Fall is my favorite season. The leaves change, the weather starts to cool, you catch the first whiff of fireplace and warming Fall foods fill the kitchen. Since I moved to Miami, I’ve had to give up most of the above, but I get to keep my favorite Fall foods. I just love the sweet/salty/spicy flavors of cranberries, dried apricots, chestnuts, turkey, sage and pumpkin. So, I combined all of these favorite Autumnal ingredients into one delicious Autumn Turkey & Pumpkin Lasagna.
Instead of ground beef, sausage and marinara, this lasagna is full of ground turkey sauteed with dried cranberries, dried apricots, green onions, smoked paprika, sage and roasted chestnuts. Pumpkin and ricotta spiked with cardamom add a nice creamy layer in between the flavor-packed ground turkey. The lasagna is topped with the traditional mozzarella cheese and baked until brown and bubbly.
And it tastes just like Thanksgiving. Just like Autumn. If I close my eyes and jack the A/C way up, I can almost imagine the cool weather and changing leaves. But if I look outside, it’s still bright and balmy, palm trees and sandy beaches. I’ll just have to get my Fall fix from more lasagna.
Autumn Turkey & Pumpkin Lasagna
You can substitute pureed butternut squash, or any other Fall squash, for the pumpkin.
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. ground turkey
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
7 oz. roasted chestnuts, chopped (These are usually jarred and can be found at most supermarkets this time of year)
1.5 tbsp. smoked paprika (spicy if you’ve got it)
1 tbsp. coarse salt
2 tbsp. fresh sage leaves, sliced (about 15 leaves)
2 15 oz. cans pureed pumpkin (NOT Pumpkin Pie filling!!)
8 oz. ricotta cheese
1 tsp. ground cardamom
16 oz. (2 boxes) Whole Wheat lasagna, cooked
1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
5 sage leaves for garnish
Begin by browning the turkey over medium heat with the olive oil. Once it’s cooked through (about 10 minutes), add the cranberries, apricots, green onions and paprika. Continue to saute for another 10 minutes, then stir in the chestnuts and sage leaves. Remove from heat and set aside.
While the turkey is cooking, combine the pureed pumpkin with the ricotta cheese and cardamom. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375° and begin to assemble your lasagna. Start with a layer of lasagna noodles, then turkey, then noodles, then pumpkin. Rinse, repeat. When you’ve used up all of your turkey, pumpkin and noodles, top the lasagna with mozzarella cheese and place a few sage leaves on top.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and the lasagna is bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.
Makes 8 hefty portions.