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If you’re looking for a low-carb alternative to traditional lasagna, zucchini lasagna is the perfect solution. It replaces pasta sheets with thinly sliced zucchini, making it a healthier and lighter option that still satisfies your craving for a cheesy, saucy dish. Not to mention this vegetarian lasagna is easy to make, and it’s packed with flavorful ingredients – you’ll walk away feeling full and satisfied!
Table of Contents
- Why You’ll Love This Zucchini noodle Lasagna
- Ingredients to make zucchini lasagna
- How to make zucchini lasagna non-Watery Version
- Tips for making the best zucchini lasagna
- Popular substitutions & additions
- What to serve with zucchini lasagna
- How to Store & Reheat Zucchini Lasagna
- Frequently asked questions
- More lasagna recipes:
- Zucchini Lasagna Recipe
When I first tried making zucchini lasagna, I was a little worried that it would be too watery to enjoy. But with a simple trick of salting the zucchini slices and letting them sit to draw out excess moisture, the result was a perfectly textured, non-watery lasagna. The zucchini slices held up well, providing a tender yet firm base for the layers of cheesy goodness. And let’s not forget the flavor! The combination of savory marinara sauce, creamy ricotta, and melted mozzarella created amazing flavors that made me forget I was eating a low-carb dish. It’s a perfect option for those looking for a vegetarian meal.
Why You’ll Love This Zucchini noodle Lasagna
- Rich in Nutrients: Zucchini is a nutritious vegetable, high in vitamins C and A, potassium, and antioxidants.
- Easily Portionable: You can easily portion out servings for meal prep or enjoy leftovers the next day, as the flavors continue to meld and develop.
- Satisfying: Despite being lower in carbs, the creamy cheeses and rich marinara sauce make for a hearty and satisfying meal.
- Great for Entertaining: This dish can easily be scaled up and served at family gatherings or dinner parties, providing a healthier option that still tastes indulgent.
- Simple to Make: With a straightforward layering process and a few key ingredients, this zucchini lasagna is easy to prepare.
- Diet-Friendly: Whether you’re following a low-carb, gluten-free, or vegetarian diet, this zucchini lasagna fits the bill without sacrificing taste.
Ingredients to make zucchini lasagna
- Zucchini: You’ll want large zucchini to create the layers for your lasagna. Zucchini is not only a wonderful low-carb alternative to traditional pasta but is also rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
- Whole Milk Ricotta: This creamy cheese brings richness to your lasagna.
- Mozzarella: Grated mozzarella is used, bringing that gooey, cheesy texture that is a must in any lasagna dish.
- Parmesan Cheese: Optional, but adding some grated parmesan cheese can enhance the flavor with its nutty and salty taste. It pairs wonderfully with the other cheeses in this recipe. Because of the rennet in parmesan cheese, some vegetarians may prefer to keep this out and that’s totally fine. If you don’t mind it, I think it adds great flavor to the lasagna.
- Parsley: Chopped parsley adds a fresh and slightly peppery taste to the dish, balancing the richness of the cheeses.
- Basil: Chiffonade of basil leaves brings an aromatic and sweet herbaceous flavor, enhancing the Italian essence of the lasagna.
- Egg: Just one egg is needed to help bind the ingredients together and give the filling a light and fluffy texture.
- Garlic: A grated garlic clove adds a nice hint of pungency and warmth to the dish, complementing the other ingredients perfectly.
- Italian Seasoning: This mix of herbs and spices adds depth and complexity to the flavor profile of your zucchini lasagna.
- Red Pepper Flakes: A touch of these flakes will bring mild heat to the dish, elevating the flavors and adding a little kick.
- Salt and Pepper: Essential for seasoning and enhancing the natural flavors of the ingredients.
- Marinara Sauce: Using a 24-ounce jar of store-bought marinara sauce saves time and adds a savory, tangy taste to the lasagna. Feel free to use your favorite brand or even make your own from scratch if you prefer.
