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Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini lasagna is a low-carb and low calorie take on a classic Italian meal that’s loaded with veggies! The lasagna recipe replaces traditional noodles with fresh zucchini strips but it still has the same flavor and texture as the original. 

A casserole dish of zucchini lasagna.

Why You’ll Love Zucchini Lasagna

Our noodle-free lasagna replaces pasta, but it’s so good you won’t miss it! The meal is a bit labor intensive, so give yourself some extra time to prepare it. But you can easily meal prep this recipe, and it’s great for volume eaters. Plus, it’s also gluten-free, low-carb, and keto-friendly, so it checks all the boxes.

“I found this recipe really thorough and followed it basically to the letter (the initial microwaving/salting of the zucchini was especially helpful because I was expecting this to be really liquidy and it wasn’t)…Absolutely loved it and so did my boyfriend who is a known hater of zoodles.”

Reddit User

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Zucchini: Zucchini is a tasty addition to meals and a perfect way to incorporate more vegetables. However, they release a lot of water, so follow my instructions for preparing them. If not, you will end up with zucchini soup. I only know this because I have done it. Don’t get me wrong, the soup was delicious, but it wasn’t what I was going for that day.
  • Salt: Use salt to impart flavor and draw moisture from the zucchinis.
  • Ground Beef: Use lean ground beef, chicken, or turkey since moisture is an issue with zucchini-based recipes.
  • Onion: Onion cooks with the ground beef, fresh garlic, and tomato sauce for maximum flavor.
  • Garlic: I suggest using four garlic cloves, but measure with your heart.
  • Seasoning: Season the easy-to-make zucchini lasagna with red pepper flakes, black pepper, and dried basil. There is no need to add salt since you salt the zucchini strips in preparation for the casserole.
  • Marinara Sauce: Use your favorite marinara sauce, but only 1 ½ cups! I prefer Rau’s Marinara Sauce since it’s lower in carbohydrates and has the best flavor! You can also make my recipe for sugo al pomodoro.
  • Cream Cheese and Egg: Cream cheese and egg is a game-changing combination, the secret sauce, for lack of a better term. It may feel like a departure from authentic lasagna, but trust me – it’s delicious! Also, you’re making lasagna with zucchini, so you’ve already departed from authenticity.
  • Cheese: Layer the lasagna with parmesan and mozzarella cheese. 

Additions and Substitutions

  • Replace ground beef with Italian sausage, ground turkey, or chicken.
  • To make the recipe vegetarian, use more vegetables like sweet potatoes or eggplant. You can use Beyond Meat or green lentils as substitutes for beef.
  • Use drained cottage cheese or ricotta instead of cream cheese.

How to Make Zucchini Lasagna

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Slice zucchinis length-wise and microwave them in a microwave-safe dish for 3 minutes. Drain the excess fluid.

Zucchini strips in the microwave.

Step 2: Lightly salt the strips and lay them on a cloth to dry.

Zucchini strips salted and lined up on a towel.

Step 3: Add beef to a skillet; cook over medium heat, breaking it up using a meat chopper. Next, add onions and garlic and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain excess fluid from the pan.

Ground beef, onions, and garlic sautéing in a pan.

Step 4: Season with dried basil, red pepper flakes, and pepper. Then, stir in the Pasta Sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes and set it aside.

Sauce and seasoning is added to the ground beef mixture.

Step 5: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Then, combine the cream cheese and egg in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Mix the cream cheese and egg in a blender.

How to Assemble Zucchini Lasagna

Layer the Lasagna

Step 6: Blot the zucchini strips with a towel and layer them in the dish. Add a thin layer of the cheese mixture over the top, followed by the beef, then mozzarella cheese.

Step 7: Repeat with the remaining ingredients. You should have two layers of each and finish zucchini strips topped with cheese.

Finish the layers with zucchini strips and more mozzarella cheese.

Step 8: Sprinkle the lasagna with dried basil and pepper. Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.

Step 9: Drain some excess fluid and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes. Let the lasagna cool before serving.

Bake the zucchini lasagna uncovered for the second bake.

How to Prepare the Zucchini

I use a peeler or cut the zucchini by hand. You can also use a mandolin since they offer a more consistent cut. Slice the zucchini into ¼-inch strips, and if you’re using a mandolin, set it to 4mm (the lowest setting for most mandolins).

How Do You Keep Zucchini Lasagna from Getting Watery?

Have you found yourself asking, why is my zucchini lasagna watery? One of the challenges of using zucchini to replace pasta in lasagna is avoiding a watery mess. Here are some steps to bypass making zucchini soup.

  • Cut the zucchini slices thin, about ¼-inch.
  • Microwave the zucchini beforehand; this will draw out most of the moisture.
  • Salt the zucchini and allow them to sit while you prepare the meat sauce. Blot dry the strips thoroughly with a towel before adding them to the baking dish.
  • After cooking the beef, drain any accumulated juices before adding the pasta sauce.
  • ONLY add 1 ½ cup of pasta sauce.
  • After baking the lasagna for the first 45 minutes, drain any excess fluid and then bake it uncovered accordingly.

If you enjoy this recipe, try one of these low carb favorites!  

Serving Suggestions

Zucchini lasagna is a healthy alternative to traditional lasagna. However, I change the recipe from time to time! Before adding additional ingredients, consider how watery lasagna with zucchini is without preparing the zucchini properly.

