As much as I love my fresh tomatoes in the summer, I also love butternut squash in the fall. What’s not to love about this squash? It has little pulp and lots of meat, unlike other varietals. The slightly sweet, nutty flavor is delicious. And, it’s extremely versatile — you can bake it, roast it, saute it, puree it — the possibilities seem endless.
I’ve been seeing lots of recipes for butternut squash lasagna popping up on the web, but all of them utilize pureed squash in the filling between layers of pasta. So I thought, why couldn’t you use strips of the squash instead of the noodles? And that’s exactly what I set out to do.
I created a filling with traditional lasagna flavors of ground meat, mushrooms, spinach and creamy cheeses. Of course, I had to change it up a bit, first to lean it down and secondly to better marry the flavors with the butternut squash. To lean the filling down, I used an extra lean ground turkey breast and a skim ricotta. To shake the flavor up a bit, I added gorgonzola cheese, whose sharp, semi-sweet flavor pairs perfectly with this squash. I also used sage instead of the traditional Italian herbs because sage complements the gorgonzola and squash so well.
For a finishing touch, I topped the squash first with what I call my secret ingredient in this dish: nutmeg. That’s right, it’s not just for pumpkin pie. A bit of ground nutmeg enhances the nutty flavor of the squash and, in my opinion, is absolutely essential to this dish.
I then add salty, nutty parmesan cheese, a bit more of that earthy sage, and a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts across the top. The result is a unique take on lasagna that is both lean and delicious.
Do you like butternut squash? What is your favorite fall vegetable?
- Serves: 6
- Serving size: 1 wedge
- Calories: 365.8
- Fat: 14.0
- Saturated fat: 6.0
- Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7
- Carbohydrates: 29.1
- Sugar: 4.0
- Sodium: 367.8
- Fiber: 7.5
- Protein: 32.5
- Cholesterol: 106.3
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground turkey breast (white ground turkey)
- 1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
- 3 oz. fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1¾ cup light ricotta cheese
- 2 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- 1 oz. shredded, part skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- pinch of salt
- 4 lb whole Butternut Squash
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp chopped hazelnuts
- Heat 1 tsp of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the ground turkey breast and cook until lightly browned and crumbly.
- Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook for about 5 minutes more, or until the mushrooms are tender and have released their water.
- Gently stir in the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until the spinach has just wilted. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit.
- Preheat the oven to 375. Brush the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil over the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan.
- Mix together the ricotta, gorgonzola and mozzarella cheeses in a medium mixing bowl. Add the egg, 1 tbsp of the sage, and a pinch of salt and continue mixing. Combine in the cooled turkey-mushroom-spinach mixture and set aside.
- Peel the butternut squash by trimming the top and bottom off of the squash then running your knife down the side of the squash to cut off the peel. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and pulp. Use either a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer to cut the squash into strips lengthwise about ⅛-1/4" thick.
- Lay strips of the butternut squash in a single layer across the bottom of the oiled baking dish. Use smaller pieces of the squash to fill in any holes created from the shape of the squash.
- Spread half of the meat-cheese mixture across the squash. Lay another layer of squash slices over the top of the meat-cheese mixture, again in a single layer and using smaller pieces of the squash to fill in any holes. Spread the remaining meat-cheese mixture over the squash then arrange another layer of the butternut squash slices on top of the meat-cheese mixture, again in a single layer and using any smaller pieces to fill in the holes.
- Sprinkle the nutmeg acoss the top layer of the squash. Then top with the shredded parmesan cheese, remaining 1 tbsp of sage, and hazelnuts over the top of the lasagna.
- Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes more or until the cheese is lightly browned on top. Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing into 6 equal wedges and serving.