Things have been a little hectic around here lately, as I understand is par for the course when someone in your household is preparing to defend his or her PhD dissertation. The good news? Mr. Cake Pants passed his defense and is now officially Dr. Cake Pants! In the days leading up to (and after) the big day, I’ve been busy supporting him the best way I know how: by cooking and baking all his favorite foods! We’ve had chicken pot pie, mango carrot cake, Jamaican jerk chicken pasta, tart cherry pie, and last but not least, this three-cheese turkey lasagna with broccoli. On a related note, I’ve also been busy going for a lot of runs, because we’ve been eating like kings.
I first shared this lasagna three years ago, so I decided to take some new photos and update the post. One of the things I love about lasagna is how excited everyone gets about it. Homemade lasagna is a true labor of time love, and people know it! Despite the fairly long prep time, however, I’m reminded every time I make this recipe that it’s well worth the effort—it’s so hearty and satisfying that a little bit goes a long way.
This three-cheese turkey lasagna with broccoli was originally inspired by a Martha Stewart casserole. Before I came across that casserole, I had some vague notion that tomato-based dishes and broccoli were incompatible, but that recipe proved me wrong! I decided to create a lasagna along the same lines, because I’ve never really been a fan of spinach lasagna. I like spinach well enough (stop laughing, Mom and Dad, it’s grown on me!), but the idea of small, dark masses of limp spinach in between layers of pasta has never really thrilled me. Broccoli, on the other hand, retains its color and texture much better when cooked, which I think makes for a more appealing lasagna.
Which dishes do you turn to when you’re preparing for or celebrating a big day?
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes (diced tomatoes are also fine)
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 pound broccoli
- 8 ounces mozzarella, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup grated parmesan, divided
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 package (12 ounces) oven-ready lasagna noodles
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9 x 13 baking pan (at least 2 inches deep) with oil or cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add diced onion and thyme. Sauté until onion pieces are translucent and soft, about 10-12 minutes.
- Add minced garlic and ground turkey. Break up the turkey with a wooden spoon and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add flour and stir until the flour has been incorporated.
- While the turkey is cooking, prepare the broccoli by removing the tough outer skin and separating out bite-size florets. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and parboil the broccoli until soft (but not overly so), about 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool. Once cooled, chop roughly.
- Add canned tomatoes (along with the juice) to the skillet and gently break the tomatoes into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until sauce has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the cottage cheese, egg, and 1/2 cup grated parmesan.
- Spread about 1 to 1 1/3 cups of tomato and meat sauce on the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer ingredients in the following order: a single layer of oven-ready lasagna noodles, one half of the cottage cheese and egg mixture, a single layer of noodles, half of remaining tomato and meat sauce, half of chopped broccoli pieces, a single layer of noodles, remaining cottage cheese and egg mixture, half of remaining broccoli (one quarter of total amount of broccoli), half of mozzarella cubes, a single layer of noodles, remaining tomato and meat sauce, remaining broccoli, remaining mozzarella cubes, remaining parmesan.
- Coat one side of a piece of foil with oil or cooking spray. Cover the baking pan with foil, with the coated side facing down. Bake for 50 minutes, then remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Inspired by Everyday Food (November 2009).