Zucchini Lasagna

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Zucchini lasagna is a fresh take on a classic comfort food dish. It’s loaded with veggies, but still has the rich flavors and scrumptious texture of a traditional lasagna. Top it off with some grated parmesan cheese and basil leaves, and you’ll have the perfect weeknight meal for the whole family.

Zucchini lasagna with basil leaves

Lasagna is comfort food that hits straight home. But for me, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables and create healthier spins on classic recipes. Enter, this zucchini lasagna! It’s still got that hearty, cheesy lasagna flavor, but it’s a little lighter and veggie-forward.

I’m a big fan of transforming zucchini into almost anything, from zucchini noodles to zucchini bread. And this zucchini lasagna is similar to my zucchini noodle spaghetti bolognese, but in casserole form that works so well for family dinners (or meal prepping for the week). Oh, and did I mention you can freeze it? It’s a definite win for easy, weeknight dinners! 

Ingredients for zucchini lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna Recipe Ingredients

The ingredients for zucchini lasagna are pretty basic: zucchini, ground beef, pasta sauce, ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, egg, basil, and parsley. But there are a few small details to watch out for when it comes to texture and consistency. Let’s take a look:

  • Small vs. large zucchini: Either size will work, just make sure you have about 2 pounds of zucchini which is about 5 small zucchini or 3 large zucchini.
  • Part-skim vs. whole milk ricotta: Whole milk ricotta has a richer, creamier texture while part-skim will save you some calories and fat. Both work great, it’s up to you.
  • Mozzarella vs. parmesan: I suggest using both! In this recipe, I mix the ricotta and parmesan together and grate the mozzarella on top. I love the variety of cheeses.

Helpful tip: The beauty of lasagna is that you can pack it with any thinly sliced vegetable such as mushrooms, spinach, onions, or eggplant. You can even slice pumpkin or sweet potato as alternating slices with the zucchini. The possibilities are endless!

A slice of zucchini lasagna on a plate

How to Make Zucchini Less Watery

You may recall from my zucchini noodles post that zucchini is 95% water. That means when you cook it, it will naturally become watery. But if you’re looking to have a little less juice in your lasagna, I do have a few tips:

  • Slice your zucchini into thinner slices: Thinner slices mean fewer zucchini, thus less water.
  • Salt your zucchini slices: Salt helps to draw water out of the zucchini! Once salted, let them sit for 15 minutes before blotting dry (and removing some of that salt) with a paper towel.
  • Grill to reduce the moisture: Grill the zucchini slices for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Personally, I don’t mind if my zucchini is a bit more watery. I just scoop out a portion of lasagna with a spatula with holes, which drains any water. But feel free to use the method that works best for you.

Lastly, note that this recipe also uses more zucchini than other zucchini lasagnas, as the slices are layered on top of each other. So it will come out a bit more watery than expected. I personally love biting into the chunks of zucchini, so my motto is the more the better!

How to Cut Zucchini for Lasagna

You can use a mandoline, peeler, or vegetable sheet cutter. But because many people don’t own a vegetable sheet cutter, I’m showing you how to cut your zucchini using a mandolin or a peeler today. I prefer a mandolin because it allows me to control the thickness of my zucchini. Plus, I find it to be faster and easier than a peeler.

How To Make Zucchini Lasagna

Slice the zucchini lengthwise. If you’d like to make your lasagna less watery, use one of the tips above.

Sliced zucchini on a plate

Make the bolognese sauce. In a large pan, cook the ground beef until it’s perfectly browned. Then, stir in the pasta sauce.

Cooking bolognese in a pan

Make the ricotta mix. Stir together the ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, and some salt and pepper in a separate bowl.

Ricotta mix for zucchini. lasagna in a bowl

Add the first set of layers. First, spread some pasta sauce onto the bottom of the casserole dish. Second, layer zucchini slices on top. Third, add half of the bolognese sauce. Lastly, evenly spread half of the ricotta mixture, with sprinkles of grated mozzarella, parsley, and basil on top.

Layering zucchini lasagna in a casserole dish

Repeat these layers one more time. Feel free to press down on your zucchini in the second layer to get it nice and flat. Then top the last zucchini layer with extra herbs and grated mozzarella.