  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Eggplant
  • Squash
  • Lentils
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Bell Peppers

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate  Store the leftovers in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
  • Can you freeze cooked zucchini lasagna? Let the dish cool and transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Zucchini lasagna freezes for three months.
  • Thaw – Defrost the lasagna in the refrigerator overnight
  • Reheat  Warm the individual servings in the microwave or bake the lasagna uncovered in the oven at 375°F (190°C) for 30 minutes.
  • Repurpose – Repurpose leftover lasagna by transforming it into a tasty new dish. Try making zucchini lasagna roll-ups by rolling individual portions and baking them with marinara sauce and cheese. Another option is to stuff bell peppers, bake them until tender, and top them with more cheese. You can also create a zucchini lasagna frittata by combining broken lasagna pieces with eggs and baking until firm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does zucchini lasagna taste like regular lasagna?

It’s pretty close to the real thing; the only difference is a slight textural one. No-noodle lasagna is one of the most requested meals in our home, and I don’t feel like we are missing anything!

Can the lasagna be made ahead of time?

Assemble the lasagna the day before and refrigerate. When you’re ready to eat, let it to come to room temperature (no longer than one hour) and bake according to the instructions.

Is zucchini lasagna healthy?

Lasagna with zucchini can be a healthier choice compared to traditional lasagna. It’s low in calories, rich in nutrients, and a great way to work in more vegetables. By replacing pasta with zucchini slices, it also reduces carbohydrates.

More Italian Recipes:

For more ideas for what to make with ground beef, try one of these ground beef recipes!

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Did you try this recipe? Consider leaving a ⭐️ rating and comment below. And for more healthy international recipes for everyday cooking, sign up to have recipes emailed right to you.

A casserole dish of zucchini lasagna.

Zucchini Lasagna

Tressa Jamil
Zucchini lasagna is a low-carb take on an Italian classic. The one-pan meal is loaded with veggies and has the same flavor as traditional lasagna.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 199 kcal
Equipment
Ingredients
  
  • 4 medium zucchini, sliced length-wise, ¼-inch
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 pound ground beef, 93/7 lean
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • black pepper, coarse ground, to taste
  • cup tomato puree
  • 1 block cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 bag mozzarella, low moisture, shredded or ovaline
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, shaved, to garnish
  • fresh basil, julienne, to garnish
Instructions
 
  • Slice zucchinis length-wise and microwave them in a microwave-safe dish for 3 minutes. Drain the excess fluid.
  • Lightly salt the strips and lay them on a cloth to dry.
  • Add beef to a skillet; cook over medium heat, breaking it up using a meat chopper. Next, add onions and garlic. Simmer until the meat is brown and heated through for about 10 minutes. Drain any excess fluid from the pan.
  • Season with dried basil, red pepper flakes, and pepper. Then, stir in the Pasta Sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes and set it aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Then, combine the cream cheese and egg in a blender or food processor. until smooth.
  • Blot the zucchini strips with a towel and layer them in the dish. Add a thin layer of the cheese mixture over the top, followed by the beef, then mozzarella cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. You should have two layers of each and finish with cheese on top.
  • Finish with a top layer of mozzarella cheese and lightly sprinkled parmesan cheese.
  • Season lasagna with dried basil and pepper. Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Drain excess fluid if necessary and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes. Let the lasagna cool before serving.
Notes
How do I keep Zucchini Lasagna from getting watery?
  • Cut the zucchini slices thin, about ¼-inch.
  • Microwave the zucchini beforehand; this will draw out most of the moisture.
  • Salt the zucchini and allow them to sit while you prepare the meat sauce. Blot dry the strips thoroughly with a towel before adding them to the baking dish.
  • After cooking the beef, drain any accumulated juices before adding the pasta sauce.
  • ONLY add 1 ½ cup of pasta sauce.
  • After baking the lasagna for the first 45 minutes, drain any excess fluid and then bake it uncovered accordingly.
How to Prepare Zucchini: 
  • I use a peeler or cut the zucchini by hand; you can also use a mandolin since they offer more consistent cuts. Slice the zucchini into ¼-inch strips, and if you’re using a mandolin, set it to 4mm (the lowest setting for most mandolins).
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Slice | Calories: 199 kcal | Carbohydrates: 7 g | Protein: 14 g | Fat: 13 g | Saturated Fat: 5 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 63 mg | Sodium: 327 mg | Potassium: 581 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 5 g | Vitamin A: 539 IU | Vitamin C: 22 mg | Calcium: 79 mg | Iron: 2 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
4.75 from 8 votes (5 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




Tiffany

Saturday 19th of August 2023

I love this idea! I have lots of zucchini and a low carb lasagna seems like a great way to use it. :)

Tressa Jamil

Saturday 19th of August 2023

It's low carb but high in flavor. Please come back and let me know what you think.

Sarah M.

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

I made this zucchini lasagna last night for my family, and it was a huge hit! We're all trying to eat healthier, so the low-carb zucchini option was perfect. But what really surprised us was how much it tasted like traditional lasagna - we didn't even miss the noodles! Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe.

R

Sunday 17th of July 2022

I make this recipe on the regular, it is so so good. Even my boyfriend (who normally hates zucchini) really loves it.

I follow the recipe to a T and it’s amazing every time :)

Tressa Jamil

Sunday 17th of July 2022

I am so happy to hear this meal is part of your regular rotation; thank you for taking the time to comment and rate the recipe!