A couple months back I was scrolling through Pinterest and saw a pin of a lasagne that uses zucchini as the pasta. I thought to myself, “Huh. That’s a neat idea. I’ll have to try that someday.” Well, since I didn’t repin it and therefore couldn’t find it (google shows a few recipes for similar lasagnes, but I don’t know which I saw), I just made up my own version. And it. was. AWESOME.We try to stay away from useless calories/carbs in our house and let’s face it: pasta is useless. It’s a filler food and nothing more. In lasagne, its only purpose is to hold together the delicious stuff, right? So by replacing it with zucchini, we cut back on the calories and carbs and best of all, there is absolutely no detectable difference in the taste. I almost forgot I wasn’t eating just a regular old lasagne.
This was made with homemade tomato sauce and homemade ricotta cheese (which is so much better than store-bought). Making this as homemade as you can produces an absolutely delicious lasagne and even better, you cut out all the preservatives and unknown junk that is pumped into store-bought food.
Anyway, here it is: zucchini lasagne. I’ve never looked at any other version, so I don’t know how they compare, but this is what I came up with.
- 1-2 lbs lean ground beef*
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs + more for topping
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (homemade if you have it)
- 1-2 cups homemade ricotta cheese
- 2 medium zucchinis
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese+ more for topping
- Parmesan cheese for topping
- Preheat oven to 400°
- In a medium bowl or directly in your skillet mix together ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper. If mixing in skillet, make a well in the meat and crack egg in the well so your egg doesn’t coat and cook onto the skillet. Make sure the egg is thoroughly mixed in with the meat. I find that working it in with my hands works best.
- If mixed in bowl, move meat mixture to skillet. On medium-high heat, cook ground meat until it is well browned. Drain fat.
- Add spaghetti sauce a little at a time until you reach a good consistency. The meat mixture should be completely coated in the sauce while at the same time not being too runny. You want a thick meat sauce so the lasagne will hold together well. Think just a little wetter than sloppy joes. This picture is a bit blurry, but it shows the consistency.
- Let simmer for a few minutes and then remove mixture from heat.
- Thinly slice your zucchini into vertical strips. If you have a mandolin slicer, that’s good. I don’t have one, so I use a palm peeler and just “peel” it into strips. This method works just fine for me, though it may take a little more elbow grease than using a mandolin!
- Evenly cover the bottom of a lightly greased 9×13 casserole dish with zucchini strips, not leaving any of the dish exposed. Spread ricotta onto zucchini, then spread meat sauce on top of that. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of the meat sauce.
- Layer with zucchini, ricotta, meat sauce, and mozzarella again. Add one more layer of zucchini and top with mozzarella, parmesan, and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs.
- Put into oven and bake for 40 minutes. Serve hot!
I paired this with an artichoke and french bread (though, had I thought of it I would have much rather had whole wheat bowl bread). It was such a lovely way to have good italian food in a healthy manner, which can be hard to achieve at times! We got 6 nice sized servings out of this, so it’s perfect for a family meal, a small dinner party, or leftovers for you, of course. ;)
In Love and Christ,