Exotic Lasagna

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I don’t know why I do it but I always do; asking my son or husband what they want for dinner yields the same answer every time. “Make something good.” Nonetheless, the idea for this recipe came about when I asked my son what he wanted for dinner – ha. He really didn’t say much. “Make something interesting,” he said. Something interesting for me is using ingredients that I may not typically use everyday – lamb was a delicacy that my Mom used to cook for special occasions and my son loves Italian Style dishes – especially if it is fully loaded with cheeses. Since I had not made lasagna for quite a while, I settled on using the lamb coupled with my son’s love for Italian Style dishes and hence this recipe was born.

This is absolutely not a classic lasagna. Exotic Lasagna was named for its use of lamb, goat cheese , black olives and mint. These “exotic” flavors were fused with the delicate turkey meat and some of the ingredients that goes into classic lasagna. My choice of sauce is marinara. These flavors were perfect together. I felt the smell of the rich sauce permeating through the house – I could hardly wait to taste it. Of course, I cheated and ate half of a bowl before anyone got home. This recipe I’m sure will make it on the menu when we have family or friends over.

The individual serving bowls was appreciated – depending on how ravenous your eaters are, you may or may not have leftovers and leftovers taste even better. The great thing about this recipe you can make it in one big pan. Either way, it will be a hit. Enjoy.

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Exotic Lasagna

A simple and easy Lamb and Turkey Ground Meat Lasagna – ready in under one-hour.

Course Dinner, Lunch
Keyword Best Lamb and Turkey Lasagna, Lamb Lasagna, Lasagna
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Yasmin Rasheed

Ingredients

FOR THE LAMB AND TURKEY MEAT SAUCE:

  • 1 pound grass-fed ground lamb
  • 1 pound organic ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium to large red onion peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves chopped
  • 1 can large black olives (15 ounces) chopped
  • 32 ounces marinara sauce (like Rao)

FOR THE LASAGNA:

  • (4 individual one-quart oven proof bowls for baking the lasagna)
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 ounces goat cheese crumbled
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 6 sheets of oven-ready lasagna noodles carefully break each noodle in half)
  • 1-1/2 pounds of fresh mozzarella cheese sliced
  • 1 tablespoon or more extra virgin olive oil for drizzling on the assembled lasagna

Instructions

FOR THE LAMB AND TURKEY MEAT SAUCE:

  1. In a five-quart Dutch Oven pot, heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.

  2. Add the onions and sauté 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and black pepper – sauté 1 minute.  Increase the heat to high. Add the ground lamb and turkey – mix to coat with the onion mixture – breaking up the meat as you go. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes – mixing a few times and continue to break up any lumps that develop.  Add the mint, olives and marinara sauce.  Stir to combine and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat.

    Note: Don’t brown the meats – after 6 to 7 seven minutes of cooking the meat, you may have some slightly pink color – it’s okay to add the sauce at this time – the meat will cook through by the time the sauce comes to a boil. The meat will also continue to cook in the oven.

FOR THE LASAGNA:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

    Note: I usually start the preheating of the oven when I start to make the sauce since my oven takes a while to preheat.

  2. Place the 4 oven proof bowls on a half sheet pan.

    Note: Alternatively you can use one larger lasagna baking pan/dish. The layering process will still be the same.

  3. In a medium bowl, add the ricotta cheese, crumbled goat cheese, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 cup parsley, 1 tablespoon oregano and one egg. Use a spoon or spatula to combine thoroughly.

ASSEMBLE THE LASAGNA:

  1. Coat the bottom of each bowl with about 1/4 cup of the meat sauce.

    Add 1 of the half-sheet oven-ready lasagna noodle to each of the bowl.

    Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the lasagna noodle. (You can portion out the ricotta mixture into 8 portions – 2 portions per bowl). Add 1/3 cup of the meat sauce over the cheese – use enough meat sauce to cover the cheese and noodle.  Add 2 slices of the mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce.

    Repeat the process with a second layer – start with the noodle, ricotta, sauce, mozzarella.

    Finish the last layer with noodle, sauce, mozzarella (Shred the cheese with your hand and sprinkle onto of the sauce, Add 1/4 of the parmesan cheese to each bowl. Drizzle with olive oil.

    Note: Visit my Facebook or Instagram pages for a very quick video of the layering process.

  2. Carefully place the sheet pan with the bowls in the oven.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the sauce is nice and bubbly and the cheeses melt and look slightly brown. Carefully remove the pan form the oven – allow to cool slightly.

    Note: If using one large baking pan, bake 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool slightly 15-20 minutes as this will help you to cut the lasagna better.

Recipe Notes

This sauce can be made a day in advance.  You can also use this sauce with any type of pasta – like coupling it with rigatoni pasta.

Depending on how much your hungry family and friends eat – the four individual bowls will serve 4 to 8. I personally usually eat half for dinner and the other half for lunch or dinner the following day and my spouse eats one bowl per sitting.

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