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Kalyn's Kitchen

Turkey (or chicken) Lasagna with Sage and Three Cheeses

Turkey Lasagna with Sage and Three Cheeses is one of my favorite things to make with leftover turkey!

(Republished with updated photos and a lighter version of the recipe, November 2011.)  Five years ago I posted this fabulous lasagna recipe that I created using leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and the last of the sage from my garden.  This has been one of my favorite post-Thanksgiving dishes to make with leftover turkey, turkey gravy, and turkey stock all adding a lot of flavor.  But the original recipe made a huge dish of lasagna, and it was a pretty rich dish.  (My brother Mark jokingly asked if this was phase five for South Beach when I made it the first time.)  For Thanksgiving 2011 I thought I’d give this recipe a little makeover, and the new recipe makes a smaller dish of lasagna with less cheese for a lighter version that’s still quite delish.  (I’ll keep the printer-friendly link for the original version as well, in case anyone has enjoyed that version and has it bookmarked.)

I never would have thought of making this without Dreamfields Lasagna.  If you don’t know about Dreamfields Pasta, it’s much lower in digestible carbohydrates than regular pasta, making it lower on the glycemic index, and therefore more South Beach Diet friendly.  This recipe was my first experiment to see if the Dreamfields Lasagna could be used as a “no boil” lasagna noodle. If you haven’t tried making lasagna without pre-boiling the pasta, you’ll love this trick. You have to put more liquid in the sauce (since it’s cooking the noodles) and increase the cooking time a little, but making lasagna is much less labor intensive using this method. I’m happy to report that the “no boil method” was a complete success in this recipe.

If you’re ready to go back to lighter eating on the day after Thanksgiving and not in the mood for lasagna, there are a lot more ideas for leftover turkey in the Low-Glycemic Thanksgiving Recipes.  For me though, this is always a dish that’s worth making with leftover turkey because it freezes well.  I divide the pan of lasagna up into individual portions for the freezer and during the winter when I need a treat, I pull one out for a delicious dinner.

Start by cooking down 3 cups of homemade turkey stock until it’s reduced to 2 cups.  (You can also use chicken stock or even canned chicken broth, as long as you reduce it to intensify the flavor.)

Cut up enough leftover turkey to make 5-6 cups of diced turkey.  I like the turkey cut fairly small for this.

Whisk together the reduced turkey stock, low-fat sour cream, turkey gravy, chopped sage, garlic powder, and onion powder, and simmer over very low heat for about 5 minutes.  (You can use purchased turkey gravy or even canned chicken soup if you don’t have any leftover gravy.)

Then turn off the heat and stir in 1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan and the diced turkey.

Spray the casserole dish with olive oil or non-stick spray and put in the first layer of dried Dreamfields Lasagna noodles.  (If you use a 12″ x 9″ inch pan, three noodles fit perfectly.)

Then put half the sauce mixture over the noodles.  (It will look like far too much liquid, but be brave.  The noodles will absorb a lot of the liquid as they cook.)

Sprinkle on a layer of grated low-fat mozzarella and low-fat cheddar cheese.

Then make a second layer of noodles, sauce, and cheese.

It’s very important to cover the dish tightly with foil for the first hour of baking time, so the sauce can cook the noodles.

After one hour, remove the foil and cook the lasagna for 30-45 minutes longer, or until it’s nicely browned and the noodles are soft when  you stick a toothpick in.

Here’s how my lasagna looked after I cooked it for about 40 minutes more.  Let it sit for about 15 minutes before you try to cut it into portions, unless you don’t mind if it doesn’t keep its shape.

Of course there is still one problem with making lasagna, as David Lebovitz has so charmingly explained.

Turkey (or chicken) Lasagna with Sage and Three Cheeses
(About 8 servings, adapted from a recipe for chicken lasagna from Kalyn’s Aunt Ruth Ann.)

3 cups homemade turkey stock, simmered until reduced to 2 cups (or use chicken stock or canned chicken broth, which should also be reduced)
5-6 cups diced, cooked turkey (or chicken)
16 oz. container reduced-fat sour cream
1 1/2 cups turkey gravy (can use gravy from a jar or cream of chicken soup if you don’t have leftover gravy)
1 cup good quality coarsely-grated Parmesan cheese (I would use 3/4 cup if you only have finely-grated Parmesan)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
3 T finely chopped fresh sage, or more (or use about 1 T dried rubbed sage)
1 pkg. lasagna noodles (Use Dreamfields Lasagna for South Beach)
1 1/2 cups grated low-fat mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated low fat cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 375 F. Put 3 cups turkey stock in large pan and simmer until reduced to 2 cups. While stock reduces, dice leftover turkey and finely chop sage.

