Nov 3 2011

Living Leaner with Turkey Lasagne

Posted by     27 Comments    Posted under: Kitchen

To roll out our first ‘Living leaner’ recipe we decided to go with one of the kids favourite evening meals, Turkey Lasagne.

I know what you are thinking.

Lasagne. Right.


But this, my friends, is no ordinary lasagne. This, is a turkey lasagne made with cottage cheese. So technically, and for one night only, ‘Living Leaner’ has a double entendre. You are saving yourself thousands if not millions of calories by choosing to eat a leaner meaner lasagne like this one.

Disclosure: I have no idea how many ‘less’ calories you will be eating. We just know that by using a leaner meat like turkey meat and low fat cottage cheese mixed with bechamel sauce, this recipe is lean and lovely!

To start with you need to make a bechamel sauce and a meat sauce. Once you have made this, the lasagne assembly takes just a few minutes.


5.0 from 2 reviews

Basic Bechamel Sauce
Recipe type: Bechamel Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 8

Once you have made your bechamel sauce you can add grated cheese or cottage cheese to your sauce and it will be ready for your lasagne.
  • A heavy bottomed pot
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch grated nutmeg
  • 280 ml (2 cups) milk or cream
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & black pepper
  • Ground turkey – 500 grams
  • 3 cloves of garlic (chopped finely)
  • 1 large onion (diced finely)
  • 2 carrots (diced finely)
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 4 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • One third a tube of tomato paste
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • Water (if needed)

  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat in a small heavy bottomed pot.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of flour into the melted butter, mixing swiftly as you do.
  4. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt.
  5. Cook over a low heat and keep mixing for five minutes. This helps minimize the flour taste.
  6. Slowly add the milk and keep mixing.
  7. Add a pinch of grated nutmeg.
  8. Continue cooking slowly until smooth and thickened.
  9. To make a richer creamier sauce use cream.
  10. To make a leaner sauce use skimmed milk and chicken stock (half and half)
  12. Sauté the onions, garlic and carrot in the olive oil using a large heavy bottomed pot.
  13. Once the onions and garlic are translucent add in the ground turkey.
  14. Sprinkle in a decent amount of salt and black pepper.
  15. Add in tomatoes and tomato paste and stir well.
  16. Add in the spinach and basil leaves at the end.
  17. If it is too thick, add a little water and mix well.


Turkey Lasagne and salad for supper!



For the Lasagne you will need:

1 box of lasagne (dried pasta)

Bechamel sauce

Meat sauce

2 tubs of cottage cheese

200 grams grated cheese


In a nice large casserole dish (square works best for service) start with a layer of meat suace, then add the dry pasta.

Top it with the bechamel sauce, then add  cottage cheese and grated cheese.

Repeat until you have filled your casserole dish making sure to end with the bechamel sauce and cheese.

This recipe made enough to feed a family of ten. So we have extra in the freezer if you are hungry!

Here is the price breakdown:

Pasta                          €1.19

Cottage cheese        €3.10

Cheddar cheese      €1.42

Ground Turkey       €3.00

Tinned Tomato      €1.58

Tomato paste          €0.66

Total                       €10.95

Ok. before you fly off the handle, because are trying to stick to feeding our family for a tenner a day for dinner, you should know that there are 4 large portions of lasagne left over and enough meat sauce to make a nice lunch some Saturday when no one feels like cooking. We did eat salad that came from our garden and also had a nice loaf of bread. Had you to buy those items you would have to tack on a few extra euros.


Even with the kids eating seconds, there was quite a bit leftover.


Give it a try. How much are you spending each week on food?




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27 Comments + Add Comment

  • I can’t wait to see what else do you have in store ‘living leaner’ series! I’m all in if it has turkey lasagne! It looks absolutely delicious!

    • Thanks An. it is a very very tasty dish. I did not ‘like’ the idea of using cottage cheese at all. I love cottage cheese, but was not wild about having it cooked or baked.
      It adds a lot of creaminess to the dish that was not expected and gladly accepted! Thanks for the visit :0)

  • That looks lovely – but surly a ‘heavy bottomed pot’ should not be allowed in a lean recipe? A pot with a size 8 – 10 bottom would be much better! Apart from that I cannot fault it at all 😉

    • Ha ha ha – you are right. We have a lot of ‘heavy bottomed pots’ around here and I swear every recipe seems to call for one.
      Maybe we should just do away with the light bottomed pots entirely. They never get a call to the forefront and in all seriousness are
      only good for melting butter. Thanks for popping in for a visit Amee.

  • Yayyy! Somebody else recognises the health and pocket benefits of ground turkey! I make this all the time at home, and with a rich slow-cooked tomato sauce not even die-hard meat-freaks seem to notice the subsitution! I hadn’t thought of using cottage cheese though, as like you I’m a bit ‘meh’ about the ingredient, but I’ll definitely try next time, cheers! Oh, p.s., I normally buy my ground turkey in Tesco but lately I can’t find ‘breast’ written anywhere on it so I’ve a feeling I’m eating the higher-calorie leg and paying €3.49 for the privilege – where do you get yours or do you use your own?