How to make zucchini lasagna non-Watery Version
Alright, so the big problem most people have with zucchini lasagana is that by the end of the cooking time you’re left with a watery mess, lasagna soup if you will instead of a lasagna casserole. In order to make this dish and get it to hold up it’s important that you do not skip removing the excess water.
Remove excess water from the zucchini plank noodles
- Layer a rimmed sheet pan with paper towels and place one layer of zucchini noodles on top. Season lightly with salt on both sides, then add another layer of paper towels. Repeat with another layer of zucchini, and add a final layer of paper towels on top.
- Add another sheet pan on top of the zucchini, and add a few cans or heavy pans to weigh it down. Let sit, then carefully blot dry, removing as much excess moisture as possible.
Make the ricotta filling
- In a medium bowl, mix together ricotta, mozzarella, and most of the parmesan cheese if using parsley, basil, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
- Mix together until well combined.
Assemble the zucchini lasagna
- Add marinara sauce to a baking dish and spread into an even layer.
- Add a layer of zucchini, taking care to cover the entire bottom with the zucchini.
- Add the ricotta mixture and spread into an even layer.
- Top with marinara sauce. Add another layer of zucchini, ricotta, and marinara. Repeat one more time, then add a fourth and final layer of just zucchini and ricotta.
Bake the lasanga
- Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and remaining parmesan.
- And bake until bubbling and golden brown on top.
Tips for making the best zucchini lasagna
- Prep Your Zucchini: Salting and draining the zucchini before assembling the lasagna helps to remove excess moisture. It’s an important step to avoid a watery lasagna. Just be sure to pat them dry before using.
- Use a mandolin for slicing the zucchini to ensure the noodles cook evenly. If you do not have one, you can very carefully use a chef’s knife to cut even planks.
- Drain your ricotta if it’s very watery. This will help ensure that the mixture doesn’t add too much water to the final cooked lasagna.
- Bake Until Bubbly: When you put your lasagna in the oven, make sure to bake it until it’s bubbling and the cheese on top is golden brown. This not only ensures all the ingredients are heated through, but it also gives your lasagna a deliciously crispy top layer.
- Let It Rest: After you take the lasagna out of the oven, let it sit for about 10-15 minutes before slicing. This will help it set and prevent it from falling apart when you serve it.
Popular substitutions & additions
- Protein: While this is a vegetarian recipe, you can add ground turkey, chicken, or beef if you prefer. For a vegetarian protein boost, consider adding tofu, tempeh, or lentils.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add more vegetables to your lasagna. Spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions are all great additions that will add more flavor and nutrients to your dish.
- Cheese: Not a fan of ricotta? Try cottage cheese or even cream cheese for a different texture and flavor. You can also experiment with different types of shredded cheese like provolone, fontina, or gouda.
- Sauce: While marinara sauce is a classic choice, you can switch it up with a different type of sauce. Try using pesto, alfredo, or even a hearty Bolognese sauce for a unique twist.
- Noodles: If you’re not a fan of zucchini, or if you’re looking for a bit more variety, you can use eggplant slices or lasagna noodles made from spinach, whole wheat, or even gluten-free options.
- Toppings: Add a little extra flavor and texture to your finished lasagna by topping it with some chopped fresh basil, sliced olives, or even some toasted pine nuts.
- Vegan Options: If you’re looking for a vegan version of this dish, substitute the cheeses with vegan alternatives. There are many plant-based cheese options available that will give you a similar texture and flavor.
- Grilling: If you’re looking for a smoky flavor, try grilling the zucchini slices before assembling the lasagna. This will add a delicious smoky flavor to your dish.
What to serve with zucchini lasagna
How to Store & Reheat Zucchini Lasagna
Storing: Allow your zucchini lasagna to cool down to room temperature after baking. Then, transfer it to an airtight container or cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store it in the refrigerator.
Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy your leftovers, preheat your oven to 350°F. Transfer the lasagna to an oven-safe dish, cover with aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat individual servings in the microwave. Place a portion on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap, and heat for 2-3 minutes, or until hot. Make sure to check the center to ensure it’s warmed through.
How long will Zucchini Lasagna last in the fridge?
Zucchini lasagna will last for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator when stored properly in an airtight container. If you’re not planning to eat it within that time frame, consider freezing it for longer storage.
Can I freeze Zucchini Noodle Lasagna?
Yes, but keep in mind that zucchini contains a lot of water, so the texture of the lasagna may be slightly different after freezing and reheating. It will still be delicious, though!
Before freezing, allow it to cool completely. Then, transfer it to an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Label it with the date and contents, and store it in the freezer. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw the lasagna in the refrigerator overnight and then follow the reheating instructions above.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, yellow squash can be used as a substitute for zucchini in this lasagna recipe. Both have similar textures and moisture content, so the process will be the same. Keep in mind that yellow squash has a slightly different flavor than zucchini, so it may slightly alter the taste of the lasagna.
Absolutely! If you prefer a non-vegetarian version, you can add ground turkey, beef, chicken, or sausage. Simply brown your choice of meat in a pan, season it to your liking, and layer it in the lasagna as you would with the other ingredients.
Zucchini releases a lot of water as it cooks. To avoid a watery lasagna, make sure to salt the zucchini slices and let them sit to draw out excess moisture, as mentioned in the recipe instructions. Pat them dry before layering in the lasagna. Also, be sure not to overcook the lasagna, as this can also contribute to excess moisture.
Zucchini lasagna is a versatile, low-carb, and delicious alternative to traditional pasta-based lasagna. It’s a recipe that allows you to enjoy the rich flavors of lasagna without the extra carbs. Whether you’re trying to eat healthier, looking for a vegetarian meal option, or just want to switch up your lasagna game, this zucchini lasagna recipe is a fantastic choice. Remember, the key to a great zucchini lasagna is to remove as much moisture as possible from the zucchini before assembling your lasagna.
More lasagna recipes:
- Heirloom Tomato Lasagna vegetarian
- Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups vegetarian
- Eggplant Lasagna vegetarian
- 3-Cheese Stuffed Shells vegetarian
- Layerless Lasagna vegetarian
- Easy Baked Spaghetti vegetarian
- Greek Yogurt Lasagna
- Easy Homemade Lasagna
- Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
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- 4 large zucchini ends trimmed, sliced into ¼ inch planks with a mandolin
- 1 15 ounce container whole milk ricotta
- 2 cups grated low moisture mozzarella divided
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese optional
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chiffonade of basil
- 1 egg
- 1 garlic clove grated
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon salt plus more for zucchini
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 24 ounce jar store-bought marinara sauce
- Layer a rimmed sheet pan with paper towels and place one layer of zucchini planks on top. Season lightly with salt on both sides, then add another layer of paper towels. Repeat with another layer of zucchini, and add a final layer of paper towels on top. Add another sheet pan on top of the zucchini, and add a few cans or heavy pans to weigh it down. Let sit for 1 hour, then carefully blot dry, removing as much excess moisture as possible.
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F. In a medium bowl, mix together ricotta, 1 ½ cups mozzarella, most of the parmesan cheese if using, parsley, basil, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
- Add about ½ cup of marinara sauce to a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer. Add a layer of zucchini, taking care to cover the entire bottom of the zucchini. Add ¼ of the ricotta mixture and spread into an even layer. Top with about ¾ cup of marinara sauce. Add another layer of zucchini, ricotta and marinara. Repeat one more time, then add a fourth and final layer of just zucchini and ricotta. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and remaining parmesan, and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on top.
- Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving so the lasagna sets up slightly. If there is a lot of excess water from the zucchini, you can spoon it off with a tablespoon and discard before slicing the lasagna.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.