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)

4.92 from 171 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




472 Comments

  1. I’ll confess I’m not the hugest zucchini fan, but tried the recipe in trying to eat more healthy. I was afraid of watery lasagna, so I followed directions to slice thin on my mandolin, and grilled the zucchini slices to draw out excess moisture. After the brief grilling, the veggie slices were thin like tissue paper. This made the dish have no texture. Mostly seemed like herbed ricotta cheese. I missed the feel of the lasagna pasta noodles. I’ll have to try slightly thicker slices next time. Recipe could use a recommended thickness that gives substance without making it watery or taste too much like the zucchini.3 stars

  2. Haven’t made this yet, but intend to this coming week. Not sure why one comment said she took the foil off the last 20 minutes. You replied you were glad that she did. I don’t understand. Foil was never on it. Did I miss something?

    1. I don’t use foil for this recipe, but you absolutely can if you’d like. If you do, that reader made a good point to take it off in the last 20 minutes so the zucchini doesn’t get too watery.

  3. I’m gonna just say this: my teenage son who is a very picky eater gave this lasagna 5 stars.
    Thank you for this recipe!5 stars

      1. We are cutting back on carbs so this recipe looks very interesting. I am concerned about zucchini make for a watery dish. Any thoughts?
        TIA

      2. This will naturally produce liquid, but I have a few tips written in the post to prevent that!

  4. Hi…

    Which method releases more moisture…
    salting and sweating the zucchini?
    Or grilling it?
    Would you salt it before grilling?
    Thanks

  5. Made this a few days ago. Me and my Wife both loved it!! SOOOOOO GOOD! Great alternative to Pasta. I will be buying the sheet slicer attachment for my KitchenAid mixer. But my mandolin slicer worked really well. I also tried both methods of drying the zuchini. I liked the salt method better than the pan drying method, but the pan browning looked better so I used those slices for the top layer.5 stars

  6. Fantastic recipe. The only change I made was using ground turkey and ground veal because that’s what I had. If you’re using jarred sauce, definitely spring for Rao’s-it’s the best as suggested by Lisa. If you can find an Italian heirloom zucchini, use that-much less water. I’ll be making this again soon since I’m swimming in zucchini from my garden5 stars

  7. Thank you for this recipe! It is now on the menu rotation. My husband is not a huge fan of zucchini and he was blown away by how it tasted. I used ground bison and turkey for the Bolognese with homemade sauce and doubled the ricotta (we love cheese). I cooked it uncovered and broiled for 3 minutes at the end. Served it with a Caesar salad, “Against the Grain” baguettes with diced tomatoes and red bell pepper from the garden and balsamic dipping oil. I appreciate your tips and tricks on this one!5 stars

  8. This turned out fantastic! The last 15 minutes I took the foil off of of it and then I let it sit for a good 20 minutes and it wasn’t watery at all. It was great. I will definitely make this again.

    1. Good call on taking off the foil in the last 20 minutes, Holly. Happy to hear this recipe turned out great!

  9. Excellent. I opted for salting the zucchini prior to assembly and it worked perfectly. We’ve had to move to low carb for medical reasons and it was so wonderful to have those delicious lasagna flavors again. Didn’t feel like we were missing out on anything.5 stars

  10. This is an awesome recipe! I made it with ground turkey with sautéed onion instead of ground beef.

  11. This recipe is absolutely delicious. I make it a lot but I use 1 lb of hot Italian sausage (casing removed) & 1 lb of ground beef……or Lordy it kicks up the flavour. Also, with my last 2 times I’ve made it, I slice the zucchini then lay the slices on paper towels, salt it to sweat it & cover it. I cook the bolognese sauce & the assemble the following day. Sweating the zucchini is VERY IMPORTANT for a dryer finished lasagna. This freezes amazingly well & still isn’t watery.5 stars

    1. 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.

  12. Made this dish today! I had three zucchinis that I needed to use. Saw your recipe yesterday and made it today. With my gluten issues it was the perfect dish to make. Thanks for posting. 

    1. Perfect timing! Glad you were able to put those last three zucchinis to good use with this lasagna :)

      1. I made my own sauce and put a dry lasagna noodles on the bottom hoping it absorbs the zucchini juices. Wish me luck!

  13. Made this tonight. Added garlic and bell pepper to ground beef. Used a Kroger brand of sauce. It was delicious!

    1. Hi Gale – sorry you didn’t enjoy the recipe. It sounds like you may have pre-salted the zucchini. If you go that route, make sure to wipe off some of the added salt, as I mention in the video. You can always try one of the other methods for making the zucchini lasagna less watery, like grilling, next time. :)

  14. Made this zucchini lasagna for the first time and everyone loved it. It was delicious. I will definitely make it again. Thank you so much for your great recipes. ❤️5 stars

  15. This was a total 10!  I was afraid it was going to be bland but it wasn’t, probably bc of the Reggiano cheese.  I used a turkey baster to get out excess water from the corners and when we ate it was not watery at all! This recipe really held up. I’m super impressed and it will become a regular.   5 stars

  16. It’s my 7th time making this everybody absolutely loves it!! Zucchini stays a little crisp And has the consistency of a noodle!