Prepping zucchini lasagna

Bake the lasagna. Cook it for about 40 minutes, then let it broil for 5 minutes to get a nice golden brown top. Garnish with whole basil leaves and serve!

A casserole dish of zucchini lasagna

Storage Tips

  • To store for the week: Once the lasagna has cooled, place it in an airtight container. It will keep for 4 to 5 days in the fridge. 
  • Freeze for later: This is one of my favorite freezer-friendly meals! I recommend pre-slicing the lasagna before storing individual portions in a freezer-safe container. It will keep for up to 3 months.
A slice of zucchini lasagna

More Zucchini Recipes

If you still have an abundance of zucchini, these zucchini recipes are the best of the best!

I’m confident that this zucchini lasagna will instantly become a dinner favorite. Once you make it, let me know how it turned out in the comment box below!

Zucchini lasagna in a baking dish

Zucchini Lasagna Recipe (Not Watery)

4.94 from 163 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This zucchini lasagna recipe puts a delicious, veggie spin on a classic comfort food dish. Bonus, it's perfect for a low-carb dinner idea! Watch the video below to see how to make it!

Video

Ingredients 
 

  • 4 large zucchini
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 24 ounces pasta sauce
  • 15 ounce ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan regianno
  • 1 ½ cups mozzarella
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • small handful fresh parsley and basil , chopped

Instructions 

  • Slice zucchini. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin slices, as thin or thick as you'd like. Set aside.
    Sliced zucchini for lasagna
  • Make bolognese. Add the ground beef to a large pan over medium-high heat. Finely break down the ground beef with a spatula and pan-fry until browned and no longer pink. Then, pour the pasta sauce on top (remember to reserve 1/2 cup) and stir together, then remove from heat.
    A pan with ground beef and pasta sauce
  • Make ricotta mix. In a medium bowl, make the ricotta mix by stirring together the ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, salt and pepper.
    A bowl of ricotta mix
  • Add the first layers. Spread 1/2 cup of pasta sauce onto the bottom of your 9×13-inch casserole dish. Then add your zucchini slices on top of the pasta sauce. They can overlap or you can place them side-by-side.
    Layering pasta sauce and zucchini for lasagna
  • Add the secondary layers. Top the zucchini with 1/2 of the bolognese sauce, and evenly spread 1/2 the ricotta mix on top of that. Then, add 1/2 cup of grated mozzarella with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and basil.
    Layering cheese in zucchini lasagna
  • Repeat these layers one more time.
    Layering a zucchini lasagna in baking dish
  • Finish the topping. Top the lasagna with a final layer of zucchini slices, a sprinkle of chopped parsley and basil, and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.
    Zucchini lasagna before baking
  • Bake. Place the lasagna in the oven and cook for 40 to 45 minutes. Broil for a couple of minutes to get a nice golden top. Garnish with whole basil leaves and serve.
    A white baking dish of zucchini lasagna

Lisa’s Tips

  • I used store-bought pasta sauce (I love Rao’s) but if you’d like to make your bolognese from scratch, you can follow my bolognese recipe.
  • This is the mandoline I love…and don’t forget to use cut resistant gloves as well.  Your fingers will thank you! 
  • The casserole dish is 9×13 for those looking for exact measurements. 

Nutrition

Calories: 362kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 603mg | Potassium: 626mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 720IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 270mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Zucchini Lasagna, Zucchini Lasagna Recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted September 2019, but updated to include new information.

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




455 Comments

  1. I saw your zucchini lasagna video on YouTube yesterday. I saw you using the Kitchenaid Vegetable Sheet Cutter and I just had to order me one so I could make all those yummy healthy recipes of yours. I’m looking forward to making this lasagna first.

    1. Looks delicious and so excited to make it. If we have an egg allergy would you just leave it out or add something else as an alternative? 

  2. I made this up tonight real quick after tea. All of the family took one taste and said this is real good it tastes nice healthy!!5 stars

  3. Looking forward to make this during the Christmas holiday.  Beautiful presentation with the fresh basil leaves. Appreciate also the detailed printed instructions as well as the video.  

