Lasagna can be one of the most calorie-laden pleasures of life, a reason why I used to reserve it for the holidays. I will freely admit that my favorite lasagna is made with homemade spinach noodles, bechamel, and a long-simmered Bolognese sauce. My second favorite lasagna is the way my mother and my grandmother made it--filled with full fat ricotta cheese and mozzarella and served with meatballs, sausage, bracciola and preceded by a huge antipasto. And did I mention the garlic bread?
Well, of course you can't eat that kind of a meal on a weeknight. First of all, you'd need to get up in the wee hours of the morning to start the sauce. More importantly, eating that kind of (delicious, I love it) rich food is definitely not part of a healthy eating plan. So, for nights when I want lasagna, I turn to a quick, leaner version. I use bottled sauce because it's quick and because it has way fewer calories.
I have several versions that I've posted over the years I've been doing this blog (Quick and Easy Turkey Lasagna; Mushroom Lasagna). Here's another.
1 lb ground turkey breast
2 tsp olive oil
1 (10 oz) pkg cremini mushrooms (sliced)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (10 oz) bag spinach, trimmed
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups light marinara (Ragu has a good one)
1 (8oz) box no-boil lasagna noodles (I like Barilla)
1 (15oz) container fat free ricotta (store brands are fine; hey, it's fat free)
1 1/2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9 X 13 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook, stirring frequently, until no longer pink (about 5 minutes). Add the oil and reduce heat to medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened (about 5 minutes). Add the mushrooms and garlic and continue stirring, cooking another 5 minutes. Add the salt and pepper, stir, then add the spinach and cook, stirring, until it's wilted (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat. Drain away any extra liquid from the mushrooms and spinach.
To assemble, spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Cover with 4 lasagna noodles, overlapping them if needed. Cover with half the turkey mixture, dot with half the ricotta, sprinkle with a handful of the mozzarella, and top with another 1 cup of marinara. Add another layer of 4 noodles and cover with remaining turkey mixture, remaining ricotta, another handful of mozzarella, and 1 cup of the marinara sauce. Add 4 more lasagna sheets, then spread the remaining 1 cup of marinara sauce on top and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
Spray a sheet of foil with nonstick spray; cover dish with foil, sprayed side down, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes, until mozzarella is starting to brown and noodles are very tender. Let cool 15 minutes before cutting into 8 equal portions. DO NOT CUT until the lasagna has cooled for 15 minutes and set up. Pass the grated cheese (and add those extra points).
9 WW PP per serving
I usually don't use fat free ricotta nor do I bulk up my lasagna with veggies, but I must say that this lasagna surpassed my expectations. It was really, really good (so good I'd have loved a second piece). I will say that next time I make this I intend to saute the mushrooms and spinach separately with lots of thinly sliced garlic. That way, instead of being a "filler," the vegetables will really bring something to the table, so to speak. Spreading the mozzarella through the layers instead of just putting it on top gives you that wonderful stretchy-melty cheese throughout. Of course, I had to add grated cheese at the table. All in all, I'm looking forward to the leftovers.