Turkey mince lasagne is a lighter version of traditional beef lasagne. It's still deliciously comforting, but using turkey instead of beef, and adding extra veggies makes this healthier, and lighter.
Is turkey healthy?
Turkey and other white meats such as chicken have a reputation for being healthier than beef. Generally, turkey is lower fat than beef, although the fat levels of both can vary depending on the cut of meat and how it is cooked and served. Turkey is of course rich in protein. It's also a very good source of B vitamins and a number of important minerals.
How to make turkey bolognese sauce healthier
Turkey mince lasagne includes both some white beans and spinach in the meat sauce. So not only will you be eating more veg, you'll also be eating a little less meat. Adding beans will increase the fibre and vitamins in the recipe. Fibre is critical to our health and many people don't get enough, so adding more fibre to your everyday recipes will help you get the recommended 30 grams a day. (See here for the British Heart Foundation's recommendation on eating fibre.) Spinach goes perfectly with turkey, and is a way of adding more healthy greens to your diet.
Which turkey mince should I buy for turkey lasagne?
Certainly in the UK, minced turkey thigh (which is a darkish coloured meat) and minced turkey breast (a white meat) are both widely available. Minced turkey thigh has a fat level of 7%, and breast meat has just 2%. However, the dark meat does have some health advantages, such as containing a higher level of the vital nutrient zinc. And it is also more flavoursome. This turkey lasagne recipe is lower in saturated fat anyway, due to the higher proportion of vegetables, and the lower fat white sauce. So I'd recommend thigh mince for this recipe, as breast meat can be a little dry.
Onions, tomatoes, and tomato puree all add extra flavour, and help to create the classic texture for a ragu sauce.
Carrots, spinach and beans add extra healthy veggies. It's best to grate the carrot to ensure that it cooks through well. You can use either fresh or frozen spinach. There's no need to defrost the frozen spinach, you'll just need to wait a few minutes for it to defrost in the heat of the pan. I've used haricot beans in the recipe, but you could also use cannellini beans. The beans must be cooked however, so if you don't want to use canned beans, you'll need to cook your dried beans separately.
Garlic, Worcestershire sauce and herbs all add seasoning and flavour. However, Worcestershire sauce isn't essential, and note that many brands are not gluten free. You can use either dried mixed herbs, or your favourite fresh herbs. Sage or thyme both go very well with turkey, and some chopped fresh basil adds a lovely freshness. If you are using fresh herbs, add twice the quantity as the flavour is not so concentrated as dried herbs.
Pasta. You can use either white or wholemeal lasagne sheets for the recipe. The white sauce is made with cornflour which is gluten free, so if you want a completely gluten free turkey mince lasagne, make sure you use gluten free pasta sheets too. These are widely available in the UK, and honestly I can hardly tell the difference between the gluten free and wheat based lasagne sheets.
Cheddar cheese. You could also use parmesan, or a low fat cheese. You could even tear a ball of mozzarella over the top of the lasagne if you want a gooey, extra cheesy layer.
White sauce ingredients
This simple sauce is made with milk, cornflour (cornstarch) and seasoning. It's much lower in fat than a traditional bechamel sauce as there's no butter.
If you want an extra creamy, saucy lasagne, you can make twice the quantity of sauce. You can also substitute this dairy free white sauce recipe.
How to make turkey mince lasagne
Start by making the turkey ragu or bolognese. Fry the onions in the olive oil for 3 or 4 minutes over a medium heat until they start to brown slightly. This caramelisation will add extra flavour.
Add the turkey and garlic, and fry for a few more minutes. Again, browning the meat will help to add extra flavour to the dish.
Add the tomatoes, puree, Worcestershire sauce, carrot and herbs to the pan. Cover with a lid, and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Add the beans and spinach and stir to mix. (If using frozen spinach, you might need to wait for a few minutes for the spinach to defrost in the heat of the pan.)
Whilst the bolognese is cooking, make the white sauce.
How to make an easy, healthy white sauce
This white sauce is much lower in fat , and very easy to make. Just add cold milk to the cornflour, salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir. Bring to a simmer, constantly stirring, and the sauce will thicken. It's a lot simpler and quicker than making a traditional sauce with a roux.
