Last week, I decided to surprise my boyfriend with dinner like a good girlfriend I am. Like I said previously, my man can LIVE off of pasta if he had the option to do that. Majority of the time, if we don’t know where to go for dinner for our date night, we end up choosing an Italian restaurant just so he can have his pasta fix. I know when we get married, if all else fails, if I feed him pasta, he won’t complain about it.
Rather than making just pasta, I decided to make lasagna rolls for him. The beauty of lasagna rolls is that it’s so easy to portion each one out compared to regular lasagna. For this recipe, I decided to use turkey sausage and turkey pepperoni since the boyfriend does not eat beef and pork. Plus, I prefer the taste of turkey sausage and turkey pepperoni than the pork one since it’s not as greasy. Obviously, you can use pork for this recipe but just remember to drain out the excess fat once the sausage is cooked through.
For the most part, I like to make my own marinara sauce but you can go ahead and use jarred if that’s what you prefer. I’ll provide the marinara recipe below for those who want it. I did, however, make a slight variation to this dish in that I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese. My Italian friends and their grandmothers are going to throw a fit over this but I actually prefer the cottage cheese over the ricotta. It made the lasagne rolls taste lighter plus it reduced the calories and fat compared to ricotta cheese. Trust me, your guest won’t even notice the difference, unless you bring it up to them. I didn’t tell my own boyfriend until he told me how delicious it tasted it. SCORE!
Excuse the picture because I took this picture the day before I threw the lasagna rolls in the oven so the cheese isn’t melted. Oh yes, it tasted DELICIOUS, in case you were wondering. In the words of Rachael Ray, it was “YUM-O!”.
Ps. I advice you to buy at least 2 bags of turkey pepperoni-majority of them ended up in my mouth more than the lasagna rolls themselves. They’re highly addicting.
- 4 hot italian turkey sausages, casings removed
- 1 16oz tub low fat cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese)
- 9-10 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained (put them on a greased tin foil to keep them from breaking and sticking. Plus it’s an easy clean up)
- 1 egg
- 1 bag of turkey pepperoni. You may or may not use the whole bag. It depends on how much of it you end up eating on your own..like me. woops 😡
- 2.5 cups marinara sauce, jarred or homemade *see recipe below for homemade
- 1 cup low moisture, reduced fat mozzarella cheese
- dried parsley or oregano, for garnish
- Cayenne pepper, optional, for garnish
- In a pan, heated over medium heat, add the turkey sausage and cook until it’s done and no longer pink.
- In a blender, add the cottage cheese and pulse 2-3 times. This step is optional but it gives it to that ricotta cheese texture.
- In a bowl, add the cottage cheese, egg, and sausage. I didn’t add any salt to it because the sausage itself was salty enough but feel free to add salt if you wish.
- In a baking dish, spread about 1/2 cup of marinara sauce evenly to prevent the rolls from burning from the bottom.
- Take a lasagna noodle and spread about 1 tbsp of the cheese mixture evenly over it.
- Add about 3-4 slices of turkey pepperoni on top of the cheese mixture.
- Gently, roll the lasagna roll and place it seam side down onto the baking tray. Repeat the process until all lasagna noodles are rolled
- Top off the rolls with the remainder of the sauce and then generously sprinkle the cheese over.
- Garnish with the parsley, cayenne and additional turkey pepperoni
- Bake covered with a tin foil in a preheated 450F for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for about 10 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and slightly turns brown.
- Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Ingredients for Marinara Sauce
- 1 32oz can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium white onion, minced
- 1 tsp of granulated sugar, optional (use if tomatoes are too tart)
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
- salt and pepper, to taste
- crushed pepper flakes, to taste, optional
- 1.5 tsp olive oil
- In a pot add olive oil, garlic and onions and mix
- Turn on the heat to medium and cook until onions turn translucent. What this does is help the olive oil get infused with the onion and garlic flavor, thus giving more flavor to the tomatoes
- Add the chili flakes and paste and cook for about 30 seconds
- Add the crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes to heat it through
- Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. At this point, go ahead and add the sugar if the tomatoes are too tart. Let it cook for about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the basil, mix, and cook for about 1 minute.
- Reduce the heat to very low, cover and let it cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- After 1 hour, turn off heat and let it cool down before storing it in the fridge.