Zucchini slices replace the noodles in this low-carb, gluten-free zucchini lasagna. Of course, zucchini slices don’t work as well as noodles in terms of keeping the lasagna’s shape, so this zucchini lasagna is flimsier than traditional lasagna, but in terms of flavor, it’s another victory to low carb and another proof that the starches in many recipes merely absorb other flavors. This lasagna tastes amazing, so good in fact that I don’t plan on making it too often, since I found myself having THREE, yes three slices instead of the one I was planning to have – yes, it is that good.
Zucchini is very watery, so do go through the (admittedly annoying) extra step of grilling the zucchini slices before assembling the lasagna. Grilling will help dry them off and remove some of the water. Otherwise, they will release their water into the lasagna as it bakes – not good.
Needless to say, the flavor of your lasagna will greatly depend on the marinara sauce you use. I always use sugar-free spaghetti sauce, and my favorite is Rao’s – it has a clean list of ingredients and the spicy Arrabbiata sauce is especially amazing – this is the one I used in this recipe. Rao’s used to only be available at Whole Foods, but lately I’ve been seeing it in my supermarket too. Of course, just like everything else on earth, it’s also available on Amazon.
- 5 medium zucchini (2 lb.)
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 (15oz) container whole milk ricotta cheese, room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup (packed, 1oz) chopped fresh basil
- 1⅓ cup no sugar added marinara sauce
- 8oz part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the zucchini lengthwise, into ¼-inch-thick strips, getting 6 slices out of each zucchini. Spray the zucchini slices with olive oil coking spray and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper and ½ teaspoon garlic powder. Grill the slices, in batches, 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden and firm - not browned and crisp. Spread on clean kitchen towels to soak up more moisture.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes. Add the meat, the minced garlic, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the meat, until meat is browned, 5-7 minutes. Drain into a colander, then mix in a bowl with 1 cup marinara sauce.
- In another bowl, with a fork, mix together the ricotta, eggs, basil, and the remaining salt and pepper.
- Assemble the lasagna: Spread ⅓ cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9 X 13 baking dish; Top the marinara sauce with a layer of zucchini, then a third of the ricotta mixture, a third of the meat mixture, and a third of the mozzarella cheese; Repeat, arranging the zucchini slices in the opposite direction: zucchini, ⅓ ricotta, ⅓ meat mixture, ⅓ mozzarella; Repeat one last time, adding one extra layer of zucchini: zucchini, ricotta, meat mixture, more zucchini, and mozzarella.
- Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is golden, about 30 minutes. You can finish by broiling for 2 minutes on high to brown the cheese, if you wish.