Lasagna Rollups with Italian Turkey Sausage and Veggie Ragu

I was inspired by the Pioneer Woman for this recipe while watching her freezer meal episode and thought, what a clever idea, especially with how busy it is during the holidays. This recipe is so much fun and so practical at the same time because you’ll be able to enjoy, while also storing extra for later at the same time! I don’t have kids, but I think they would have a ball rolling these up with you! I added Italian turkey sausage for some extra substance and flavor, but you can also definitely keep it vegetarian.

-Mel

Health tips: Low fat, heart healthy, kid friendly

Ingredients/Supplies (12-18 servings)

  • 1 lb. lasagna noodles (18 noodles total); Whole wheat is even better!
  • Nonstick cooking spray, for spraying baking sheet
  • Six 8″ x 4″ aluminum foil loaf pans (It’s about 1-2 servings per loaf pan. If you prefer to cook it all at the same time for a large group, you’ll just need a large baking/casserole dish)

Sauce (Tip: This recipe is jam-packed with veggies, so I recommend chopping ahead of time to split out the prep time.)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 – 1.25 lbs. Italian turkey sausage (1 package, about 4-5 links, depending on how much meat you like)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper (Can be green, red, etc…whatever is on sale!), diced
  • 24 ounces white mushrooms, chopped (3 packs)
  • 2 small yellow squash or 1 medium, diced
  • 2 small zucchini or 1 medium, diced
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  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (I like mixing the fire-roasted 14 oz. can with the Italian-flavored 14 oz. can)
  • 6 oz. tomato paste, about 1/4 cup (The tiny can)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, extra julienned for garnish (Cut in elegant strips)

Ricotta Stuffing

  • 32 oz. low-fat or part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling over top
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella, plus extra 1 cup for sprinkling over top (Buy the 2-cup package)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

Steps

  1. Noodles: Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Drain the noodles and transfer them to the prepared sheet.
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  3. Sauce:  Heat a bit of oil in a LARGE skillet over medium heat. (There are a lot of ingredients, so you’ll want a skillet that can hold it all. It’ll look overwhelming at first but they will all shrink and cook down). Squeeze the sausage out of the casings, and cook and brown. Set sausage aside. Add the rest of the oil, and cook onions for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic, and cook until they both start to soften. Add the red peppers and saute for another minute or so. Add the mushrooms, yellow squash and zucchini and cook for a few minutes. Pour in the wine, add the red pepper flakes and season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning, to taste. Stir. Pour in the tomatoes, using your hands to squeeze and crush the tomatoes, and add the tomato paste. Stir to combine, bring to a simmer and let simmer for 20 minutes or so. Stir back in the sausage, and add parsley and basil.
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  7. Ricotta stuffing: In a bowl, combine the ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic power and Italian seasoning.
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  9. Assembly: Grab a foil loaf pan and spoon in about 1/4-1/2 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay out 3 noodles and spoon about 1/4 cup (or 3-4 tablespoons) of the ricotta mix on each and spread evenly. Roll each noodle tightly and place the rolled noodles in the loaf pan on top of the sauce. Top with more sauce and sprinkle with shredded Mozzarella and Parmesan. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Cook immediately, or cover with foil and freeze.
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  14. Cooking: To cook immediately, bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F until bubbly, about 25 minutes. Garish with julienned fresh basil and serve. To cook frozen, remove the loaf pans from the freezer, and bake, covered, at 350 degrees F for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes (Depending on if you have time to leave out and thaw for a bit). Uncover and bake until the cheese is nice and bubbly, an additional 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!
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