Updated Aug 03, 2023
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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.
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!
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!
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.
Make the bolognese sauce. In a large pan, cook the ground beef until it’s perfectly browned. Then, stir in the pasta sauce.
Make the ricotta mix. Stir together the ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, and some salt and pepper in a separate 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.
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.
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!
- 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.
More Zucchini Recipes
If you still have an abundance of zucchini, these zucchini recipes are the best of the best!
- Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Bread
- Pizza Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- Zucchini and Prosciutto Egg Muffins
- Baked Zucchini Fries
- Zucchini Noodle Caprese
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 Recipe (Not Watery)
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Make ricotta mix. In a medium bowl, make the ricotta mix by stirring together the ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, salt and pepper.
- 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.
- 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.
- Repeat these layers one more time.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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Recipe originally posted September 2019, but updated to include new information.