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Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini LasagnaZucchini lasagna is a low-carb take on an Italian classic; this meal is loaded with veggies and has the same flavor and a similar texture as the original. We make lasagna by replacing the noodles with zucchini, so it is a complete meal on its own but pairs well with fresh spinach or arugula salad. 

A heaping serving of zucchini lasagna served with an arugula salad.

“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.”

User, Reddit

Our noodle-free lasagna replaces pasta, and you won’t even miss it! The meal is a bit labor intensive, so give yourself some extra time; trust me, the labor of love is well worth it in the end. You can easily meal-prep this recipe, and it’s great for volume eaters; it’s also gluten-free, low-carb, and keto-friendly, so it checks all the boxes.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Zucchini: Zucchinis are a great addition to meals, but 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 tasty, but it wasn’t what we were going for that day.
  • Salt: Use salt to impart flavor and draw moisture from the zucchinis.
  • Ground Beef: As mentioned, moisture is an issue with zucchini-based recipes. For this reason, use lean ground beef.
  • Onion: Onion cooks with ground beef, garlic, and tomato sauce for maximum flavor.
  • Garlic: I suggest using four cloves, but don’t let my recipe tell you how much garlic to use – measure with your heart.
  • Seasoning: I season our lasagna with red pepper flakes, black pepper, and dried basil. There is no need to add salt since the zucchini strips are salted and pat dry to prepare them for the dish; this process imparts all the salt you will need.
  • Marinara Sauce: Use your favorite marinara sauce, but only 1 ½ cup! I prefer Rau’s Marinara Sauce since it’s lower in carbohydrates and has the best flavor!
  • Cream Cheese and Egg: Cream cheese and egg is a game-changing combination, the secret sauce, for lack of a better term; this may feel like a departure from authentic lasagna, but trust me- It’s delicious! Also, you’re making zucchini lasagna; you’ve already departed from authenticity.
  • Cheese: Layer the lasagna with parmesan and mozzarella cheese. 

VARIATIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

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

HOW TO MAKE ZUCCHINI LASAGNA

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

Zucchini strips in the microwave.

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

Zucchini strips salted and lined up on a towel.

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.

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.

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.

LAYER – 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 zucchini strips topped with cheese.

Finish the layers with zucchini strips and more mozzarella cheese.

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.

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 CUT ZUCCHINI FOR LASAGNA

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).

HOW TO MAKE ZUCCHINI LASAGNA LESS WATERY

One of the greatest challenges when making zucchini lasagna is making sure it doesn’t result in a watery mess. Here are some steps to avoid making zucchini soup.

  1. Cut the zucchini slices thin, about ¼-inch.
  2. Microwave the zucchini beforehand; this will draw out most of the moisture.
  3. 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.
  4. After cooking the beef, drain any accumulated juices before adding the pasta sauce.
  5. ONLY add 1 ½ cup of pasta sauce.
  6. After baking the lasagna for the first 45 minutes, drain any excess fluid and then bake it uncovered accordingly.

SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS? 

If you love this recipe, we hope you will try one of these low-carb favorites!  

A baking dish of zucchini lsagana garnished with fresh basil.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

This meal is a great, healthier alternative to traditional pasta lasagna. However, we love to add to the recipe from time to time! Before adding additional ingredients, consider how watery zucchini lasagna is without preparing the zucchini properly.

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

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS 

  • FRIDGE – Store leftovers in an airtight container; it will keep for 3-5
  • FREEZER – Allow the dish to cool, then add it to a freezer-safe container. Zucchini lasagna will keep for 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, defrost it in the fridge overnight.
  • REHEAT – Bake the lasagna uncovered in the oven at 375° F (190° C) for 30 minutes to reheat.

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?

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

Is zucchini lasagna keto? Is it low-carb?

Zucchini Lasagna is a delicious low-carb alternative and easily fits keto macros.

Carbs– 6 Net Carbs
Protein– 22g
Fat– 22g

The serving size for these calculations is one heaping slice of lasagna.

YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY:

A heaping serving of zucchini lasagna served with an arugula salad.

Zucchini Lasagna

Tressa Jamil
Zucchini lasagna is a low-carb take on an Italian classic; this meal is loaded with veggies and has the same flavor as traditional lasagna.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people
Calories 345 kcal

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 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon basil, dried
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • black pepper, coarse ground, to taste
  • 1 ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 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. Taste and adjust the seasoning. 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

Cooking Tips: 
  • 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 Cut the 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.
 
Web Story:
  • Check out our web story for zucchini lasagna!

Nutrition

Serving: 1 SliceCalories: 345kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 19gFat: 26gSodium: 398mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5g
Keyword zucchini lasagna
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!
Recipe Rating




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!