Turkey, Spinach, and Quinoa Lasagna

Lasagna is a great winter food.  It’s cheesy comfort on a plate.  It’s also a great way to sneak some more vegetables into your diet and served with a side salad, it’s downright nutritious and delicious.

I was intrigued by this recipe since it added quinoa to the mix.  And actually in the final product I didn’t really notice the quinoa.  But I like the idea especially if you make a vegetarian lasagna, it’s a great way to add some extra protein.  I added some zucchini and onion, but you can add whatever vegetables you have on hand, just sauté them up and mix them in with either the tomato sauce or the ricotta.  I went ahead and doubled the recipe below and made two 9×13″ pans of lasagna, it takes a little bit of extra time, but then you’ll have a spare that you can share, freeze or serve for a large crowd.

Turkey Spinach, and Quinoa LasagnaTurkey Spinach and Quinoa Lasagna

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Chasing Some Blue Sky

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 jar (24oz) tomato pasta sauce
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 pkg frozen spinach (I used about 10oz, but next time I’d use the whole 16oz bag), thawed and squeezed to remove excess liquid
  • 3 cups low-fat ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 8 oz mozzarella (sliced or shredded)
  • 8-12 no-boil lasagna noodles

In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add diced onion and sauté until it begins to soften, then add zucchini and garlic.  Sauté for a few minutes until veggies begin to brown.  Remove veggies to a plate while you cook the turkey.  In the pan add a little more olive oil if needed and cook the ground turkey, breaking it up into small pieces as you go.  Once the turkey has cooked through, add the vegetables back in and add tomato sauce, balsamic and wine.  Let simmer while you assemble the ricotta mixture.Turkey Spinach and Quinoa Lasagna with Salad

In a large bowl, mix together strained spinach, ricotta, eggs, cooked quinoa, spices, and parmesan.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

To assemble, scoop about 1 cup of the tomato mixture into the bottom of your 9×13″ pan.  Lay noodles in a single layer over the tomato mixture.  Scoop ricotta mixture over noodles, top with tomato mixture, then sprinkle with a thin layer of mozzarella, repeat with noodles, ricotta, tomato and mozzarella, until your pan is full, ending with the layer of mozzarella on top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until top begins to brown and cheese is melted.

Roasted Mushroom and Pesto Pasta

This is a quick, easy meal to throw together.  I’d been planning on making pesto stuffed mushrooms, but I needed something a little more substantial than that.  Throwing in some whole wheat pasta and ricotta makes this dinner!  Paired with a salad, it’s quite the tasty dinner.

Roasted Mushroom and Pesto Pasta

Serves 6

  • 16oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 box penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Chop mushrooms and toss lightly with olive oil.  Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes while making the pasta.

Bring large pot of water to a boil and add about 1 Tbsp salt.  Add pasta and cook for about 9 minutes, until tender.  Drain pasta, retaining about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Mix pasta with pesto, ricotta, and some of the cooking water if needed.  Add mushrooms, season to taste.

Herbed Ricotta Tart

Yum.  I tore this recipe from a magazine in 2010.  I apparently made it that fall, loved it, stuck it in a binder with tons of other recipes waiting for their chance to be tried, and forgot about it.  I made it again this week.  WHY OH WHY did I wait SO long???  It’s easy and delicious, and even though green onions make me cry, it’s totally worth it.  It tastes decadent and cheesy, but it’s from Cooking Light, so you don’t even have to feel guilty!  This does have a bit of an onion-y taste, so make sure you feed it to the ones you love so they can have onion breathe too (that way it cancels out, right?).  Served with a tossed salad, or your favorite veggies, you’ve got an easy, delicious, vegetarian meal.

Herbed Ricotta Tart

Serves 6

Adapted from Cooking Light (June 2010)

  • 1 can refrigerated pizza crust dough (I found a 13oz one, but the recipe calls for 11oz)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced green onions (about 1 1/2 bunches)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach (optional)
  • 1 1/3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh chives (optional)
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 Tbsp grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Grease a 10″ springform pan with cooking spray.

Unroll dough, reshape and press into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared springform pan.

Heat a pan over medium heat, coat with cooking spray.  Add sliced green onions to pan and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the spinach (if using) and wilt slightly.  Remove from heat and let cool.

In a bowl, combine ricotta, chives, parsley, dill, salt, pepper, eggs, and egg white.  Mix well.  Add in onion-spinach mixture.  Pour filling into the prepared pizza crust.  Sprinkle with parmigiano-reggiano.  Bake for 35 minutes or until center is set.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Pesto Ricotta Spread

After making pesto, I knew I wanted to include it in my sandwich.  We also had some ricotta, so I whipped up a quick spread.  This was absolutely delicious.  It’s a flavorful, nutritious spread, definitely adds something special to a sandwich.

Pesto Ricotta Spread

Makes enough for 1 sandwich

  • 1 heaping Tbsp ricotta
  • 1 heaping tsp pesto
  • 1/2 tsp mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients well and spread on sandwich bread and top with favorite ingredients.

Summer Squash and Ricotta Galette

So a galette is really just a free-form pie with the edges folded partially over the pie filling.  They’re casual enough to make for yourself for lunch, but impressive enough to make for company.  The crust on this is made lighter with olive oil instead of butter and is a light and flakey crust.

I made this once for my friends, and then made it again a week later for SCL.  It’s definitely a great recipe.  Feel free to change up the filling with whatever seasonal veggies (or fruits!) you have on hand!

Summer Squash and Ricotta Galette

Serves 6

Adapted from Cooking Light magazine July 2012

For the crust:

  • 1  2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water

For the filling:

  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium summer squash, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

For the crust, combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a food processor; pulse to combine.  Combine olive oil with water and slowly add into the food processor until mixture becomes crumbly.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute.  Add additional flour if necessary to prevent dough from sticking.  Gently press dough into a 5 inch disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Combine the sliced zucchini and squash in a bowl, drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and the minced garlic, mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, thyme, lemon zest and juice, pepper, and egg.  In a small bowl, mix together the water and egg white.

If needed allow the dough to warm up for 10 minutes before unwrapping and rolling out.  When pliable, unwrap the dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface until you have a 14 inch circle.  Place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Spread the ricotta mixture over the center of the dough leaving a 2 inch border.  Arrange the zucchini and squash on the ricotta mixture.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.  Gently fold the pie’s border over the filling (it won’t cover very much of the filling).  Gently brush the top of the dough with the water-egg white wash.

Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with basil.