Everyone loves lasagne right? In fact, it’s perfect for feeding a crowd of hungry runners, or in my case, guests traveling to Minnesota from Texas. “Do you ever make lasagna when you’re expecting out of town guests or are feeding a crowd?”
Lasagna is perfect for prepping in advance too and this dish fits every criteria I just love when entertaining hungry guests! It has hearty layers of meat, cheese, sauce and veggies sandwiched between not too many layers of noodles. Definitely comfort food at it’s best, but healthy too, which I love and thankfully so did my family!
I recently had my family visiting from Texas and becuase they made the trip via driving verses flying, I knew they’d be extra hungry when they arrived. Yes they drove to Minnesota all the way from Texas. When I say “they”, I mean my step-daughter, husband and they’re three kiddos who are 6, 4 and 1. So imagine 17 hours or more in a vehicle with three young children. I know, amazing right! Or should I say CRAZY! I believe they are flying next year. Proud Grandparents since they all did great, but they sure were tired!
Well, they made it as far as Burnsville, MN which is only about 75 minutes from Grandpa and Grandma’s. So close but yet so far! Unfortunately traveling anywhere in the Mid-West during the month of March is very unpredictable! We are most likely guaranteed a snowstorm, or two. Sure enough, snow! The closer they got to Minnesota, the heavier the snow, and of course accidents. Traffic became unbearable and to be honest, unsafe. All five of them were definitely ready to get out of their Toyota and get some much needed rest.
They finally arrived the next afternoon and after exploring our home, Adelyn was ready to make guacamole with Grandma Karen. I also had this amazing lasagna prepped and ready for their first meal. I received rave reviews. Can you guess what my secret ingredient is? You’re right, sweet potatoes.
This lasagna is as much fun to prep as it is to serve! Pretty and incredibly delicious. I used Diestal white meat ground turkey which I am so in love with. It’s a great protein source and much leaner and tastier than any other ground turkey I have tried. I found the best whole milk whipped ricotta at whole foods on my last visit, and of course, you can’t go wrong with Costco’s big bag of anti-biotic free shredded mozzarella cheese. I cooked up a two large organic sweet potatoes, combined them with my ricotta and eggs to be used for one layer. Outstanding if you haven’t tried it!
Serve this along side a simple salad tossed with my golden dressing and you’ll have the perfect crowd pleasing meal ever! ENJOY.
CROWD PLEASING LASAGNA (adapted from RUN FAST EAT SLOW by Shalane Flanagan)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or to taste
- 1 teaspoon of pink Himalayan sea salt
- 6 cups of Homemade Marinara Sauce, or jarred
- 8 lasagna noodles, gluten free brown rice are my fave
- 1 bag of fresh baby spinach, wilted
- 2 cups of mashed cooked sweet potatoes, about 2 large
- 1 container (16 ounces) whole milk ricotta
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound (16 ounces) mozzarella cheese, grated or sliced
- 1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the turkey, oregano, fennel, red pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the turkey is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and simmer over low heat while preparing the remaining ingredients.
- In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat and cook the spinach with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt until wilted, about 3 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, combine the sweet potato, ricotta, eggs and black pepper.
- In the bottom of the baking dish, spread 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce and top with a layer of 4 noodles. (I did not pre-cook my noodles). Spread half the sweet potato mixture over the noodles and top with all of the spinach. Start another layer with 1 1/2 cups of sauce, than half mozzarella, remaining sweet potato mixture, and more noodles. Top with another layer of sauce, and remaining mozzarella, and finally the parmesan cheese.
- Cover the dish with foil. Bake in the center of the oven on top of a baking sheet to catch any drippings for about 30 minutes. (If you made this in advance and it was cold, be sure to give it an extra 15 minutes). Remove the foil and bake until golden and bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes prior to slicing and serving.