    • Rachel,
      Try the cottage cheese. You will not be disappointed at all.
      We do raise our own fowl (ducks, turkeys, chickens, guinea fowl) and when we are not eating our own I buy the turkey breast direct from the butcher and have him grind it right in front of me. He does this, every time and there is no extra charge for it. I hate saying this ‘out loud’ but I do not trust any meat packaging anymore from the larger grocery chains.
      I think eating turkey leg over breast is one (very valid) concern, but it is the growth hormones and swill they are pumping into the meat that I want to steer clear of!
      The full turkey breast ‘lobe’ is usually around €8 euros and this is divided up into three packets for the freezer. Meatballs/Lasagna/Bolognese/Burgers. The world is your Turkey!

  • No no, I would never think ‘boring’ about a recipe suggestion of yours. I would think ‘hmm, it’s quite a while since I’ve eaten’. Shall we say that a slice contains three calories, just to have a stab at it?

    • Ah Mise….to provoke pangs of hunger is always my goal :0)
      I have to agree on your caloric calculations, you being the mathematician after all.
      One decent slice, including the bits that fall off to the side if you are not a careful slicer, could not contain more than three calories.
      So, have a second slice I say! Thanks for the visit. I hope all your halloween plans went swimmingly.

  • Mona
    Love the recipe!my family were totally sick of regular lasagna. I surprised them with this last night &everyone cleaned their plates.scrumptious looking forward to more meals for a tenner.

    • Hi Aoife,
      Good woman! I know. It is different and I mentioned in one of the other comments, I was not ‘excited’ at all about the cottage cheese at all
      but it turned out so creamy and they all licked their plates. Glad you tried it and liked it.
      Another recipe later today :0) Fish for Friday!

  • Gonna try this today! 🙂

    • Woo hoo! You will love it Lorna. I think Teco has three for three in the meat section.
      One of those packets of ground turkey is plenty. You will have leftovers.
      Do not let the milk burn when making béchamel…. You have to throw it out…

  • Don’t be stressing me out before I start!! Lol! I’ll let ya know this eve how I get on!! 🙂

    • I can’t wait to hear how it turns out!

  • Great recipe, Mona. I have always used cottage cheese in my lasagna mostly because I didn’t have ricotta on hand. Since I detest cottage cheese and curds, I put it in the food processor with one egg, the Parmesan cheese, and some herbs and seasoning. Makes a lovely cheese layer. Look forward to the next recipe!

    • Mary Sue,
      What a lovely way to blend the cheese. I like using ricotta too but it is not on hand everywhere we go either and the
      Cottage cheese is. I love the idea of throwing an egg in there too. I bet it makes the cheese sauce nice and rich.
      Thanks for popping in for a visit and next recipe will post tomorrow ;0) Miss you and the big guy. Hugs to you both.

  • Ok it’s in the oven! How long dies it take to cook? Also, I have lots of meat sauce left which I will freeze. But no béchamel or cottage cheese, guess I was maybe a bit over generous!! 🙂 can’t wait to dive in!!

    • No longer than forty minutes if it is in a traditional size casserole dish … Not too deep.
      Hope you enjoy it Lorna….and have a nice glass of red wine with it ;0) Happy Friday!

  • Yum! Delicious. Two kids a bit iffy but I think they will come round, it’s new to them I have NEVER made lasagne before!!!

    • Great job Lorna. I am delighted you tried it and it went over well. I am sure the kids will come around.
      And – cannot believe you never made lasagne before? I think this was the first thing Mrs. O’Donnell taught us at the Mercy in 1st yr!

  • Mona, that looks absolutely delish, loved the way you have formatted the recipes too.

    • Thanks Beatrice! I think when you print one out it pops up with the featured photo on it!
      Give it a try. It is a lovely tasty lasagne. Hope all is well with you and yours.

  • Mona, I picked up the ingredients for your lasagna,which I’ll be making tomorrow. I’ve made it many times; however, my first with turkey…I’m learning to like turkey by incorporating it into my diet ( I’m trying to eat a little leaner ). Years ago…before blogging…I use to read this Amish woman’s column in the Sunday newspaper. Her name escapes me. The column centered on her large family and the Amish way of life, followed by a recipe. It is her recipe for lasagna made with cottage cheese that I’ve always made…but now…turkey it is! Wow…now I feel like I’m cheating on her:)

    • Your secret is safe with me Robert, assuming that nice Amish newspaper columnist does not read my blog we are probably alright.
      Glad you are trying the lasagne with the Turkey. I am pretty sure you will like it, because Turkey has a great rich flavour, meaty.
      We used to go to this Amish bakery in Ohio. Almost a two hour drive to get there, just for doughnuts. They were the best doughnuts I
      have ever had. Let me know how the lasagne turns out.

  • Oh, I LOVE making lasagne (or spag bol!) with turkey mince! You’d never guess it’s a beast of the air (kinda!) and not the field once I am done with it ;o) Great idea (living leaner, that is) and great recipe.

    • Thanks Jeanne. It is always well received here at Chez Wise. Fingers crossed for the SA Blog awards :0)

  • […] The first item on the menu is Turkey Lasagne and you can find it right here! […]

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About Móna
I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
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