The best turkey lasagna from Ina Garten! Packed with so many delicious layers. It’s rich, flavorful, and exactly what you want in a lasagna.

Pair it with Greek Chickpea Salad with Arugula and Cheese Bread for an ultimate comfort meal.

Turkey Lasagna

I’ve been making Ina Garten’s turkey lasagna for years now. It’s the only lasagna recipe I make at home, besides our Chicken Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna. It is truly the best in my opinion and very different from what I’ve had in the past. 

The funny part is that I’m not even a huge pasta or lasagna fan but what caught my attention was the fact that this recipe called for Italian sausage and four different kinds of cheese! And who can ever say no to cheese?!

I came across the recipe in the Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook. I absolutely love this lasagna because it’s made with sausage instead of plain turkey meat. So all the guesswork of seasoning the meat sauce is done for you.

It’s rich, flavorful, and exactly what you want in this comfort meal. Perfect for a cozy family night dinner or even your holiday table. Your guests will love it! 

I’ve adapted the recipe over the years with only a few slight changes but otherwise, it is perfection.

What are the Ingredients for Turkey Lasagna?

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make the turkey lasagna:

  • White onion
  • Garlic
  • Italian turkey sausage
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh basil
  • Lasagna noodles
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Goat cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Egg
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Pantry staples – olive oil, salt, and pepper
ingredients for turkey lasagna recipe

Substitutions

There are a few substitutions you can make. For example, the recipe calls for mild/sweet Italian turkey sausage but you can swap it out for spicy sausage. The finished lasagna does not taste spicy at all. Between all the ricotta and cheese, it’s actually a nice balance of flavors.

For the lasagna noodles, you can use no-boil (also called oven-ready) lasagna noodles or traditional boiled noodles. With no-boil noodles, you’re saving a step of having to prep them.

But either one works. All the details of how to make the lasagna with both types of noodles are in the recipe card below.

close up turkey sausage lasagna

Turkey Lasagna Q&A

Before we get to how to make the turkey lasagna, let’s answer some frequently asked questions! If you have a question that’s not included, let me know in the comments below.

Can you Make Lasagna without Boiling Noodles? 

Yes. Simply use no-boil (or oven-ready) lasagna noodles.

How Do You Keep Lasagna Noodles from Sticking Together?

After you drain the noodles, lay each noodle flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Or skip the parchment and spray the sheet with non-stick spray. It takes a little extra time, but it’s worth it.

How Long to Bake Lasagna and at What Temperature?

You’ll need to bake the lasagna at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, uncovered. 

Does Lasagna Have to be Covered with Foil?

No. Lasagna does not have to be covered with foil. It is baked uncovered.

Should You Leave Lasagna to Rest?

Yes. Ideally, you want the lasagna to rest for about 15 minutes, uncovered, before cutting and serving. Otherwise, it will be a sloppy mess if you cut into it right away.

How Do You Tell Lasagna is Done?

When the noodles are cooked through, the sauce is bubbling around the edges, and the cheese is melted that’s when lasagna is done.

Insert a toothpick into the lasagna and if the toothpick goes in easily without a lot of resistance, the noodles are done, and your lasagna is ready.

Why is My Lasagna Soupy?

To make sure your lasagna is not a runny mess, drain the lasagna noodles thoroughly before layering. Use Italian turkey sausage and not Italian pork sausage. Pork sausage has more fat content, therefore, it tends to be more “oily” when baked.

Allow your sauce to simmer until reduced and thickened so any and all moisture can evaporate.

How to Make Turkey Sausage Lasagna 

  • Step 1: Make the Meat Sauce – in a large heavy-duty skillet or sauté pan, cook the onions in olive oil until translucent.

Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in sausage, breaking up with a spoon. Cook until no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes.

raw turkey sausage in skillet

Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer until reduced and thickened, for 15-20 minutes.

tomato sauce in skillet
  • Step 2: Prepare the Lasagna Noodles – fill a large rectangular dish with hottest tap water. Add lasagna noodles and soak for 20 minutes.

