meal makeover: lightened up lasagna.

by Janetha on June 22, 2011

in recipes

when it comes to italian food, there are certain things that, in my mind, fall into the “indulgent entree” category.  a few of these things include:

  • fettuccini alfredo
  • lobster ravioli
  • lasagna

the typical restaurant version of these items may contain a whole day’s worth of calories.  it’s a little ridiculous. i looooove lasagna, but i kind of like to eat more than one meal a day, so i decided to make my own version at home.

lightened up lasagna.

makes six pieces



  • 8 oz lean ground turkey (chicken or beef will also work)
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped and divided
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 1 TB dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3.5 oz whole wheat lasagna noodles (6 sheets)–cooked according to package directions *update! you can skip cooking the noodles and just layer the uncooked ones in the lasagna.. they will cook perfectly in the oven!
  • 1 1/2 cups lowfat cottage cheese
  • 3 egg whites, beaten
  • 54 grams (about 2 oz) shredded mozzarella OR colby jack cheese (mozzarella is best, but i only had colby jack)
  • 40 grams (about 1.5 oz) shredded parmesan cheese


preheat oven to 375 degrees.

spray a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium heat. saute the red onion until it begins to soften.


add the ground turkey and let it cook through.


add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1/2 cup of the basil, garlic, oregano salt and pepper.  let simmer for about 10 minutes.


meanwhile, combine the cottage cheese, egg whites and remaining 1/2 cup of basil in a small bowl.

IMG_9677 IMG_9687

when the meat sauce is ready, it’s time to layer!

use an 8×8 or 9×9 oven safe dish. first, layer half of the meat sauce.

next, layer half of the cottage cheese mixture.

next, layer 28 grams of mozzarella or colby jack cheese.


next, layer 3 lasagna noodles.

repeat this process.  do a layer with the rest of the meat sauce and a layer with the rest of the cottage cheese mixture. this is where i switched it up—i put the second layer of noodles atop the second cottage cheese layer.  then i finished it off with another 28 grams of mozzarella or colby jack cheese along with the 40 grams of parmesan cheese.


cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. uncover and bake for 10 more minutes, until the top is nice and bubbly.


serve alongside your steamed veggie of choice.


i love asparagus.


this makes 6 squares of lasagna that are roughly 3” x 4.5” in size (i used a 9×9 pan).  i had one square for my serving.. marshall had FOUR squares. luckily that left me one square for lunch today!


side note: this would be awesome with mushrooms! unfortunately, marshall hates mushrooms and i love him. (not unfortunate that i love him. just unfortunate that he hates mushrooms.)

here are the nutritional stats per square. remember, this is based of the specific ingredients and measurements i used. if you use different ingredients or amounts, your stats will be different.


i didn’t plug the information into my recipe calculator until after i made this dish up.  when i plugged everything in and saw the stellar stats, i got real excited. a big square of lasagna that is balanced in protein and carbs and is under 300 calories? good job, janetha. (what? it’s healthy to pat yourself on the back.)


what is your favorite italian dish?

xo. janetha g.

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Felicia (Natural + Balanced) June 22, 2011 at 6:07 pm

i’ve seen lasagna recipes with cottage cheese used instead and have always been intrigued to try it. i would love to make this! my boyfriend loves italian and would probably really enjoy this healthier-but still delicious- version, as would i :) thanks for sharing janetha!

Lauren June 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Such a great recipe. I believe every girl should have a good lasagna recipe on hand. It’s a priceless meal.

Missy June 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Looks great! I’d do one half with mushrooms and one half without cause I love mushrooms too, but my hubby, not so much :(

Heather (Where's the Beach) June 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I haven’t made lasagna in ages. I have made a vegan version using tofu in lieu of the cottage cheese or ricotta.

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm

what is your favorite italian dish? = I admit not much of an italian food fan…but your lasgana looks amazing! caprese salad or tiramisu would be my italian picks.

and marshall hating shrooms..i just posted about mushrooms yesterday and i know it’s a love it or hate it food. Some people can’t stand them but I dig em, too :)

Erica June 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm

nom nom! Lasagna is totally amazing. It scares me when I find out how many calories certain restaurant’s lasagnas have in them. I think thats why I like making my lightened up wonton lasagna too!

dana @ my little celebration June 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Brilliant! I will be making this soon, especially since I have lasagna noodles and ground turkey on hand.

