VCU Massey Cancer Center


Recipe corner: go further with food

Turkey & Black Bean Taco Lasagna

“Go Further with Food,” during National Nutrition Month this March. Fuel your body daily with a variety of lean proteins, low fat dairy, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Save time by preparing one recipe with several meals in mind, such as pasta or casseroles. 

Have you ever thrown away spoiled food because you forgot it was in the refrigerator? Help your food go further, and cut back on food waste by paying attention to what’s in your fridge. Plan to use leftover foods or ingredients in other recipes.

The tasty Turkey & Black Bean Taco Lasagna recipe serves eight, and is delicious the next day, or as leftovers frozen for future meals.The Where’s the Lettuce? Salad recipe makes use of leftover veggies for an easy salad any time.

Turkey & Black Bean Taco Lasagna

Your whole family will enjoy this delicious Mexican casserole. If you’re cooking for one or two, freeze leftovers in individual portions.  You can easily adjust the heat of the recipe with your choice of salsa. Pair with a tossed veggie salad to make a complete meal, like the Where’s the Lettuce? Salad recipe.

Makes 8 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey breast
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) jar salsa (mild, medium or hot)
  • 1 can (15½ ounces) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 5 (8 inch) flour tortillas, cut in half
  • 1 (16 ounces) container 2 % milkfat cottage cheese
  • 1½ cups shredded 2% milkfat sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the ground turkey breast, green onions, cumin, and chili powder to the skillet. Break the turkey into chunks and cook, stirring frequently until the meat is no longer pink.

Add the salsa, black beans, corn, and optional cilantro to the skillet and stir to combine.

To assemble the lasagna, spread one third (about 2 cups) of the turkey mixture in the prepared dish. Layer half the tortillas over the meat, allowing them to overlap. Spoon half of the cottage cheese and ½ cup of the shredded cheddar cheese over the tortillas. Spread evenly.

Place 2 more cups of turkey mixture over the cottage cheese. Layer with the remaining tortillas and cottage cheese, and ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese. End with the turkey mixture.

Top with the remaining cheddar cheese and bake, uncovered, until the cheese melts and the lasagna is heated through, about 25 minutes.

Approximate nutrients per serving: 360 calories, 26 grams protein, 8 grams fat, 37 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fiber, 670 milligrams sodium, 200 milligrams calcium.

Inspired by a recipe by Liz Weiss, RD, 

Where’s the Lettuce? Salad

Where’s the Lettuce? Salad

Who says you need lettuce to make a salad?  Include any raw veggies you have on hand for a delicious side dish.  I used the beets and garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas) as listed in the ingredients. After looking through my refrigerator, I found these leftover veggies to complete the recipe-sweet onions, carrots, celery, plus red and green bell peppers. Keep everyone satisfied with this versatile recipe by letting them choose their own low fat dressing.

Makes 8 servings

  • 4 cups of any leftover raw vegetables in your refrigerator
    • (for example-seeded and chopped bell peppers, chopped celery, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, or sliced carrots)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed (optional)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) beets, drained (optional)
  • 1/3 cup low-fat dressing of your choice-Thousand Island, Ranch, Italian, Vinaigrettes, etc.

Place fresh chopped vegetables in a medium bowl.  Add garbanzo beans and stir to combine.  Gently stir in beets.  

Toss with dressing and serve, or offer on the side so everyone can add their own.

Approximate nutrients per about 1 cup serving, including the garbanzo beans, beets, and low-fat Thousand Island dressing: 99 calories, 4 grams protein, 2 grams fat, 17 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fibers, 308 milligrams sodium.

Used with permission from Zonya Foco, RD from her cookbook “Lickety-Split Meals for Health Conscious People on the Go!”


Recipes prepared by Mary-Jo Sawyer, R.D., registered dietitian in the Outpatient Nutrition Clinic at VCU Health.