I have recently received many emails from readers who want to eat healthier. The first step of course is to cook and eat at home as often as possible, and secondly to adjust what you are preparing. When eating and adapting recipes to be healthier, the easiest way is to make smart substitutions with lean meats, whole grains and extra vegetables. Focus on real food and not low fat or calorie free products.
Over the years I have made several healthy lasagna recipes but always been underhelmed; so here is my recipe for a turkey sausage lasagna loaded with spinach and layered with whole wheat noodles. When making it, be attentive when seasoning the sauce before assembly. Too often when cooking at home, people under-season and have bland food. If you are concerned about salt, your focus should be on what packaged products you buy and their salt content, if you are careful there you can likely salt your food to taste while cooking.
Despite this being a healthy lasagna, it’s still lasagna after all and is really not a diet meal. Serve it with a big salad if you are watching your calories.
Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna(serves 6-8)
First prepare yuor spinach, if it is frozen individually you may be able to stir it straight into the sauce, but more than likely you are looking at a brick of spinach. Either defrost it ahead of time, or slowly in the microwave according to package directions. Once defrosted, rinse in a strainer and press out the excess moisture.
Set aside an 8x8" pan, and cook 16 lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles and then run them under cold water to stop the cooking. The danger here is that the noodles will stick together while you finish the rest of the filling. Either lay flat on clean dish towels or toss in a bit of oil to prevent this.
While your noodles are cooking, start the sauce. Heat a large skillet to medium heat and add the olive oil. Saute the onion in olive oil, and stir regularly. While the onion starts cooking remove the sausage from it's casing and break apart into the skillet. Allow to brown on one side and flip. Stir to cook equally, once flipped stir in the mushrooms, chill flakes, garlic and a pinch of salt.
Continue cooking the mixture , stirring regularly so as not to allow the garlic to burn. You should see a bunch of water seeping out of the mushrooms, once they have lost most of the moisture and the turkey is cooked add the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Stir in spinach, and bring to a simmer again. Taste and correct for seasoning. If you are going to bake immediately preheat the oven to 350F.
To assemble start with a tiny bit of sauce on the bottom of your pan then a layer of noodles. Layer one third of the cottage cheese on the noodles, then one quarter of the sauce, and one quarter of the mozzarella. Follow that by another layer of noodles and repeat the layer above twice. On the last layer after the noodles just top with sauce and cheese.
When ready to bake place in a 350F oven for one hour. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.