Assembling the lasagne
Place half of the meat sauce in your baking dish. Add a single layer of lasagne sheets. You can break the sheets to fit your dish, but try not to overlap them too much as they won't cook through so well. Add a little less than half of the sauce and spread it out over the pasta. Then repeat, with a layer of bolognese, then pasta, and finishing with a final layer of white sauce. It's important to fully cover the pasta sheets with the sauce. Sprinkle over the cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees (160 fan) for 35 - 40 minutes. If you want to check that the pasta is cooked through, insert the tip of a knife. It should slip in easily.
How to serve
If you can, leave the cooked lasagne on the side for 5 or 10 minutes before serving. It will retain its heat, and be easier to serve.
As this recipe already contains two portions of veg, you might just like to serve it with a green salad. But any green veg would also make a good accompaniment.
Meal prep tips for turkey mince lasagne
- You can make the turkey bolognese sauce ahead of time. It will store in the fridge for a couple of days, and it also freezes well. You can also freeze leftover bolognese sauce for another occasion.
- If you prefer, you can make the whole dish up to a day in advance, store in the fridge and cook it when you are ready
- Turkey mince lasagne also works very well using an automatic timer on the oven. It won't spoil if you need to leave in the oven a few minutes longer, and it's not essential that the oven is preheated.
- Left over turkey lasagne: you can reheat leftovers in the microwave, oven, or in a pan on the stove.
Frequently asked questions
You can cook your turkey lasagne in a glass, metal or ceramic ovenproof dish.
For 6 portions, I recommend a 10.5 x 10.5 inch dish.
For 4 people a 10.5 x 7 inch dish should suffice.
I often cook a smaller lasagne for 2 in a 2lb loaf tin which has dimensions of 9.75 x 4 inches.
If your lasagne sheets don't fit the tin exactly, you can easily break them and rearrange them as needed
If you want to make a deeper lasagne with more layers, use a small baking dish.
This recipe contains 356 calories per serving. If you want to make a lower calorie version, then you could reduce the fat (and calories) by using turkey breast meat and using a reduced fat cheddar.
If you want to reheat a whole lasagne that you've cooked in advance, it's best to use the oven. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and pop the lasagne in the oven for 30 minutes. When reheating lasagne in the oven, cover the dish loosely with foil so that it doesn't go too brown.
For individual portions, you can also reheat the lasagne on the stove. Add a drop of oil to a hot pan, and add the lasagne. Add a tablespoon of water and cover with a lid. Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. Add another splash of water as required to ensure the lasagne does not burn onto the bottom of the pan. Remove the lid for the last couple of minutes to allow any remaining water to evaporate. You can also reheat individual portions of lasagne in the microwave.
Other healthy pasta recipes
- This gluten free beef lasagne has a few extra veggies and a low fat sauce
- Sweet potato and kale lasagne is a super tasty vegetarian lasagne
- Easy vegetarian carbonara: a quick recipe ready in 20 minutes
You might also like these gluten free turkey burgers
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a rating and/or comment at the bottom of the page. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated.
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Turkey Mince Lasagne
- frying pan
- 25 x 25 cm baking dish
- 1 large onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large carrot grated
- 500 g minced turkey thigh see notes above
- 1 clove garlic peeled and very finely chopped or crushed
- 400 g tinned tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon Worcerstershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
- 200 g chopped frozen spinach, or use fresh
- 400 g tinned haricot beans
- 75 g mature cheddar, grated
- 8-10 sheets dried lasagne
Easy white sauce
- 2 tablespoon cornflour
- 450 ml milk
- grated nutmeg to taste
- salt and pepper
Turkey bolognese sauce
- Place a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the olive oil and fry the onions for 3-4 minutes. Add the turkey and garlic and fry for another few minutes.
- Add the carrot, tomatoes and puree, Worcestershire sauce and herbs. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add the spinach and haricot beans and stir to mix. (If you are using frozen spinach you might have to wait a few minutes for the spinach to defrost in the heat of the sauce.)
Easy white sauce
- Add the cornflour, seasoning and nutmeg to a cold saucepan. Add approx ¾ of the milk and stir thoroughly to mix. Slowly bring to the boil whilst stirring. Once the sauce is thick and smooth, add the remainder of the milk.
Assembly and cooking
- To assemble the lasagne, add half of the bolognese sauce to the dish and smooth level. Add a single layer of lasagne sheets, followed by just under half of the white sauce. Repeat with the remaining meat, lasagne sheets and white sauce. Make sure that all of the pasta sheets are covered by sauce. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.
- Cook at 180 (160 fan) for 35-40 minutes. The cooked lasagne should be golden and bubbling. Serve with a big portion of fresh green salad or vegetables
Please note nutritional information is for guidance only