Make sure to move the noodles around with a pair of tongs so they don’t stick. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. If using no-boil noodles, skip this step.

lasagna noodles in a dish
  • Step 3: Make the Ricotta Filling – in a bowl combine the ricotta cheese, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, egg, and remaining parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
ricotta mixture in a glass bowl
  • Step 4: Layer the Lasagna – you’ll need a 9X13 -inch rectangular baking dish for this lasagna. The first layer is going to be the sauce. Not only does it help keep things moist, but it also ensures that the noodles won’t stick to the pan.

First, you want to spoon 1/3 of the meat sauce into the baking dish, spreading over the bottom of the dish. Layer half of the lasagna noodles, half of the mozzarella, half of the ricotta, and 1/3 of the sauce.

lasagna layered in a baking dish

Next, add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. 

  • Step 5: Bake the Lasagna – bake the lasagna, uncovered for 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the noodles are tender. Rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

How to Prepare Lasagna Ahead of Time

You can prepare and assemble the lasagna the night before. I would recommend you cool the meat sauce to room temperature and then assemble the lasagna. Tightly cover and keep refrigerated until ready to bake. 

To freeze the lasagna, prepare and assemble the lasagna in a freezer and oven-safe pan. Tightly wrap the pan with plastic wrap and then follow tightly with aluminum foil. I like to double wrap to avoid freezer burn.

You can cook the frozen lasagna, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 45-60 minutes. Or thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F.

ina garten lasagna

What Side Dishes Go With Lasagna?

You really can’t go wrong with a side dish for lasagna. Some type of vegetables, such as Roasted Garlic Green Beans or your favorite green salad is always a winner.

We love creamy Greek Cucumber Salad as it pairs amazingly with this carb-loaded comfort food. Kale Caesar Salad is a great option if you’re looking for something more traditional. 

Or make this 5-minute Parmesan Arugula Kale Salad with Pine Nuts for an easy side.

More Comfort Food Recipes

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close up turkey sausage lasagna

Ina Garten’s Turkey Lasagna

  • Author: Katya
  • Prep Time: 50 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 mins
  • Yield: 810 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

The best turkey lasagna from Ina Garten! Packed with so many delicious layers for an ultimate comfort food. 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. mild Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 3/4 tsp. Kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 tsp. fresh black pepper
  • 8 oz. dry lasagna noodles
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup for the top
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-duty skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until no longer pink.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes or until thickened and reduced.
  3. Fill a large rectangular dish with hottest tap water. Add the lasagne noodles and soak in water for 20 minutes. Move the noodles around occasionally with a pair of tongs so they don’t stick. Drain and lay flat on a parchment lined baking sheet. Don’t leave the noodles in a colander or they will stick together.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, egg, remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce into a 9X13-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Next layer half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
  7. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the noodles are tender. Optional, broil the lasagna for 1-2 minutes. Rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Notes

  • Sausage: I’ve made this lasagna with both mild and spicy Italian turkey sausage. Both are delicious. The spicy sausage has a slight bite and compliments the sweet ricotta and creaminess of the cheeses really nicely. Lasagna does not taste spicy. I do not recommend using plain ground turkey meat for this lasagna.
  • Lasagna Noodles: Traditional boiled noodles or no-boil (or oven-ready) lasagna noodles both work in this recipe. If using no-boil noodles, then skip step 3. Also, the no-boil noodles tend to cook a little quicker than the traditional noodles. So start checking lasagna for doneness around 23 minutes.
  • To Make Ahead: Lasagna can be prepared and assembled up to 1 day ahead. Tightly cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  • To Freeze Lasagna: Assemble the lasagna in a freezer + oven safe baking dish. Do not bake it. Tightly cover the dish with plastic wrap, then go over with a layer of aluminum foil. I like to double wrap to avoid freezer burn. To bake frozen lasagna – discard the plastic wrap and aluminum foil and bake, uncovered, at 400F for 45-60 minutes. You can also thaw the frozen lasagna in the refrigerator overnight and bake it at 400F for 30 minutes.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 462
  • Sugar: 7.1 g
  • Sodium: 1567.1 mg
  • Fat: 19.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 31.9 g
  • Protein: 40.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 79.8 mg

Keywords: Ina Garten, comfort food, winter, fall

Recipe originally published February 2015.