My favorite Italian dish is either lasagna or fettucini alfredo. Gotta love the Italians.

melissa@the hungry artist June 22, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I love this — your lasagne looks amazing and is healthy! Thanks for sharing. I am gonna make it!

My favorite Italian dish is eggplant parmesan. I made a lighter version of it and won a Cooking Light recipe contest with it! Instead of breading and frying, I roasted the eggplant and paired it with a grilled portabello for more “umami”. :)

Janetha June 22, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Thanks for the link–I will have to make it when Marshall isn’t around since he hates eggplant. I love it!

Heather (Heather's Dish) June 22, 2011 at 7:38 pm

It’s all about the fettuccine alfredo for me…mo’ cheese = mo’ bettah!

Annette@EnjoyYourHealthyLife June 22, 2011 at 7:45 pm

mmmm I love making lighter fare to really heavy dishes. It makes it feel so sinful, yet so delicious (and healthy!!!) :)

Looks great!

Andrea@WellnessNotes June 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Your made-over lasagna sounds great! I don’t make lasagna very often (somehow I always think of it as a “complicated dish.”) I love the photos. Made me want to eat (and actually make your) lasagna right now… :)

My favorite Italian dish are gnocchi.

Carrie@shrinkingcarriewww June 22, 2011 at 8:08 pm

i can’t wait to try this recipe! My favorite Italian dish would be Fettucini Alfredo, but only if its the full fat, there is no way to make this healthy and still taste amazing, therefore, I never eat Fettucini Alfredo.

Janetha June 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm

It’s true, there is nothing quite like the real deal. I have made a few substitutes and they are somewhat similar.. but not quite right!

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) June 23, 2011 at 12:31 am

Hungry girl has a pretty good sub.

mary (what's cookin with mary) June 22, 2011 at 8:12 pm

What friggin’ greay stats on that tasty looking lasagne! Thinking I should make a batch nex time it cools off a bit.

My favorite Italian dish is probably lobster rav or fett alfredo w. shrimp or scallops.

Shanna, Like Banana June 22, 2011 at 8:23 pm

OOoo well I do love a good lasagna…actually I love any cheese filled Italian dish like ravioli, manicotti, tortellini, etc.

Kristina @ spabettie June 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Mmm, I love lasagna! this honestly just made my stomach growl. :)

Tea-bagginit June 22, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Hmm, Italian and me have always had a tricky relationship since I’ve always hated cheese. I do, however, love tomato sauce & all things spicy so it’s gotta be shrimp diavolo!

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) June 23, 2011 at 12:32 am

Hell to the yes on the stats. BTW I think you need to check Balance susan’s blog asap.

cathyd June 23, 2011 at 4:13 am

the thought of making a lasagna evokes an “ugh” reaction in me, but really, it’s not THAT hard, and you do get leftovers out of the deal! i’d definitely add mushrooms to your recipe – love ’em! and nice job on coming up with your light version!
does gelato count as an italian dish?! haha! if not, i’ll go with eggplant parmesan!

Lindsey @ Cardio Pizza June 23, 2011 at 5:24 am

Alright, now I’m craving lasagna! My favorite Italian dish is probably stuffed shells!

Hope June 23, 2011 at 6:20 am

This lasagna looks delicious! I made a lasagna a couple of months ago with cottage cheese. I think it’s better than ricotta.

My favorite italian dish to make is my eggplant parm. It’s a lot healthier than the way that they make it in restaurants. :)

April June 23, 2011 at 6:49 am

Two things: It’s not even 9 a.m. and all I want to do is fake sick here at work and go home to make lasagna! And what recipe calculator do you use? I have been seeing them in lots of blogs lately and would love to use one too to help me with my calorie goals on home made foods. Thanks!!

Janetha June 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm
The Teenage Taste June 23, 2011 at 6:52 am

Wow! This lasagna looks delicious! I think everyone needs to have a good lasagna recipe…and this is it! I can’t wait to try it! :-)

brandi June 23, 2011 at 7:15 am

seriously – there’s no way anyone would think that it’s so low in calories by looking at it. it looks awesome!

MelissaNibbles June 23, 2011 at 7:40 am

I love lasagna. This light recipe is easy and sounds really good!

tj June 23, 2011 at 8:26 am

This looks delicious! Now instead of eggs for breakfast I want lasagna! :)

Eleah June 23, 2011 at 9:04 am

I LOVE lasagna. I have only made it once, and it was when I knew very little about cooking. I didn’t know that you were supposed to boil the lasagna noodles first, so they came out of the oven a bit crispy.

