Transform your leftovers into a delightful meal: Thanksgiving lasagna or leftover turkey lasagna with a light cream cheese and cottage cheese sauce.
Make the most of your Thanksgiving leftovers with a delicious leftover turkey lasagna! A comforting meal to use up your extra turkey, perfect for a cozy family dinner.
With so many turkey roasts lately (have a look at this delicious Boneless Skinless Turkey Breast or these Turkey Drumsticks), I found myself with many turkey leftovers in the fridge. But nobody’s ever complaining about that.
You can make countless meals using your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, and this turkey lasagna is one of our favorites. Check out more such recipes: Turkey Fricassee, Turkey Risotto, Turkey Pasta Casserole, or Turkey Lentil Soup. Or check out our list of Leftover Turkey Recipes.
Recipe ingredients and substitutions
- Turkey: I always make this Thanksgiving lasagna with leftover turkey, either white meat or dark meat, whatever I have in the refrigerator.
- However, if you don’t have any leftovers but would still like to cook this recipe, you can use fresh meat. Dice it, season it and cook it in a bit of olive oil before you start with the rest. Remove the cooked meat from the pan and use the same pan to proceed with the recipe.
- Dairy: You will need cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and milk. All these products can be full-fat or low-fat; it’s up to you. I’ve often cooked this turkey lasagna using low-fat products, and I can assure you that it is delicious.
- Cheese: Gouda or Cheddar and Parmesan (See Expert Tips).
- Vegetables: Onion, garlic, carrots, and bell pepper.
- Sauce: You can use your favorite pizza, marinara, or tomato sauce.
- If you don’t have any store-bought sauce, mix 1 lb/ 450 g sieved tomatoes/ passata with some dried herbs like oregano, thyme, basil (or Italian seasoning), a pinch of sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Or make our simple Marinara Sauce.
- Lasagna sheets: I always use no-boil, oven-ready lasagna sheets.
- Other ingredients: Olive oil, oregano, cayenne pepper, fine sea salt, and ground black pepper.
How to make Thanksgiving leftover lasagna with turkey?
- Prepare ingredients: Chop the cooked turkey, slice the onion, chop the garlic, and dice carrots and bell pepper.
- Cook vegetables: Sauté onion until translucent (1); add garlic, carrots, and peppers and cook, stirring often. Add water and the spices and cook until slightly softer (2).
- Add tomato sauce and meat and reheat the sauce (3).
- Stir in the cottage cheese (4).
- Whisk cream cheese, milk, and sour cream in a bowl and set aside (5).
Assemble the leftover turkey lasagna:
First layer: A few tablespoons of the tomato-turkey sauce (6) + 3 lasagna sheets (7) + ⅓ of the cheese sauce (8) + a sprinkle of the grated Gouda or Cheddar (8) + ⅓ of the tomato sauce (9).
- Second layer: 3 lasagna sheets + ⅓ of the cheese sauce + a sprinkle of cheese + ⅓ tomato sauce.
- Third layer: 3 lasagna sheets + remaining cheese sauce + remaining tomato sauce + remaining grated cheese + Parmesan (10).
- Bake the leftover turkey lasagna for 35-40 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through (11).
- Rest the leftover turkey lasagna for about 10 minutes before serving.
- The low-fat version of the leftover turkey lasagna: Using low-fat products works really well in this turkey lasagna recipe. Use low-fat cottage cheese (0,2% fat), low-fat cream cheese (4% fat), low-fat milk (1.8% fat), and low-fat cheese.
- Cheese: Use freshly grated Gouda or Cheddar and freshly grated Parmesan. Pre-grated cheese contains additives that will prevent it from melting nicely.
- Sprinkle some of the grated Gouda after each layer of cream cheese sauce; the dish will be cheesier and tastier than if you added just a thick layer of cheese on top.
You can substitute turkey with cooked chicken or beef.
Absolutely! Feel free to add vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, or zucchini.
I’ve never tested that, but theoretically, you can use traditional lasagna sheets that require boiling before assembly. Follow the package instructions for cooking them.
Yes, you can assemble the lasagna ahead of time and refrigerate it until you're ready to bake.
How to store and reheat?
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for about 3 days.
- Freeze leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Defrost in the fridge.
- Reheat in the oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C, cover the lasagna with aluminum foil, and bake for about 20-30 minutes until it's heated through.
