This is a dish I have been making for years and is something of a staple in my household. It has everything that a traditional lasagna would just minus the guilt. It’s still full of rich tomato sauce, hearty ground beef, and creamy ricotta just with the addition of some sautéed spinach and zucchini. It is the ultimate comfort food that you can enjoy in your sweatpants all while knowing it’s a nutritious balanced meal.
The main deviation from a normal lasagna is that there are no lasagna noodles in this recipe. Yes, you heard that right. While there may be no noodles, zucchini does a pretty good job stepping in and acting as such. By cutting the zucchini lengthwise they create a vegetable version of the classic noodle. I opt to pre-cook my zucchini before layering it into the lasagna. This has been a discovery of mine mostly through trial and error but there is also a scientific reason for it. Zucchini hold a lot of water so when they are layered into the lasagna raw and then cooked, they will release a ton of water. Then what you end up with is a soupy lasagna and I don’t know who craves that.
Apart from that tip this recipe is entirely flexible. I used ground beef for this recipe but I’ve also made it with ground chicken and ground turkey before so the meat preference is completely up to your tastes. I think chicken sausage would be a delicious substitute also. I like to add spinach to the meat when I cook it to bump up the nutritional value and get some more greens in the dish but if you could care less for spinach don’t add it! When it comes to the sauce I like to leave it up to you what you use. If you have a great homemade sauce recipe by all means use that, but if you’re short on time and have a go-to jarred brand that you like then there’s no shame in using that! Personally I like the brand Rao’s when I use jarred sauce.
This recipe can be made dairy-free or with dairy. I normally flip flop between the two versions as I’m not that strict about my dairy consumption. However, there are some incredible dairy-free alternatives out there that taste just as good. For the ricotta I’d recommend Kite Hill’s brand of ricotta that is made with almonds. The Parmesan alternative I would use is the Follow Your Heart brand, and lastly the mozzarella alternative I would use is by with So Delicious or Violife. If you already have your go-to substitutes then use what you love!
This zucchini lasagna is utterly delicious and filling making it the perfect winter comfort meal without all the heaviness of a traditional lasagna. It isn’t over complicated to make and comes together within an hour. The fact that it is totally customizable to your unique palate is one of the things I love so much about it. I’m positive this is sure to be one of your go-to comfort meals especially during these cold months!
- 3 Zucchini
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 3 Cups Raw Spinach
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 2 Cups Tomato Sauce + 1/4 Cup
- 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella
- 1 Cup Ricotta
- 1/4 Cup Pecorino Romano
- 1/4 Tsp Oregano
- 1/4 Tsp Parsley
- 1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- Start by preheating oven to 425°
- First, cut zucchini lengthwise about ¼ inch thick. Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and line it with the zucchini slices. Then place it into the oven for 10 minutes.
- While the zucchini cooks, cook the ground beef in a large frying pan over med-high heat. Once cooked add the spinach, salt, and garlic powder and cook until the spinach has wilted. Then add 2 cups of tomato sauce to the beef and spinach. Mix to combine.
- Next, make the ricotta mixture by adding the ricotta, pecorino, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, and salt to a small mixing bowl. Mix to combine and set aside.
- To assemble, start by adding a ¼ cup tomato sauce to the bottom of a 8×10 baking dish. Then add a layer of zucchini slices, 1/2 of the meat sauce mixture, more zucchini, ricotta, zucchini, the remaining meat sauce, and finally the shredded mozzarella.
- Cook at 425° for 25 minutes. Enjoy!