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Recipe Makeovers – Lasagna


 By Amy K. West, Skinny Gene Dietetic Intern from the WIC Program

One of my favorite family recipes is lasagna, and there’s many ways to modify a standard lasagna recipe to cut the fat and increase the nutritional value.  I’m not one to closely follow a recipe, but standard ingredients include:


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12 lasagna noodles, uncooked

2 tablespoons olive oil1 (16 ounce) package Natural Italian Ground Sausage

1 onion

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce

4 cups ricotta cheese

1 large egg

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon dried oregano


One of the first ways to help lower the fat content of lasagna is by altering the type of meat you use.  Many of us watching our fat intake know using turkey can help us consume less fat than if we were eating beef, but it also depends on what type of turkey you use.  4 oz of lean ground turkey or 85% lean turkey contains about 17g of fat for 4 oz.  For that same 4 oz of turkey, if you select a leaner version, 93% fat free, the turkey contains only 8 grams of fat.  You also have the option of using extra lean ground turkey (99% fat free), which contains only 1.5g of fat for 4 oz.

Another change you can make is using 1% cottage cheese (1g fat for 1/2 cup) instead of part skim ricotta cheese (9g for 1/2 cup) or using a more flavorful cheese like goat cheese or feta instead of mozzarella so you can use less, but still have a lot of flavor.


Sometimes when I cut the fat out of a recipe the flavor can be altered a bit, so I like to add crushed red pepper and a large mix of Italian seasonings.  Another factor to keep in mind is that the texture when cooking with less fat can change the final product, so add some new consistencies to the dish.  Try mushroom, roasted tomatoes or spinach, which will also add more nutrients.

Have fun experimenting!

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