Zucchini lasagna is a new favorite healthier recipe for dinner. Loaded with seasoned beef, cheese, and tons of vegetables, this is the dinner you want without the guilt. Sliced zucchini is a great base in place of noodles to make a lower carb option for a hearty meal that is loaded with nutrients and tons of flavor.
If you are looking for more lasagna recipes, then you will fall in love with these spinach lasagna rolls in a heartbeat!
Zucchini Lasagna Recipe
Comfort food comes in all shapes and sizes. Having a great recipe that is full of flavor, and cheesy goodness, without a ton of calories is hard to come by. My zucchini lasagna is a perfect choice! I worked hard to make a substitute for my favorite homemade lasagna recipe that would satisfy cravings without the guilt.
Using slices of zucchini in place of pasta cust the carbs and adds nutrition. Adding spinach and the right type of cheese between layers makes it just as delicious with none of the worry about carbs or fat!
If you have time, make this recipe a day ahead of time. After the lasagna sits overnight, the squares will be much easier to slice and serve. Still tasty, too!
When baking zucchini do you peel?
Don’t peel the zucchini, there is no need to remove the skin from the zucchini. Just wash the zucchini well, and cut any bad spots if needed. Plus, keeping the skin on the zucchini makes it a lot easier to slice with your mandolin slicer.
Can you freeze cooked zucchini lasagna?
You definitely can freeze this for later. It’s a great make-ahead meal that is healthy, fast to prepare, and holds up well in the freezer.
Bake the zucchini lasagna as directed, then allow it to completely cool. Once the lasagna has cooled, cut into serving sizes and place into freezer containers or freezer zipper bags that have been dated and labeled. You can freeze for up to 3 months.
When ready to eat, you just need to thaw the frozen zucchini lasagna overnight in the refrigerator before warming in the oven or microwave.
Ingredients to make this Easy Zucchini Lasagna with Beef at home
- Green or yellow squash (1 large or 2 small)
- Kosher salt
- Lean ground beef
- No-salt-added crushed tomatoes
- Italian seasoning
- Black pepper
- Baby spinach
- Part-skim ricotta cheese
- Reduced-fat mozzarella shredded cheese
How to Make Zucchini Lasagna
Begin this recipe by preparing your ingredients and making sure everything is measured and ready to begin cooking. I like to wash and trim any vegetables then slice, cut, and prepare as needed.
The hardest part of making this recipe is in making the zucchini noodles. You will use a mandolin slicer to cut them on the thickest setting. Remember to place them between paper towels to help reduce the moisture in them before using as your noodles.
Preheat your oven and prepare your baking dish as directed. You’ll want to spray your pan with non-stick spray so nothing sticks and it is easy to serve a slice when it comes out of the oven.
Next, you will cook down your ground meat and sauce ingredients to create a nice thickened sauce to go over your “noodles”.
Your last step before popping into the oven is to assemble the layers of your lasagna. You will start with the zucchini slices, and top with spinach, beef, cheese, and then repeat until all ingredients have been used and the pan is full and ready to bake. This is usually 3 total layers.
Once ready, cover the top of the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake as directed. The foil will keep the top from burning, but it can be removed the last few minutes of your cook time to brown the top.
Tips for making zucchini lasagna easier
To get excess water out of the zucchini noodles, place the noodles in a strainer over a plate. Sprinkle them with a pinch of salt and let them sweat for about 20 minutes. Next, toss them with your hands and gently squeeze. Do that a few times and a decent amount of water will be left on the plate.
It’s important to remove as much moisture as possible from the zucchini squash because the tomatoes and squash will release even more moisture while the dish is cooking. It’s different from a traditional lasagna recipe because there are no pasta noodles to soak up the moisture, so it could leave you with a less than the desirable looking final product.
Easy Zucchini Lasagna with Beef
- 1 pound green or yellow squash 1 large or 2 small
- kosher salt for preparing the squash
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 onion diced
- 1 14-ounce can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups baby spinach 5 ounces
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup reduced-fat mozzarella shredded cheese
- Prepare the squash by trimming the ends off. Using a vegetable peeler, or a mandoline slicer, cut the squash into ribbons, or “lasagna noodles”. If using a mandoline slicer with 3 thickness settings, use the thickest setting.
- Line 2 baking sheets or cutting boards with paper towels and place the cut squash on the paper towels. Sprinkle kosher salt evenly on the squash; this helps to draw out the moisture.
- Cover the salted squash with a second layer of paper towels, and place another baking sheet on top to weigh them down for 30 minutes to release as much moisture as possible.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it is no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes.
- Add the onion and cook until soft, 4-6 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and stir in the crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper, stirring together for another 1-2 minutes.
- Assemble the lasagna by placing a ⅓ of the squash on the bottom of the baking dish, followed by ½ of the spinach, ½ of the meat mixture, ½ cup of the ricotta cheese, and a ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese, and then repeat those layers.
- Top the lasagna with the remaining ⅓ of the of the squash noodles, and spread the last ½ cup of mozzarella cheese on top. (There will be 3 layers of squash noodles, but only 2 layers of spinach, meat, and both cheeses.)
- Cover with foil and bake until bubbling, 40-45 minutes.
- It's important to remove as much moisture as possible from the squash because the tomatoes and squash will release even more moisture while the dish is cooking. It's different from a traditional lasagna recipe because there are no pasta noodles to soak up the moisture, so it could leave you with a less than desirable looking final product.
- If you have time, make this recipe a day ahead of time. After the lasagna sits overnight, the squares will be much easier to slice and serve. Still tasty, too!
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