by Olena

Zucchini Lasagna (Video)

by Olena

5 from 15 reviews

Zucchini Lasagna made low carb with layers of zucchini instead of pasta, flavorful turkey tomato sauce and gooey cheese. Classic comfort food experience at only 318 calories per huge slice.

It is guilt free comfort food with traditional flavor and rich texture of classic Italian lasagna.

Zucchini lasagna in a baking dish

Healthy Lasagna

Zucchini lasagna with layers of delicious garlic and herb meat sauce, low carb zucchini noodles and melted cheesy goodness on top. It is so good even zucchini hating kids loved it!

Zucchini lasagna is definitely a labour of love and requires about 40 minutes of prep but result is totally worth it. Once you make it a few times, things will go even faster. Pour yourself a glass of wine, crank up Frank Sinatra and enjoy the process.

I can’t wait to make this healthy lasagna again, it was that good!

How to Slice Zucchini for Lasagna

Zucchini is a star of this lasagna. Look for straight zucchini. If it is very large garden squash, cut in half and then slice.

  • Using a mandoline. It is my favorite method because zucchini “noodles” will come out even thickness. I highly recommend to wear cut resistant gloves.
  • On a box grater. A typical box grater like this one has a slicing blade. It is not as sharp but can be used.
  • Slice with sharp knife. A sharp utility knife will be the best as it is smaller than a chef’s knife. The key is a sharp knife and time. 🙂

how to make zucchini lasagna noodles using mandoline

How to Make Lasagna Less Watery

Here are 4 tips to make zucchini noodles less watery:

  • Salt. Place sliced zucchini in a single layer and sprinkle with salt, repeating with remaining zucchini. Set aside for 30 minutes. Salt will pull away moisture from zucchini making less watery casserole.
  • Paper towels. Line large baking sheet with double layer of paper towels. Right before assembly, we pat dry each zucchini layer with paper towels transferring to another dish. You want to absorb moisture between each zucchini layer as much as possible.
  • Quinoa sprinkled on the bottom of the pan will help absorb extra liquid during cooking. Don’t worry about liquid while baking. Once squash lasagna rests for about 20 minutes you will see there will be not that much liquid left.
  • Grill. You can grill sliced zucchini before assembling. To do so, cut them a bit thicker.

How to Make Zucchini Lasagna

  • While zucchini is losing its juices, make turkey meat sauce by cooking ground turkey for 5 minutes, constantly breaking into small pieces and stirring. Then we add dried oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper to cook for 30 seconds. Frying dried herbs makes them more fragrant. Add tomato sauce and maple syrup to offset the acid in tomatoes.
  • Wilt fresh spinach in batches in the same skillet. If using thawed spinach, squeeze liquid well.
  • Combine cottage cheese with egg and spices so it has flavor and holds better. Sub cottage cheese with ricotta if you wish, just keep in mind latter one is lower in protein and higher in fat, carbs and sugars. I pureed cottage cheese for smoother consistency and it made a huge difference.

turkey meat sauce, spinach and cottage cheese mixture for healthy lasagna

  • Now it’s finally time to assemble lasagna. The key is to have all ingredients ready. In 9″ x 13″ baking dish, add a few tablespoons of tomato meat sauce, spread with a spoon and sprinkle with quinoa.
  • Place sliced zucchini overlapping a bit to create a single layer. Spread 1/3 of tomato meat sauce, then 1/3 of cottage cheese, sprinkled with 1/4 of mozzarella and 1/3 of spinach.
  • Repeat until you run out of ingredients finishing with a layer of zucchini, topped with a bit of meat sauce, then sprinkled with remaining mozzarella and all of Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake lasagna for about 50 minutes at 375 degrees F covered with aluminum foil or silicone lid for first 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 20 minutes.
  • Let stand for 20 minutes before slicing. This step is super important as flavors will settle, “marry” each other and the whole dish will re-absorb a lot of liquid.

assembled layers of zucchini noodle lasagnazucchini noodle lasagna recipe layered

How to Make Ahead and Store

Leftover zucchini lasagna can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. It is already baked, settled and lost all its extra moisture. Just place in an airtight container and refrigerate.

To be honest, I have not tried freezing lasagna. Zucchini contains 90% of water, so it is not good vegetable to freeze and thaw. We took out a lot of water but I can see still lots left during baking. My gut tells me it is not a good idea to freeze zucchini lasagna. If you try, please let me know.