  4. We like this recipe better than traditional lasagna because the zucchini adds a little flavor that pasta noodles simply don’t have. I’m not totally gluten-free, but I avoid it whenever there is a good alternative… especially with zucchini & other squashes.5 stars

  5. A great, healthier alternative to traditional pasta lasagna. I love that it keeps well in the fridge for great tasting leftovers. I had to use a vegetable peeler but definitely recommend a mandoline for thicker, more consistent slices. We used Rao’s pasta sauce and sprinkled grated Parmesan in with the mozzarella. It came out so good! A week later and it still tasted amazing! 5 stars

  6. I am not gluten-free, but this was great! I’ve been looking for a lasagna recipe that didn’t make me feel super heavy afterwards, and I found it!5 stars

  7. Wow! Just made this!!!! So good. We have dairy allergy so made with goat cheese! It’s deliciousness! I wish I could add a picture!5 stars

    1. Yay! So glad you loved this lasagna recipe Candace. Oh, and if you would like to share your photo with the Facebook community group – that would be amazing! You can find it on my Facebook page to join :)

  8. Oh Yum!! This was delicious! My picky husband groaned when I said I was making zucchini lasagna-he is allergic to anything healthy sounding. Anyway……he loved it! I only used 1.1 lb ground beef-but otherwise followed the recipe. I did put zucchini slices in the oven to dry them out first-but other than the amount of ground beef-that’s the only difference. This recipe was fabulous!!! Thank you Lisa! Your recipes and website are amazing. Thank you and blessings to you:)5 stars

  9. I wish in this section, you would have noted to divide the zucchini instead of “ Place your zucchini slices on top of the pasta sauce, then add 1/2 of the bolognese sauce and spread 1/2 of the ricotta mix evenly on top of that.”  based on these instructions, I have only one layer with a lot of zucchini :(

    1. Thanks for clarifying that Lynn! I will make note of that – but hopefully you can get more insight as to how each step looks through the video as well :)

  10. The whole family loved this recipe.  I even had a jar of Rao’s marinara in the pantry.  I used about 4 cups of shredded garden fresh zucchini (well squeezed) so it ended up being more like a casserole.  I will definitely be making this again!5 stars

    1. Lisa, this is a brilliant idea, thank you! My son always frowns when he finds out my lasagna isn’t ‘real’ lasagna, haha! I think if the zucchini are shredded he won’t notice it as much. Definitely going to give this method a try!

  11. I have to give this a 5 star rating because it looks so delicious. I’ve yet to make it but I know this will be as good as it looks.
    I do have two questions though, can I add a layer or two of roasted red peppers, or will that upset the balance of things? And, will this freeze well before baking it?
    I have so many Zucchinis ready to eat at once so I’d like to prepare some meals in advance.5 stars

    1. Hi Donna, I used red peppers AND sweet potato, for one recipie, then wizzed up mushrooms and onions (mixed with ground turkey) for the another recipie…. BOTH froze well and were VERY tasty. Good luck with yours… anything goes when veggies are concerned. :-)

  12. I followed your tip about salting the zuccini and letting it sit, then blotting dry. Five paper towels later and puddles all over the work space (literally)l as I left the zuccini slices on a cutting board for this process, lasagna was still watery AND intolerably salty. Such a disappointment and waste of time and resources.

    1. Hi Geneva – Yes, as zucchini is 95% water, quite a bit will be released from it. If you watched the video above you’ll see that I salted the zucchini in a baking pan, to catch the moisture, and then removed much of the salt with a paper towel afterwards. I hope your next try is better!

    2. Wanted to love this but as it reads this recipe was void of any flavor…little to no spice/herbs not even garlic! Instead of the salt method to remove moisture I sliced then baked the slices in 400° oven for 10 min before hand and that was successful..perhaps a different sauce would help but I had even added minced garlic and Italian seasoning and basil to the meat and still blah? Wonder if the zucchini ‘drains’ the flavor? ( I first tried this recipe with the salt procedure and although I wiped the zucchini down with paper towels it was unbearably salty).3 stars

      1. The sauce I use is a garlic basil sauce that has a delicious flavor. But if you’re just using a plain tomato sauce, then yes, you can always add additional spices.