When the stock has reduced, let cool for a minute and then whisk in the gravy, sour cream, sage, garlic powder, and onion powder and simmer about 5 minutes without letting it come to a boil.  Turn off heat and stir in one cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese and the diced turkey.

Spray a 12″ x 9″ casserole dish with olive oil or non-stick spray, then make a single layer of dry lasagna noodles.  (For Dreamfields, this is three noodles.)  Spoon half the sauce over noodles. (It will look like a lot of liquid, but don’t worry.)  Sprinkle over half the mozzarella cheese and half the cheddar cheese.

Make another layer of dry lasagna noodles, then top with rest of sauce, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese.  Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake one hour.

After an hour, remove foil and bake 30-45 minutes more, or until noodles are soft when tested with a fork, lasagna is bubbling, and cheese is melted and slightly browned. Let sit 10-15 minutes, then serve.

South Beach Suggestions

Even when made with Dreamfields lasagna (which is made to be reheated, unlike other Dreamfields pastas) this recipe would probably be phase 3 for the South Beach Diet, or a small serving for a “once in a while treat” for phase 2.

More Ideas with Leftover Turkey:
Brown Rice Casserole with Leftover Turkey, Mushrooms, Sour Cream, Cheese, and Thyme from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Leftover Turkey and Sweet Potato Soup with Black Beans and Lime from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Turkey and Cannellini Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Rosemary from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Turkey Gumbo from Steamy Kitchen
Seven Soup with Leftover Turkey from Soup Chick
Leftover Turkey Pot Pie from Andrea Meyers
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44 comments on “Turkey (or chicken) Lasagna with Sage and Three Cheeses”

  1. I made this last night for dinner!  The sauce had too much garlic powder!  Next time I would use real garlic & onions instead of the powder!  !  However the bottom layer of lasagna noodles burned!  I used a glass baking dish – so I have to take the blame for that!  I would try this again with some adjustments!  It was fairly quick & easy to make!

    • Hmm, I wonder if different brands of garlic powder are more potent. It didn’t seem too garlicky to me, but real garlic and onions would definitely be good. I don’t know why using a glass dish would make the bottom burn? Did you have it tightly covered with foil? I’m glad you are willing to try again; I might lower the temperature to 350F if you suspect your oven cooks a little hot.

  2. Pingback: Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes - Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps

  3. Mmm. We are out of leftover turkey by now, but I'm def. pinning this for future use! This would be a great meal for many of the women I know who are having babies soon. Thanks!

  4. Catfish, you are going to love having an extra freezer. I have one in my kitchen and can't imagine not having it. This is a great dish for the freezer!

  5. I am going to have to make this. My wife and I just got a full sized freezer for our garage, and it's halfway full of her beef enchiladas, this seems like the perfect counterpoint.

  6. Okay, I wrote a comment reply to Karina and Kayleigh which now seems to have disappeared! Hope you both have a great Thanksgiving.

  7. Thanks Zesty. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving celebration too.

  8. Ooooh, now THIS is a unique turkey leftovers recipe! Sage is one of my favorites to go with any poultry. Can't wait to make this one, Kalyn. Hope you and your family have a great holiday!

  9. Wow, that looks delicious! You're making me hungry!
    I'll probably try to make this soon!



  10. I love turkey lasagna. It's the perfect twist, after a traditional turkey dinner with mashed potatoes. Happy Thanksgiving, Kalyn! xox

  11. Sandy, thanks. This lighter version is definitely something you can eat more often.

    Winnie, I love the creative challenge of turning leftovers into something wonderful! Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

  12. I love that you made this over, Kalyn! I am all about fun ways to use the leftovers, and this looks delicious. Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  13. This recipe is looking beautiful. I know it's also healthy.

  14. Thanks Donna, and Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  15. Sometimes I feel like the best part of turkey is using it for fabulous recipes – like this one! Have a most wonderful holiday! -Donna

  16. Yes, this will definitely freeze well. Hope you enjoy it!

  17. This is such a creative way to use leftovers! I am guessing that we'll have a ton of leftover turkey this year so I will be making this lasagna for sure! I wonder if it freezes well…

  18. Lydia, it definitely makes it a lot more convenient to make lasagna, doesn't it!

  19. I used to buy the lasagne noodles that are marked "no boil", thinking those were somehow special. But now I use the Dreamfields, also, and never pre-boil it anymore. It's amazing how much time it cuts out, and it works brilliantly.