To make ahead, assemble and refrigerate tightly covered for up to 24 hours. Before baking you can remove extra water accumulated at the bottom of the dish with a turkey baster. Let ceramic or glass dish warm up on the counter for about 15 minutes before baking.

More Healthy Zucchini Recipes to Try

zucchini lasagna

Print

Zucchini Lasagna

5 from 15 reviews

Zucchini Lasagna made low carb with layers of zucchini instead of pasta, flavorful turkey tomato sauce and gooey cheese. Classic comfort food experience at only 318 calories per huge slice.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Casserole
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Italian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 5 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/8” thick slices
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp avocado il
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, divided
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt + more for zucchini
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 2 x 14 oz cans tomato sauce, low sodium
  • 11 oz box fresh spinach
  • 17 oz tub cottage cheese
  • 1 egg, large
  • 3 tbsp quinoa, uncooked
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Line large baking sheet with double layer of paper towels.
  2. Place sliced zucchini in a single layer and sprinkle with salt, repeating with remaining zucchini. Set aside for 30 minutes. Salt will pull away moisture from zucchini making less watery zucchini lasagna.
  3. In the meanwhile, preheat large skillet on medium-high heat, swirl oil to coat and add turkey. Cook for 5 minutes, constantly breaking into small pieces and stirring.
  4. Add 1 tsp oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper; cook for 30 seconds, stirring.
  5. Add tomato sauce and maple syrup; stir, bring to a boil and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
  6. Return skillet to medium heat, add spinach in batches as it starts to wilt, stirring in between. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
  7. In a medium bowl, add cottage cheese, egg and 1/2 tsp oregano. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Set aside.
  8. Pat dry each zucchini layer with paper towels transferring to another dish. You want to absorb moisture between each zucchini layer as much as possible. Using your hands squeeze as much liquid as possible from spinach and set side.
  9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Now it’s finally time to assemble zucchini lasagna.
  10. In 9″ x 13″ baking dish, add a few tablespoons of tomato meat sauce, spread with a spoon and sprinkle with quinoa.
  11. Place sliced zucchini overlapping a bit to create a single layer.
  12. Spread 1/3 of tomato meat sauce, then 1/3 of cottage cheese, sprinkled with 1/4 of mozzarella and 1/3 of spinach.
  13. Repeat until you run out of ingredients finishing with a layer of zucchini, topped with a bit of meat sauce, then sprinkled with remaining mozzarella and all of Parmesan cheese.
  14. Bake covered with aluminum foil or silicone lid for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 20 minutes.
  15. Let stand for 20 minutes before slicing. Cut into 8 slices and serve hot.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight glass container for up to 5 days.

Make Ahead: Assemble and refrigerate tightly covered for up to 24 hours, then bake.

Freeze: Do not.

Notes

  • You can slice zucchini using mandoline or grater with slicing blade.
  • If using not low sodium tomato sauce, reduce salt.
  • Sub cottage cheese with ricotta, just keep in mind nutritional info will change.
  • Use 1  package of frozen spinach but thaw and squeeze well.
  • Quinoa is for absorbing extra liquid.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

49 comments on “Zucchini Lasagna (Video)

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  1. Olena — forgot to add to my last review. Feel free to amend it. The zucchini was better than eggplant lasagna I’ve made b/c it is a bit “el dente”, which gives the recipe just the right texture; it’s a closer and better replacement in texture for lasagna noodles.

  2. Thanks for another great, low carb recipe Olena! I of course had to mess with it to reduce carbs further. I used ground flax seed for the thickening agent (replacing the quinoa), and replaced honey with Truvia. I also added sauteed onion and mushroom in with the spinach for additional veggie count and flavor.

    My whole family loved it – rare. This is going in my every day recipe book for reuse, as it’s a great all-in-one dish.

  3. I absolutely love this recipe! I would really like to be able to make it ahead for a larger family dinner. Olena have you or anyone else tried freezing it yet?

  4. This dish was amazing – I had a lot of zucchini and love low carb, so gave it a try-AWESOME!!! Delicious!!! Also, had never used quinoa before. I will definitely make this again.

  5. I enjoyed the lasagna. It was soupy even though I had squeezed the heck out of the zuc. The flavor was quite good.

    Side note: I use a mire pax in my cooking a lot. It is an easy way to sneak in some veggies. I added my left over zuc. In my more pax of onion, carrots, and celery in a meat sauce tonight.

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