My butternut squash lasagna is a cozy and comforting pasta recipe layered with a silky sauce, roasted butternut squash, roasted garlic, mascarpone and sage, filled with lean, seasoned ground turkey and spinach. This recipe is a rich and colorful twist on classic lasagna, bursting with the savory flavors of fall!
Butternut Squash Lasagna, the Perfect Autumn Lasagna
Rich, cheesy and delicious, lasagna can either be made with just a few very basic ingredients or can be “dressed up” a little, prepared to match whatever season one finds themselves in by using abundant, seasonal ingredients making for a colorful and unique expression of this beloved dish.
My butternut squash lasagna recipe is a delicious example of a vibrant, autumn lasagna, one filled with a silky sauce prepared with roasted and pureed butternut squash, roasted garlic, sage, and some creamy mascarpone cheese for delicate richness.
The layers are generously filled with deliciously seasoned and savory lean ground turkey, baby spinach and gooey melted mozzarella cheese, making this lasagna not only a scrumptious any-night-of-the-week meal, but also a terrific alternative to a more traditional Thanksgiving Day meal, brimming with all of the traditional flavors!
How to Make Butternut Squash Lasagna
Assembling this delicious butternut squash lasagna is exactly the same as assembling a traditional lasagna.
This recipe has layers of velvety sauce and a savory filling, only the sauce is not tomato-based, but rather a silky, pureed butternut squash sauce! This sauce does take a bit of time and a touch of extra TLC, but let me tell you, it is so worth it.
Here's a peek at my butternut squash lasagna recipe: or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To begin, heads of garlic and the cubed butternut squash are roasted together, then pureed until smooth and silky.
- Next, a touch of mascarpone cheese, half and half, and grated parmesan are added into the pureed sauce to round out and intensify the flavors.
- Lean ground turkey is sauteed separately with a touch of savory sage as well.
- Finally, the cooked lasagna noodles are layered with the sauce, the seasoned turkey, some baby spinach leaves, and a generous sprinkle of mozzarella cheese, then baked off to golden, gooey scrumptiousness.
Butternut Squash Lasagna
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 12
Nutrition Info: 484 calories
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
- Olive oil
- 1 1/4 lb. ground turkey
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped, fresh sage leaves
- 12 lasagna noodles, cooked
- 4 cups fresh, baby spinach leaves
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Butternut Squash Sauce Ingredients:
- 3 heads garlic, tops cut off
- Olive oil for drizzling
- 3 teaspoons salt, plus a pinch, divided use
- 4 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cubed (I used 4, 1lb. packages pre-cut squash)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups half and half
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- To prepare the sauce, preheat the oven to 400°, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- Drizzle a little olive oil over the 3 heads of garlic, and sprinkle a couple of pinches of salt over top, as well; wrap each head of garlic tightly in foil, and place the heads directly onto the rack in the oven to roast.
- Once the garlic heads have roasted for about 10 minutes, toss together the cubed butternut squash with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the black pepper, and turn the squash out onto the lined baking sheet; now place the wrapped garlic heads onto the baking sheet next to the squash to roast along side for about 30-35 minutes until the squash is very tender (total roasting time for the garlic will end up being about 40-45 minutes).
- Once the squash is tender, remove it from the oven along with the heads of garlic, and allow the squash and garlic heads to cool slightly so they can be handled; once slightly cooled, squeeze the cloves of garlic from the whole heads, and mash lightly with a fork (they should be very tender and sweet), and set aside.
- Next, add about 1/3 of the roasted squash into the bowl of a food processor (you will work in about 3 batches), and process with about 1/3 of the roasted garlic, until smooth and pureed; turn the processed squash/garlic into a large pot, and repeat the pureeing process with the remaining squash/garlic and turn that out into the pot once pureed, as well.
- Place the pot with the pureed squash/garlic onto low heat, and add in the warm chicken stock and the warm half and half, and carefully whisk or stir to completely incorporate.
- Add in the mascarpone cheese, the parmesan and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, and once again stir/whisk to combine, until the mascarpone and parmesan are blended in completely; remove the sauce from the heat and set aside until ready to use for the lasagna.
- Reduce the oven temp to 350°, and have a 12”x10”x2” (roughly) baking dish on hand.
- To prepare the turkey filling for the lasagna, place a large, non-stick saute pan over medium-high heat, and add about 2 tablespoons worth of olive to the pan; once the oil gets hot, add the ground turkey into the pan, and break up the meat with a spatula or spoon.
- Next, add in the Italian seasoning, the salt, pepper and the garlic, and stir to incorporate; cook the turkey for a few minutes until cooked through and no longer pink; remove from heat and stir in the fresh sage; set aside to slightly cool.
- To assemble the lasagna, begin by adding about 1 cup of the butternut squash sauce to the bottom of the baking dish; next, add 4 of the cooked lasagna noodles over the sauce, and then add another 2 cups of the sauce over top of the noodles.
- Next, add about half of the cooked, ground turkey, followed by 2 cups of the baby spinach leaves; sprinkle over about 1 cup worth of the mozzarella cheese, and repeat the layering process by once again adding 4 lasagna noodles, 2 cups of sauce, the remainder of the ground turkey and the remaining 2 cups of baby spinach leaves, plus another sprinkle of about 1 cup worth of the cheese.
- Finish the lasagna by adding the remaining lasagna noodles, and the remaining sauce over top; smooth out the sauce over the noodles, and finish the by sprinkling the remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese over the top; add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning over the cheese.
- Place the lasagna into the 350° oven to bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly golden.
Tips & Tidbits for my Butternut Squash Lasagna:
- Skip the peeling and dicing: Using pre-packaged butternut squash for this recipe is a great way to go for simplicity and ease—no need to peel or cut!
- Prep the sauce ahead: The butternut squash sauce can be prepared a day or two ahead of time, and kept in a covered container in the fridge until ready to use.
- If serving fewer: This recipe serves about 12, but you can easily make a smaller portion by cutting the recipe (ingredients) by half to serve roughly 6.
- Creative uses for leftover sauce: You can freeze any leftover sauce, or use it in other creative ways such as a base sauce for pizza, or as a unique dip for chicken strips, fries or breadsticks. You can even add a little additional chicken stock to it to create a slightly thinner consistency, and make a soup out of it!
- Talking turkey, or a tasty substitute: I used ground, dark meat turkey in this recipe for more fat and flavor, but white meat is fine too, just know it will be leaner. You could also substitute spicy or sweet Italian sausage.
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Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2012, and has been updated with even more love!