leave it out if you wanted.
This is a wonderful one-dish meal for families whose members include finicky kids who won’t eat vegetables. It has fiber, veggies, dairy, and meat all in one. It also goes nicely, if you’re feeding a hungry bunch, with ciabatta rolls or garlic bread. Add a salad and you have a delicious weeknight feast. But be forewarned: a serving of this stuffed lasagna can be really filling!
I admit the prep isn’t super quick; mine took about 20 minutes. And the cooking time could be about 45 minutes. So start this one as soon as everyone gets home from work/school. The good news is that this makes about 8-12 servings, depending on the size of your pan and how you slice the lasagna up, so it could potentially be two meals. I recommend a 9”x13” casserole dish, unless, like me, you have a brownie pan with walls in the middle. (If you use such a brownie pan, you reduce the risk of a soupy middle, but you will probably have to break and artfully arrange the noodles when you lay them in the pan, which adds a few minutes to your prep time.)
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 can reduced sodium dark red kidney beans (drained)
- SNEAKY PART ALERT: baby food purées of butternut squash, carrots, and green beans (though any orange-colored baby food will work well here, as they hide in the sauce undetectable by children on the lookout for Evil Vegetables They Refuse To Eat)
- oregano (to taste)
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1 egg (slightly beaten)
- SNEAKY PART ALERT: 1 jar (about 24 oz.) spaghetti sauce––with mushrooms and olives (So sneaky!)
- 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
- at least 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend (though plain mozzarella will work well here)
- 3 tablespoons ground parmesan/romano/asiago cheese blend (though plain parmesan will work well here)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit).
Brown ground turkey on stove in large skillet. When meat is browned and crumbly, add baby foods, kidney beans, spaghetti sauce, and tomato sauce. Sprinkle oregano on top. Stir and cook on medium high heat until bubbling, then reduce heat to low and let simmer. (You could also add any other finely chopped veggies to the sauce at this point, if you wanted. I imagine onions, portabella mushrooms, bell peppers, extra olives, zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant would all be tasty here. Replacing the ground turkey––or whatever other ground meat you wish, such as beef or crumbled sausage––with these various vegetables could make this a good meatless entrée.)
Combine egg and ricotta cheese and more oregano in bowl. (If you wish to add basil here, do so. I don’t because I’m allergic to it.)
Spread a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of the lasagna pan. Spread a layer of noodles on top of this. Spoon some of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Add a layer of meat sauce to cover the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle the shredded cheese blend over the whole thing. Spread another layer of noodles on this, then repeat the ricotta, meat sauce, and shredded cheese steps. Do it all one more time if you have room in the pan. Keep going until you’ve filled the pan about ¾ of the way to the top.
Add one last layer of noodles, then the remaining sauce, and finally the remaining shredded cheese. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese blend over the whole thing.
Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10-15 minutes or until bubbling. Let the lasagna rest five minutes before cutting into it and serving.