Overnight Lasagna (Turkey and Greens with Options)
I love a good lasagna, but it always seems like a big production. I hit upon this clever way of making lasagna years before no-cook noodles were discovered and it really works. Simply use regular noodles, assemble the night before with a little extra “juice”, and pop in the oven the next evening for a delicious meal with all the prep behind you.
Preferring a saucy rendition of this classic casserole, I used to always end up with extra ricotta mixture. Liking the concept of making two separate casseroles from one basic recipe–one to eat now, one to freeze or give to a friend–I developed the following variation on an old favorite and it accomplished several goals.
Since I am well into my Sargento flavor journey, which included the “bitter greens” food trend, I thought it was high time I share a recipe using collard greens. I literally stood in front of the assortment of greens in the grocery store, debating if I should do it. Would my kids eat this? Would the friend with whom I was going to share the second dish enjoy?
Well, in the spirit of adventure, I took the plunge. Guess what? No one knew? As far as they knew, it was their old friend spinach. When I later revealed my secret, nobody was phased. They just wondered when they could eat it again soon!
Baking the lasagna in two pans not only makes a second meal to freeze or give away, it creates a ratio that is a little different than most lasagna recipes. If you prefer a saucy lasagna with a lighter ricotta layer, this recipe is for you!
This time I prepared the lasagna with turkey and collard greens, but spinach is what I typically use. Feel free to substitute the greens of your choice and/or switch to a ground beef and sausage mixture.
Another big plus with this recipe is that the noodle need not be precooked: one less pot to wash and the noodles turn out perfectly cooked after an overnight rest in the fridge. If you wish to make this in a 9×13 with three noodle layers instead of two, you may certainly adjust accordingly. The combination of ingredients is delicious whichever pan is used!
To prepare this recipe in one large pan using the two-layer method as described, use a 15×10 baking dish.
- 1 pound ground turkey breast
- 1/2 pound turkey sausage, removed from casings (I use hot)
- 1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 lasagna noodles, uncooked
- 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, kale or collard greens, thawed and drained (see note)
- 1 16-ounce package cottage cheese, 2% or regular (may substitute ricotta cheese)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 12 ounces Sargento shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup Sargento shredded Parmesan cheese
- Cook the ground turkey and the sausage in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until browned, stirring and crumbling as you go. Stir in the marinara sauce, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and salt. Bring to a boil, and then remove sauce from heat.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the drained greens, cottage cheese, egg, and garlic powder.
- Arrange 3 of the uncooked noodles in each of two 7×11-inch baking dishes. (You may also use 9×9 baking dishes or one of each; break noodles to fit the 9×9 pan.) Spoon 1/4 of the sauce over the noodles in each pan. Top with 1/4 of the cottage cheese mixture and 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers with the remaining noodles, sauce, cottage cheese mixture, and mozzarella cheese. Top each with half of the Parmesan cheese. Cover pans tightly with foil, and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake lasagnas, covered, until the noodles are soft, cheese is melted, and sauce is bubbly, about 50 minutes. Remove the foil in the last 10 minutes of baking to brown the top a bit, if desired. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
To remove the excess moisture from the thawed greens, I like to literally wring them out in a clean tea towel. Alternatively, you may use an equivalent amount of fresh greens. Simply chop, steam, and remove the extra water in the same way.
This recipe was happily shared with The Country Cook’s Weekend Potluck.