Food & Drink

Spinach & Turkey Lasagna from The Yellow Table

by Grace Bonney

Spinach and Turkey Lasagna Recipe from The Yellow Table Cookbook by Anna Watson Carl.
I’ve eaten some truly special meals since marrying Julia and it’s been a joy to accompany her to restaurants and food events where exciting ingredients and chefs are on display. But of all the events she’s taken me to, few have compared to the dinner we shared at the home of Anna Watson Carl.

Anna is the founder, author and cook behind the blog The Yellow Table. We’ve been lucky to share two of her recipes on Design*Sponge before, but the best bit of luck was being invited to a dinner at her home in downtown Manhattan to praise her new self-published cookbook, The Yellow Table: A Celebration of Everyday Gatherings. Anna arranged for a small gathering of friends to eat a meal from her book around the now famous yellow table (which belonged to her family and now lives with her in NYC). Every bite was incredible and to see and hear about the love that went into every recipe and the book (self-publishing is no small undertaking) made the evening a night I’ll never forget. We got our copy of Anna’s book last week and I was excited to finally flip through and get a chance to celebrate it here on Design*Sponge. I’ll be interviewing Anna about her self-publishing experience next week, but in the meantime, she’s sharing her Spinach & Turkey Lasagna recipe with us here today. It’s light but still warm and filling – perfect for winter. A huge congrats to Anna on her book, which you can now pick up right here! xo, grace

Photograph above by Signe Birck

Excerpted from The Yellow Table: A Celebration of Everyday Gatherings


Lasagna is the ultimate cozy winter dish, but it often feels quite heavy. I lightened it up a bit by swapping ground turkey for the beef, adding a bunch of spinach, and making a homemade veggie-packed sauce. If you prefer, divide this dish into two smaller pans and take one to a neighbor (or freeze it for later).

Serves 8 with leftovers. I serve with Arugula, Radicchio & Fennel Salad

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 pound lean ground turkey
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with juices
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
8 packed cups baby spinach
8 ounces fresh ricotta
8-10 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

In a heavy-bottomed, large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat, until it’s browned and no more pink remains, 6-7 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the turkey to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; do not clean the pot.

Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the pot and place over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes with your hand (or a wooden spoon) and add them, along with the juices, to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30-45 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and sugar then taste the sauce, and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in the turkey and ¼ cup of the basil. Remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add about 4 cups of the spinach and sauté, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper then use tongs to transfer the spinach to a colander to drain. Repeat the process with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the remaining 4 cups spinach. Let cool slightly.

Transfer the wilted spinach to a medium bowl, add the ricotta and the remaining ¼ cup basil and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the mozzarella and Parmesan and set aside.

Spread a thin layer of turkey-tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9×13-inch ceramic or glass casserole dish. Arrange 1 layer of lasagna noodles on top of the sauce (it’s OK if they overlap a bit). Spread half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles and sprinkle with 1 cup of the shredded cheese mixture. Spoon half of the sauce over the cheese. Repeat the layers — noodles, ricotta, cheese, and sauce — then top with the remaining cheese. (If you prefer to make 3 layers instead of 2, just create thinner layers and add an extra layer of noodles.) Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 15 minutes. If you want, broil the lasagna for 30 seconds to make the top a little bit crispy!

Leftover lasagna can be kept, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for 2 days, and in fact it tastes almost better the second day. Warm in a 350°F oven until heated through, about 30 minutes.

Wine Pairing Suggestion:

Julien Sunier, Morgon, 2013-$24.99 (Organic-France)
Julien Sunier is an up-and-coming young winemaker from Southern Burgundy, who makes fruit-driven, yet serious Gamay-based wines. This one has body and structure, but it is also fruity enough to play well with the lasagna.

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