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The Best Healthy Turkey Lasagna You’ll Ever Eat

The BEST turkey lasagna ever. This healthy turkey lasagna recipe is made with a homemade tomato basil sauce packed with fresh herbs & Italian spices, lean ground turkey, mozzarella, creamy ricotta and a touch of parmesan. Perfect for serving crowds, family-style dinners, or freezing for later!

Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hour
Total Time
1 hour 30 mins

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HI. It’s me. Your neighborhood healthy comfort makeover lady bringing back one of my most famous recipes for you that’s perfect for impressing your family, making your love swoon, comforting a friend, or just making ’cause you freaking love Italian food.

Say HELLO to my healthier turkey lasagna. She’s a beauty, isn’t she?

This was my first lasagna recipe on the site and I can honestly say I love lasagna more than any other Italian food. Back during my college years, I had asked my mom to make me a spinach and butternut squash lasagna for my birthday meal; it is still one of my favorite meals of all time. I can remember the warm butternut squash sauce between noodles and tons of mozzarella. (If you haven’t tried my roasted veggie butternut squash lasagna yet, this is your sign!)

I loved the recipe SO much that instead of sharing the leftovers with any of my roommates, I cut the lasagna up into individual servings, ate it for lunch and dinner for 4 days straight, then froze the remaining slices so that I could enjoy it again the following week.

CALL ME THE SELFISH LASAGNA GIRL.

Or wait, actually don’t.

Anyways, if you haven’t made this AK classic it’s about time you do it up. It’s the best holiday meal or comfort food recipe that everyone loves!

What makes this lasagna recipe healthier?

Just like traditional lasagna recipes, this one is filled with flavor and delicious, cheesy layers. I’ve made this lasagna. bit healthier by using lean ground turkey instead of ground beef

Ingredients in this healthy turkey lasagna

I decided I wanted to make a classic version of lasagna but with a turkey meat sauce instead of beef and little creative twists here and there. It turned out a million times better than I could have ever expected, so let’s discuss what’s all involved:

  • Homemade tomato sauce: I like to make this with a homemade tomato basil infused sauce. I use tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to thicken. Then I like to add Italian seasoning, garlic, oregano, fennel, a hint of pure maple syrup, nutmeg (a secret Italian ingredient). Finally, I stir in fresh basil to give it a beautiful, fresh and flavorful taste. It’s pure love.
  • Lean ground turkey: I’m a HUGE fan of ground turkey. It’s just so easy to make recipes with and I love the nutritional profile. I use the 94% lean ground turkey, but you could also use 99% lean — just know that it won’t be as flavorful or moist. Check out other recipes you can use with ground turkey here.
  • Lasagna noodles: I love to use whole wheat lasagna noodles in this recipe for a nice boost of whole grains.
  • Fresh basil: Between the layers of noodles isn’t just cheese and sauce, but also fresh basil leaves. It adds a little something special to the lasagna and increases the flavor profile.
  • CHEESE: Also between the layers of noodles is fresh mozzarella cheese, parmesan and creamy ricotta. This also contributes to the lasagna flavor, so do not skip the cheese (an excellent source of protein!)

Easy ways to customize

This healthy turkey lasagna is delicious as-is, but there are a few simple ways to customize if you’d like!

  • Add a boost of veggies. If you’re looking to add some more veggies to this healthy turkey lasagna, feel free to mix some cooked spinach into the ricotta layer, or even add some mushrooms to that turkey meat sauce!
  • Choose your noodles. As I mentioned, I like to use whole wheat lasagna noodles in this turkey lasagna recipe for a boost of whole grains. However, you can use regular lasagna noodles or even gluten free noodles to keep the lasagna gluten free! I do not recommend using no-cook noodles as the texture will be different. If those are the only noodles you have, they will still work in the recipe.
  • Try a new meat. I opted for ground turkey in this lasagna recipe to lighten it up, but you’re welcome to use ground beef or even a flavorful, ground turkey sausage.

How to make the best turkey lasagna

  1. Make the meat sauce. Start by cooking your ground turkey with garlic and onion, then stir in the rest of the ingredients for the tomato sauce. Cover and let it simmer on low to thicken up.
  2. Cook your noodles. While the sauce is simmering you can cook your lasagna noodles until just al dente.
  3. Make the ricotta mixture. While the noodles are boiling you can mix together the ricotta, egg, basil, salt & pepper.
  4. Layer your lasagna. Now it’s time to assemble! Spread turkey meat sauce on the bottom of a prepared baking dish, place lasagna noodles on top, spread with the ricotta mixture, then top with basil and mozzarella slices. Add more meat sauce and parmesan cheese, then repeat the layers once more.
  5. Bake & serve. Cover the lasagna with foil and bake it for about 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake it for 20 more. Garnish with extra basil & parmesan, cool and serve it up!

