No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna
My friend and colleague Linda Wolpert suggests using zucchini instead of lasagna noodles to get extra vegetables and fiber into a satisfying family meal. Using the bread crumbs helps soak up some of the liquid from the zucchini, but if you don’t want any carbohydrates, you can skip them and reduce the sauce by about 1/2 cup. Scramble recipe tester Nancy Bolen said, “Our picky 16-year-old daughter loved it - she had thirds!”
- 1 lb. ground turkey, beef, or meatless crumbles
- 2 tsp. salt-free Italian seasoning, or use 1 tsp. dried basil, 1 tsp. dried oregano, and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 26 oz. tomato sauce or red pasta sauce
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 zucchini ends trimmed about 1 1/2 lbs.
- 3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (use store-bought or homemade) (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed)
- 8 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (or use any variety),
- Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium to large nonstick skillet over medium heat, brown the meat (if you are using meatless crumble, put it in the skillet at the same time as the Italian seasoning, pepper, and tomato sauce, and then warm it through). When it is cooked through, stir in the Italian seasoning and pepper, then stir in the tomato sauce. Remove it from the heat.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, the egg, and half of the Parmesan cheese (2 Tbsp.).
- Cut the zucchini in half crosswise (to make 2 shorter pieces), stand each half on its flat end and carefully slice it from top to bottom to make thin slices about 1/8-inch thick.
- Sprinkle 4 Tbsp. of bread crumbs in the bottom of the baking dish, then top it with half of the zucchini slices, laid snugly across the pan.
- Top the zucchini evenly with the ricotta mixture, then top it with 4 Tbsp. bread crumbs.
- Top the bread crumbs with a final layer of zucchini, then the remaining bread crumbs, then the meat sauce, and top it evenly with the mozzarella cheese.
- Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp. of Parmesan cheese evenly on top.
- Bake it, uncovered, for 40 - 45 minutes until the cheese is browned and the sauce is bubbly.
- Remove it from the oven and let it sit for at least 10 minutes, if time allows, before cutting it into squares to serve it. Alternatively, refrigerate it for up to 3 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months.
Slow Cooker Directions
- You do not need to pre-cook the meat sauce. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker, then layer the other ingredients as directed (omit the nonstick cooking spray). Cook on low for 7 - 8 hours or on high for 3 1/2 - 4 hours. (Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)
Do Ahead or Delegate: Cook the meat sauce and refrigerate, beat and refrigerate the egg, grate the Parmesan cheese if necessary and refrigerate, slice the zucchini, make the ricotta mixture and refrigerate, make the bread crumbs if using homemade, or fully prepare and refrigerate or freeze the lasagna. Scramble Flavor Booster: Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes to the meat sauce. Tip: Want to start using homemade breadcrumbs? To make this easy, keep ends of bread in the freezer. Then, once you have 5 or more slices, dry them out in a low oven, and then pulverize them in the food processor to make bread crumbs (or check out our post on different options for bread crumbs!) Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 302, Total Fat: 14g, 21%; Saturated Fat: 6g, 27%; Cholesterol: 90mg, 30%; Sodium: 654mg, 27.5%; Total Carbohydrate: 22g, 7.5%; Dietary Fiber: 4g, 16.5%; Sugar: 10g; Protein: 25g Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
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