Janetha June 23, 2011 at 3:09 pm

The ones I used, you don’t have to cook first! So nice. I got them at Target!

Jessy June 23, 2011 at 10:18 am

Lasagna is definitely my favourite Italian dish! Although I have to admit that I love pasta in general. My brother makes a lasagna that is to die for! Not healthy at all, though. ;)

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather June 23, 2011 at 11:23 am

I used to hate lasagna, but now I love it! This sounds so tasty. Lightened up how I like it :)

Melissa Smith June 23, 2011 at 11:34 am

This looks great. I think I will try to make it tomorrow. I was looking for something new to do with my ground turkey.

Heather Whipple June 23, 2011 at 11:37 am

Where did you find a recipe calculator? I am in desperate need of one for my recipes that I attempt to “healthify!”

Janetha June 23, 2011 at 3:09 pm
Shannon June 23, 2011 at 11:42 am

I don’t know if I can choose a favorite Italian dish… I grew up on Italian food being 1/2 Italian myself. I guess lasagna would be my choice, but we have so many fantastic recipes it’s hard to decide. Of course they aren’t the healthiest, but it is possible, as you have shown, to fix that! That lasagna looks fantastic!

julie June 23, 2011 at 12:07 pm

dude you insanity review was awesome! i want to buy it but i suck at planned things and i have no idea where in my tiny house i could do it at 5am! i think my family would murder my face off haha. i should probably figure something out though because i’ve been dyyying to do it!

anyways i love your lasagna re-do but i friggn HATE lasagna haha its something i’ve never liked my entire life but van looooooooves lasagna so this would be just dandy for him!

Aisha June 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Hey, I saw some really pretty owl jewellery in Old Navy so I had to tell you knowing how much you like owls. They have necklaces and earrings.

Ashley @ Will Run for Food June 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Lasagna is probably my favorite Italian dish, and yours looks delicious! It may have to go on my menu for next week!

fittingbackin June 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm

gah! Marshall just ruins everything! No mushrooms? No halvsies? haha j/k

Looks great – I love lightening up otherwise absurd dishes. Like you said, a day’s worth of calories. That’s just bs.

Lisa June 23, 2011 at 5:11 pm

That looks SOOO good! I love “lighter” recipes! There are ways to eat healthy and without the high calorie/fat content without sacrificing flavor.

Marisa June 23, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Looks delicious but you need to do conversions fromgrams to cups for me! ;)

Kim @ Imperfectly Perfect June 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Lasagna was my favorite meal growing up. For every birthday dinner up until junior year of high school it was my request. This looks great and I’m definitely going to give it a try. Thank you for sharing!!

Naomi June 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm

YUMMM that looks so delicious! OMG seriously yo need a cookbook that is all about lightened up recipes! that is so your’thing’

i love chicken caccitore and also antipasto platters ANDbruschetta!! i had the best bruschetta the other week..oh and that reminds me of paninis!!!! love them!

whitney June 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm

The asparagus looks so fresh and yummy! Drool. :) My bf is Italian, I lucked out! He does really good at making me veganized Italian meals! We made spinach and tofu lasagna before, soooo good.


Katie June 23, 2011 at 9:28 pm

I love asparagus, too. And I’ve totally stolen your term “aspara-goo” when it gets too mushy.

I like eggplant/cheesy dishes – that’s Italian, right?

Susana June 30, 2011 at 10:29 am

My roommate recommended your blog, and I absolutely love it. I made this lasagna the other night and it was a big hit! Can’t wait to try some of your other delicious looking recipes!

Janetha July 1, 2011 at 11:01 am

Thanks for checking out the ol’ blog, Susana!

chandra June 30, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I can’t wait to make this!!! :)

Danielle @WorkItWearItEatIt March 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Just made this, it was AMAZZINGGG. I had a small mishap with the tin foil and the melting cheese but once that was solved.. omg. Divine.

Janetha March 29, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Thank you for the feedback!

G December 17, 2012 at 6:42 am

This looks great. if making a vegetarian lasagna what would work best? all diff veg maybe kidney beans or tofu?

Meg Metekingi February 23, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Made this tonight, and it was fantastic!! So much flavor.

Janetha February 24, 2014 at 10:59 am

Glad you liked it and thanks for the feedback!

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