Tips for making perfect turkey lasagna

With these super easy tips, you’ll have the most delicious turkey lasagna every time:

  • Don’t overcook the noodles. Make sure to boil the noodles just until al dente, not fully cooked because they’ll cook more when you bake the entire lasagna. Say goodbye to mushy noodles!
  • Use room temp ricotta. The ricotta mixture is easiest to mix with room temp ingredients, so I suggest letting the container of ricotta and the egg sit out a bit to come to room temp.

Make it ahead of time

Yes, you can easily make this healthy turkey lasagna ahead of time! Simply assemble the lasagna completely as directed, cover and place it in the refrigerator one day before serving. It’s the perfect way to save time during busy weeks. When you’re ready to serve, bake it up as directed and enjoy!

How to freeze lasagna: two different ways

Another thing I absolutely love about this meal is that the lasagna is freezer-friendly! There are two methods to freezing lasagna:

  1. Bake first, then freeze. You can either bake it first, then cool to room temperature, slice into servings, place in freezer-safe containers and then freeze. Or you can bake it, bring to room temp, and then freeze the entire pan. Just make sure you double wrap it so the lasagna does not dry out. This is assuming you are freezing the entire pan. Once ready to reheat, thaw it out. Then bake, covered at 350 degrees F for 30-45 minutes or until heated through.
  2. Freeze before baking: To freeze before baking, simply assemble the lasagna as written in the instructions, then double wrap with plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Once ready to bake, thaw out then bake according to instructions.

Personally, I like to cook mine first, then freeze it in individual portions so I can take it out for meals as needed. I just reheat my serving in the microwave. YUM.

More comfort foods to try

Get all of my delicious comfort food recipes here!

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do. It’s great for parties and football season too. If you make it, be sure to tag #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram and/or leave a comment and rate the recipe below!

The Best Healthy Turkey Lasagna You'll Ever Eat

4.97 from 62 votes
Course Dinner, Gluten Free, Italian, Pasta
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword healthy turkey lasagna, turkey lasagna, turkey lasagna recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves 12

The BEST turkey lasagna ever. This healthy turkey lasagna recipe is made with a homemade tomato basil sauce packed with fresh herbs & Italian spices, lean ground turkey, mozzarella, creamy ricotta and a touch of parmesan. Perfect for serving crowds, family-style dinners, or freezing for later!

Ingredients

  • For the sauce:
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound 94% lean ground turkey (or use ground turkey sausage for even more flavor!)
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the lasagna noodles:
  • 10 whole wheat or gluten free lasagna noodles
  • For the ricotta mixture:
  • 1 (15 ounce) container part skim ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup torn or diced fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the layers:
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil, diced
  • 16 ounce fresh whole milk mozzarella, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • To garnish:
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • Fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Add oil to a large pot or dutch oven and place over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add in the ground turkey and onion and cook until turkey is no longer pink. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, water and pure maple syrup. Next add in fresh herbs & spices: basil, italian seasoning, oregano, fennel, red pepper flakes, nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and simmer on low while you cook the lasagna noodles.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the lasagna noodles for 6-8 minutes or until al dente, then drain and rinse with cold water. Another option is to soak the lasagna noodles in very warm (hot) water for 20-30 minutes if you do not want to boil them. (You can also use no cook lasagna noodles, but they aren't my favorite!)

  3. While the lasagna noodles are boiling, make the ricotta mixture: In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, basil and salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  5. To assemble the lasagna, spread 1 1/2 cups of the turkey meat sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Place 5 of the cooked lasagna noodles on top, 4 vertical and 1 horizontal. Spread with half of the ricotta cheese mixture, 2 tablespoons diced basil, then top with 1/3 of the mozzarella slices. Next, add 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce on top of the mozzarella and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Repeat layers once more: remaining noodles, ricotta, basil, 1/3 of the mozzarella slices, any remaining meat sauce and 1/4 cup parmesan. Top with remaining mozzarella.

  6. Cover with foil and bake covered for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 20 minutes. If you'd like bubbly, golden brown cheese, broil the top for 2 minutes or until mozzarella is golden brown. Garnish with 1/4 cup parmesan and extra basil. Cool for 15-20 minutes before serving. Serves 12.

Recipe Notes

Make it ahead of time: assemble the lasagna completely as directed, cover and place it in the refrigerator one day before serving. When you’re ready to serve, bake it up as directed and enjoy!

See the full post for 2 ways to freeze this lasagna.

Nutrition
Servings: 12 servings
Serving size: 1 serving
Calories: 368kcal
Fat: 16.4g
Saturated fat: 6.8g
Carbohydrates: 31.4g
Fiber: 4.9g
Sugar: 6.9g
Protein: 28.8g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

This post was originally published on September 3rd, 2018, and republished on December 20th, 2021.

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