  17. A little more advanced information about cutting the zucchini. Explain that you need 4 whole zucchini cut into 1/4 sections to make “multiple” zucchini layers before advancing into the recipe and finding out you needed to cut it multiple times to make another layer.

  18. I made this for my family this week! Not only was it easy to make but it was delicious, and we had plenty of leftovers for the next 2 days! I am adding it to my monthly rotation.4 stars

      1. I just finished eating this and am super impressed and far more filling than expected. I used mostly Rugosa Friulano summer squash and a green zucchini. I didn’t have a strong enough peeler so I did my best cutting as fine as I could with a large knife.5 stars

  19. WOW! I would have never thought that I was able to make lasagna. It took me a long while to prepare everything, because I am slow in the kitchen, but it turned out amazing. So delicious, yet light!! I love it! Can’t wait to eat it tomorrow as well haha.5 stars

  20. I make this often and it makes a LOT of food. Sometimes I get a bit bored of eating it. Never thought it would freeze well but last time I  made it in 2 smaller casseroles and froze one, just to see. It freezes wonderfully!! I was pleasantly surprised. The ricotta got a tiny bit grainy but besides that it was great. I defrosted in the fridge then baked at 350 for about …. Honestly I can’t remember. But checked the temp with a thermometer. I’ll update next time I make a frozen pan. I might try it with cottage cheese to see how that freezes. 5 stars

  21. This is the best recipe ever! My family begs for me to make this. My husband who does not like lasagna loves this recipe. Thank you for sharing it.5 stars

  22. I LOVED the idea of this recipe. I feel like certain breads and pastas are causing me some digestive issues, so I was really happy to come across this recipe.

    I am a home cook, using grandma’s recipes and things I find on the internet. Self-taught. So…

    I screwed this meal up by not caring for my ground beef. I could have seasoned and cooked it slightly less before adding the pasta sauce.

    I regretfully chose a cheap store-brand pasta sauce and this made it less tasty. Next time, I will make my own pasta sauce.

    Lastly, without a mandolin slicer or other way to cut uniform slices of zucchini, this is REALLY hard. Mine ended up tasting okay, maybe even good, but could have been so much better if I’d used uniform zucchini.

    The recipe itself was good. I often try to make certain recipes even if I don’t have the best ingredients or tools and but this is one that needs all the right stuff.

    Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  23. I made this for dinner this evening but substituted the ground beef with TVP (for the vegetarians in my family) and cottage cheese for the ricotta (I couldn’t find any in the store) and it was exquisite. Loved by the entire family. I will certainly be making this again. Thank you !5 stars

  24. Amazing recipe that I make often. It firms up and gets less watery in the fridge over night – I’m not sure how but it does. I’ve never er tried freezing it but I just might today- it’s enough for a lot of meals and I get kind of tired of it, ha!! Do NOT use low fat ricotta! I bought it by accident last time and it baked up like rubber. Eek. I do like adding kale, arugula or spinach too! 

  25. I followed the directions to the letter.  It looks beautiful and tastes good. For me, next time I will add garlic and maybe mushrooms.  

    My lasagna did not hold together. 

    I don’t see how large a portion is.  Any chance of finding out?  Thanks. 

    Great video. 4 stars

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe Bryna! There are 12 servings in this recipe, so I usually slice the lasagna lengthwise down the middle, then across 5 times for 12 portions.

  26. I love this recipe!!!  You do not miss the pasta at all!!!  I make a big dish and freeze and take to work for my meal prep.   5 stars

  27. If freezing the zucchini lasagna should it be baked first?  I have two pans and don’t want to use it now. 

  28. I slipped a layer of no cook lasagna noodles under the zucchini to absorb the water. It makes a very hearty complete meal.

  29. I loved this recipe! Finally a good recipe to use up my zucchini. Making another batch tomorrow to freeze. One of the secrets is the thin slices. Used my mandolin and followed recipes exactly except had to cook mine alittle longer to soften up the zucchini more. Excellent recipe.5 stars

  30. Fairly good recipe.  The cooking time is way off, however.  It should be 400 degrees for a maximum of 30 minutes.  Anything more than 35 minutes will result in browned cheese.  Maybe try 350 degrees for 40 minutes instead?3 stars

    1. Thanks for the suggestion Rob! Every oven heats differently. So if you find that it gets burned a bit at the top, cook it for a bit less time, or the option you suggested.

  31. Family enjoyed, I grilled the zucchini slices with olive oil and garlic salt before arranging the dish.  

  32. I made this for a friend who is gluten free and took a third of the ingredients to made my husband and I a mini lasagna (used a bread pan).  I used one pound of ground beef and one pound of hot Italian sausage, a mandolin to slice the zucchini, and the salt method to draw the water out of the zucchini. Delicious!  My new favorite lasagna recipe. 5 stars

  33. I baked the zucchini slices on parchment paper after salting & drying. Came out perfect & so tasty.  In the sauce I added fresh basil, diced romas, sautéed chopped  onion, carrots & zucchini for a chunky garden style. Everything was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend. 

  34. Hi! Excited to try this with hearty chopped mushrooms as the “ground beef” to the recipe. Do you see any downsides to putting all the layers together and then keeping it in the fridge for several hours before cooking?