  13. Thank you. The flavor profile is good, and the techniques to slicing the zucchini is spot on ( I am buying another mandoline for slicing veggies longways – my husband bought me a “safe one” that allows for only a tomato-sized veggie) The reason for trying this recipe was the “less watery” promise. Unfortunately, that was not the case, but the flavor was there; like Autumn Hardie cays, I added lots of fresh and dried herbs to up the “lasagna-ness” of the dish. I like the recommendation fo the thinness to cutting the zucchini. All in all, a keeper of a recipe, but some investigation for “less wateriness” is necessary. Thank you again for inspiring me to try this. No-Carb is mostly no fun, but this was fun.

    1. Hi Whitney – I’m happy you loved the recipe! Yes, it’s always a struggle to make zucchini lasagna completely free of water (given that it’s 95% water), but hopefully the tips I provided made it less watery than what would have normally occurred. Which recommended method did you use? You can also combine several of those methods to achieve a less watery version in the future.

    1. This is the best!  I sliced the zucchini with a mandolin, placed in the oven rack at 200 degrees for the time it took me to do the rest, no salt, and they dried up well.  
      When it comes to seasoning, I always add a little more of what I’m used to using in Italian cooking.  
      I’ve done this 2 times, but the last one I had to improvise for a vegetarian and a lactose intolerant.  Waiting for the results now!!

  14. I made this once a couple of weeks ago and I am going to be making it again this evening for a family member who is eating low carb and having a procedure done tomorrow. I did a couple of very minor things to help make this flavor explode: 1) Use tomato, onion, and garlic pasta sauce and 2) Substitute regular salt with seasoned salt.5 stars

  15. I wanted to add alternating slices of sweet potato as you mentioned in your post. Do you recommend I cook or par-boil the sliced sweet potatoes before assembling the lasagna?

  16. I made this and it was even more delicious and filling than I had imagined.  Even my husband (hesitant to try ‘healthy’ recipes) gave it a five-star rating!  Very simple to make and feeds a happy family!5 stars

  17. It’s an excellent recipe! I usually don’t care much for zucchini, it’s too weird vegetable for me I guess. This lasagne, you can’t really tell it’s not real pasta :). I used vegetable peeler to cut zucchini and since my sauce was thicker side, end dish was not watery at all. What I love about this recipe, you can make it and eat it the same day;  with regular lasagne, I make sauce one day and bake an actual lasagne next day because otherwise I’d just starve :). Thanks for great recipe, Lisa :)! 5 stars

  18. I finally came round to making this beautiful dish. It is a bit of a work, but I just love Sundays for playing around in the kitchen. Even though we are a family of four, there were still enough left-overs, so my freezer is very happy. I told the kids we were eating lasagna, but left out the part that I used zucchini instead of pasta. They loved it, so today was a big win ;-)5 stars

    1. This recipe does take a bit of time, but definitely worth it once it’s all done! Plus, it makes for great leftovers as well :)

  19. This is so good! Even my anti keto husband really liked it! Will definitely be making this dish again!5 stars

    1. Happy to hear your husband enjoyed this lasagna recipe! Now you have a winning dish you can always come back to :)

  20. I posted this question under the fritters recipe but should’ve posted here. What’s the bakeware brand for the zucchini lasagna? Building up my latest amazon order, might as well add this as I don’t have a rectangular piece this size.

    1. Hi Craig – unfortunately, this is an old pan and no longer available online. But any 9×13 casserole pan should work!

  21. delicious!!! Will be making again! I used 1 pound Italian sausage and 1 pound ground chuck. It was a bit too watery for me so next time I will bake the zucchini before assembling it. Flavorful, light, and delicious!5 stars

  22. This is so good! I didn’t want to buy fresh herbs, so I used dried Italian seasoning and basil pesto and it came out amazing! If this was at a restaurant, I would order it again :) thank you for sharing!5 stars

  23. This was so delicious!   I subbed beyond beef for the ground beef and it turned out great!  Will definitely add this to the rotation.5 stars

    1. Oh no! Make sure to pat your zucchini dry or bake it in the oven with salt so it has time to remove enough moisture :)

  24. I didn’t have sour cream so I used Greek yogurt, and I added garlic and onion powder to the meat. Also used ground turkey instead of beef. It was SO delicious, everyone had seconds!  I had to leave it in the oven for 50 mins. Honestly though, I wish I would’ve made it the night before because as everyone else said- it tasted even BETTER the following day. 5 stars

    1. So glad this recipe was a success! And yes, this lasagna makes for great leftovers the next day as well :)

  25. Just my little tip for preventing watery zucchini – whether mandolined, sliced, diced or spiralized – is to place in the fridge in an airtight container between layers of paper towel the day before. No more watery zucchini! Works EVERY time!