  20. Hope you guys enjoy it!

  21. What a great leftover turkey recipe! I am going to try this for sure this weekend! I just love leftover turkey!

  22. I think using eggplant for the noodles in this is a brilliant idea; thanks for sharing!

  23. To make lasagna Phase One friendly I substite the noodles with thin slices of grilled eggplant. My fiance loves it and doesn't even miss the noodles.

  24. Indigoskye, thanks for the nice feedback. I’m so glad it worked out for you.

  25. I had a huge ziplock of leftover turkey in the freezer that I had zero idea what to do with…when I happened upon this recipe.

    It was so delicious that my husband suggested we go out and buy a turkey this spring, just so that we’d have enough meat to make the lasagna again!!!

    Thanks for the recipe, Kalyn. I think this is going to become a new home favorite. 🙂

  26. Forgot to mention – I freeze sage every year. Just lay the whole leaves on a baking sheet, freeze for a bit – 15 minutes is enough. Then, quickly, stack them up and put into freezer bags. They will almost thaw when you touch them, but they’re fine. They have to be used in cooked dishes but the taste is like fresh.

  27. I would not have thought to use the turkey gravy in lasagne – and no tomato sauce…this looks wonderful.
    I love anything with lots of sage!

  28. This has got to be the best left over turkey & gravy recipe I’ve ever seen. I’m drooling! And I gotta tell ya.. after a day’s worth of leftovers, I don’t want to see turkey again – but now I’m thinking twice about that. 😀

  29. Kalyn, that lasagna looks amazing! I’ve frozen sage leaves whole before successfully. I like to put them in my pasta sauce- they crumble into tiny bits easily while frozen, and still add that fresh sage flavor.

  30. Oh, wow! So much good stuff to eat! If I hadn’t used all my turkey for my turkey chili, I’d have used the leftovers for turkey lasagna! Yum! I love your recipe and will have to go my some more turkey or chicken to make this delicious lasagna. 😉


  31. Oops, I meant to say Mona, not Monda. (Maybe I created a new person by combining Mona and David!) sorry.

  32. Ashley, thanks.

    Monda, it was sooo good. Kind of a splurge for my diet, but worth it. Don’t you need a good reason to cook another turkey anyway?

    David, glad to take those noodles off your hands, but then the next time either of us makes lasagna, we’ll be right back where we started! (This is what my mother used to call “a good problem to have!”)

  33. how ’bout I send you my half box of lasagna noodles? Problem solved! (At least on this end…)

  34. Kalyn, I can’t believe how incredible that looks! Oh my goodness!!! I wish I had more turkey at home with me. My parents gave me all this ham and turkey in plastic bags from home but I don’t think it’s enough to make a whole lasagna. I’m tempted to go out and buy another one just to cook this! OH MY!!! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving:) If there was an award for best leftover recipe this would win!

  35. Love your blog , you are doing a great job. Swing by mine, check things out and leave a comment or sign my guestbook. Have a great day

  36. Genie, phase five is no laughing matter. I have to make a real effort to avoid it.

    Sara, I agree, I’ve seen some great turkey recipes. (Must remember del.icio.us more often!)

    Christine, have a fun trip. As for the Dreamfields, I don’t know about the other varieties, but the lasagna noodles are cheaper at Amazon.com than they are at my store! (Note to self, send Christine an e-mail about this.)

    dapfd, I agree, food photography is almost as much fun as eating.

  37. I’m makin’ that for Friday night. Thanks. Food photography is so much fun!

  38. This looks wonderful. If we had any turkey leftovers I’d make lasagna right now! I can only find Dreamfield’s Penne pasta in our stores. Nary a lasagna noodle anywhere!
    Wish I could do WHB this week but I’m going to be out of town until Monday. I’ll catch up with you later. Have a fun one!

  39. Wow…that sauce looks amazing. There’s some really great leftover turkey recipes on the internet this week!

  40. Kalyn, this looks simply outstanding. And the Stage 5 business cracked me up. Thanks for posting this — you know how I feel about sage, after all!

    The Inadvertent Gardener

  41. Yeah for sage! I adore fried sage, but I’m still working on the perfect way to make it.

  42. I’ve come to enjoy and love sage late in life but I’m on it now.
    Certainly enjoy turkey lasagna!

  43. Sage has to be my fav. herb 🙂

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