- Reheat in the microwave: Place a portion on a microwave-safe plate, cover it with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap, and heat on medium power for 2-3 minutes. Check for doneness and continue in 1-minute increments if needed until it's hot throughout. Be cautious not to overcook to prevent it from becoming too dry.
What to serve with turkey lasagna?
- Green salad: A simple green salad with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette or yogurt dressing.
- Garlic bread or warm garlic baguette bread is great.
- Roasted vegetables like asparagus, zucchini, or Brussels sprouts.
- Steamed vegetables with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
- Antipasto platter: A selection of cured meats, olives, marinated vegetables, and cheeses can turn your meal into a Mediterranean-inspired feast.
More lasagna recipes
Leftover Turkey Lasagna (Thanksgiving Lasagna)
- Rectangular casserole dish (about 12x8 inches/ 30x20 cm)
- Large saucepan
- 3 cups leftover turkey 375 g/ 13 oz, Note 1
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 carrots medium to large
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅓ cup water 75 ml
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 lb pizza or tomato sauce 450 g, Note 2
- 1 cup cottage cheese 225 g/ 8 oz, Note 3
- ⅔ cup cream cheese 150 g/ 5.5 oz
- ⅔ cup sour cream 150 g/ 5.5 oz
- ½ cup milk 125 ml
- 9 lasagna sheets no boil, oven ready Note 4
- ⅔ cup Cheddar or Gouda, 150 g/ 5.5 oz
- ¼ cup Parmesan freshly grated, 30 g/ 1 oz
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/ 200°C.
- Chop the cooked turkey into very small pieces (Note 1). Slice the onion into thin half rings. Chop the garlic finely. Dice carrots and pepper.3 cups/ 375 g + 1 onion + 2 garlic cloves + 2 carrots + 1 large red bell pepper
- Cook vegetables: Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion rings until translucent (about 2 minutes). Add garlic, carrots, and peppers and cook, stirring often, for about 4 minutes. Add water, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to taste. Cover, leaving a crack open, and cook the vegetables for about 10 minutes or until slightly softer.1 tablespoon olive oil + ⅓ cup water + 1 teaspoon oregano + pinch of cayenne pepper + ½ teaspoon fine sea salt + ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Add the sauce and the chopped turkey and stir for 2-3 minutes until they are hot. Stir in the cottage cheese.1 lb pizza or tomato sauce / 450 g
- Whisk cream cheese, milk, and sour cream in a bowl.1 cup cottage cheese / 200 g + ⅔ cup cream cheese / 150 g + ⅔ cup sour cream / 150 g + ½ cup milk / 125 ml
Assemble turkey lasagna:
- First layer: Place a few tablespoons of the tomato-vegetable-turkey sauce into the casserole dish. Arrange 3 lasagna sheets on top, cover with ⅓ of the cheese sauce, a sprinkle of the grated Gouda or Cheddar, and ⅓ of the tomato sauce.only 3 of 9 lasagna sheets + a sprinkle from a total of ⅔ cup Cheddar
- Second layer: Add the following 3 lasagna sheets, ⅓ of the cheese sauce, a sprinkle of cheese, and⅓ tomato sauce.only 3 of 9 lasagna sheets + a sprinkle from a total of ⅔ cup Cheddar
- Third layer: Place the last 3 lasagna sheets on top and finish with the remaining cheese sauce, followed by the remaining tomato sauce. Spread the remaining grated cheese and the Parmesan on top.only 3 of 9 lasagna sheets + ¼ cup Parmesan
- Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the noodles are cooked through.
- Rest the lasagna for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Turkey: I always prepare this Thanksgiving lasagna with leftover turkey. Alternatively, you can make it with fresh turkey, which requires a brief cooking step before incorporating it into the tomato sauce.
- Sauce: Pizza, marinara, and tomato sauce are all fine. If you don’t have any ready-made sauce, mix 1 lb/ 450 g sieved tomatoes/ passata with some dried herbs like oregano, thyme, basil (or Italian seasoning), a pinch of sugar, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Lasagna: I always use no-boil lasagna.
- Low-fat version: Use low-fat cottage cheese (0,2% fat), low-fat cream cheese (4% fat), low-fat milk (1.8% fat), and low-fat cheese.
- The nutrition is calculated considering the full-fat version of these products.