  26. This was excellent – so light and flavorful!  I will definitely make it again!    I think I liked it best the following day after it sat and 5e flavors melded. I salted the zucchini to get rid of some of the water!  Thanks for creating this!5 stars

  27. Delicious!! Made this a day ahead. I salted the zucchini and let it sit 1/2 hour. I didn’t have enough to do the final layer of zucchini on top, so it was 2 layers. I baked it as directed and it was golden brown on top, didn’t need the broiler. I let it sit on the counter, draining off accumulated water as necessary (there was alot). When it was cool, I refrigerated it, covered. It was wonderful the next day! Raves from the husband! I will be making this often!5 stars

  28. This recipe was soooooooo goood!!!!! My gf and I made this for the guys and they loved it! The only thing we changed was that we salted the zucchini and then baked it for 10 minutes and then left it to dry with paper towels until we were ready to bake! The boys already requested more! Awesome recipe! 5 stars

    1. Hi Carli- I’m so glad everyone enjoyed this zucchini lasagna! And good idea on salting, as that’s another way to remove moisture :)

    1. Hi Marlene- You can find ways to prep this in the post! But I might suggest to freeze this after it’s been baked instead. Otherwise your zucchini might become very watery in the freezer.

  29. I made it a few nights ago! Delicious! Only issue I had was when turning to broil (I’ve never used broil before) I burned the top layer of cheese! But I just pulled that part off and ate the rest! Oh my goodness….so good! Will be making this again!5 stars

    1. Hi Jamie – Oh no! Sounds like your broiler was too strong for this. But, I’m glad the rest of it was a success!

  30. Omg! This was wonderful! My husband raved about it! It was delicious and very easy to make. 5 stars

  31. Can you Make Ahead a store in fridge for the day or will be too soggy? Thanks! Love your videos and the substance! 

  32. Using that much meat with no garlic, onion powder, parsley, oregano, paprika, anise, or other seasonings in the meat is an absolute no no for lasagna, I know from experience. Ground beef sucks up so much seasonings and salt it’s ridiculous. Basically this is just an assembly tips. I’ve used that sauce before its excellent but can’t make plain ground meat taste good.

    1. Hi Dess – you can certainly add additional flavor to the meat if you’d like. But you can tell from the numerous positive reviews, than many love this recipe as it’s written. Give it a try!

  33. How much time should you add if you’re heating it up from frozen? And should we cover it to cook or not? 

    1. Hi Jessica – no, you don’t need to cover it while cooking. And it depends on how big/how many pieces you’re heating up. If it’s just one piece, I’d start with a minute and go from there.

    1. Glad this recipe turned out perfectly! Yes, this can freeze well and you can read more about storage instructions written in the post :)

  34. We have made this twice in the last two weeks! Love that this has the flavor of traditional lasagna but it’s much easier to make and you don’t feel so weighed down eating it since the zucchini replaces pasta! The second time we made this we added garlic, celery, onion and carrots to the ground beef/pasta mixture to sneak in some more veggies and it was delicious!5 stars

    1. I’m happy you loved the recipe Danielle! And yay for all those additional veggies you added – smart move!

  35. Enlightening! That’s simply the best lasagna recipe ever. I’m so glad I found your channel. This Lasagna recipe is just as good as the conventional but you’re not left felling heavy or guilty after eating it. It’s just perfect.5 stars

    1. Hi Karina- So glad you found Downshiftology and that this is now your favorite lasagna recipe!

  36. I’ve made this recipe a couple of times and posted the results last time in a local cooking page called COOKVID 19. My mom commented she wanted me to make it for her. Preparing it now for Mother’s Day dinner tomorrow. I always think it’s better the next day! 😊 Thanks for the great recipe! 5 stars

    1. Amazing! I’m so glad you enjoyed this zucchini lasagna so much. Hope your mother enjoys this during this special day :)