Zucchini Lasagna

472 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

Jump to RecipeJump to Video

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.

You May Also Like

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.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you for sharing your feedback!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




472 Comments

  1. Not sure why … turned out quite flavorless and liquidy. Next time I’ll add an onion and garlic to the ground meat as well as drain the meat. Otherwise, a very easy to follow recipe.3 stars

    1. Did you use pasta sauce or just regular tomato sauce? Pasta sauce usually already has a lot of flavor so if you used tomato sauce you’d need to add a bunch of spices not listed

  2. Just made this tonight. Delicious. I cut the meat in half and instead added some mushrooms, onion and garlic. I did salt the meat but next time I’ll probably skip that since I did find it a tad too salty, even if I wiped the zucchini really well. Still a bit soupy but delicious. Doesn’t look great but it tastes amazing. Thank you Lisa!5 stars

    1. Did you use pasta sauce or just regular tomato sauce? Pasta sauce usually already has a lot of flavor so if you used tomato sauce you’d need to add a bunch of spices not listed

  3. Yes I made, I definitely would’ve used more zucchini to overlap the slices. I made with a vegetable sauce in lieu of meat since I don’t eat meat on Fridays.
    I’m gong to try to make alternating gluten free ready to bake lasagna pasta and the zucchini slices to be heartier for the hubby ;-) as well as adding the bolognese sauce for our daughter5 stars

    1. Hi Marge – You can a bit to reduce some of the moisture (I have some tips in the post about that).

  4. This was my first time making zucchini lasagna. I followed the recipe as exact as possible but there is no way that 15 oz of Ricotta was enough to cover both layers, I had to use an entire 32 oz container to cover both layers. I also tried to make mine as low sodium as possible using Pomi Marinara Sauce. I also used ground turkey instead of ground beef it is in the oven now, so I am excited to see how it turns out.3 stars

    1. Hi Randy – did you watch my video above to see how I make this recipe? While I did use 15 ounces of ricotta, you could certainly use more if you’d like. I do apply a thin layer of it. Hope you still enjoyed the recipe!

    1. Yes, I freeze leftovers of it all the time. It’s delicious reheated! It does get a little bit more “juicy” but still tastes wonderful to me!

  5. Can eggplant be substituted for zucchini? If so does it need to be salted & blotted prior to assembly like the zucchini?
    Thx!

  6. Mine turned out super soupy, but my meat to sauce ratio was a little off so I’m not sure if that was the cause or the zucchini. I used one can of raos and then 1.5 pounds of beef. It still tasted delish. I will work on this next time!4 stars

  7. This is definitely a keeper. I made this twice in two weeks. Came out amazing both times. I printed it and put 5 stars at the top of the recipe as reminder! Soooo good.5 stars

  8. My son and I have made this three times. It gets better everytime. The last time we made it, I only got one serving. He absolutely loves this recipe.5 stars

    1. I didn’t have ricotta cheese on hand, my kids get picky about it, so I used sour cream, 1 egg, shredded cheese and Parm cheese for the cheese layer, and I also added onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, and bell pepper seasoning to the cheese mixture for added flavor.I also used 3 pounds of ground beef and two containers of sauce(one garlic one mushroom). I used 4 zucchini total…I used a larger plan than a 9×13 . My family of 5 can eat! And I’d like left overs so I don’t have to cook tomorrow, it’s almost done in the oven now, can’t wait to see how it came out!5 stars

  9. I love this recipe! I am diabetic and recently started learning to cook healthier meals and this was one of my first. I usually salt my zucchini then I dry it off, and let it bake at 275° until they are dry. The way I make the lasagna, it is very time consuming but I add a lot of extra veggies into my meat mixture, ie: onion, celery, tomatoes, and this time I added carrots and spinach. I am single but when I make this, I have lunches and dinners for the whole week and if I get tired of it, I freeze what’s left! Thank you for sharing this recipe!!5 stars

  10. Hi Lisa,

    This is a fantastic recipe, so yummy and easy to make. I sliced the zucchini quite thin and salted it, worked great. My son, who loathes zucchini ate it and happily took it for lunch the next day. That’s a win!5 stars

  11. I thought this was just lovely. I added 2 garlic cloves and an onion to the meat, mostly out of habit. I sliced my zucchini with a veggie peeler. Everything came out wonderful, and not watery at all.
    Thank you for this recipe!5 stars

  12. I made this tonight but I did not use meat sauce and I added fresh spinach. It was amazing! Will surely make again!

    1. Hi Steph – I’d recommend swapping it for a vegetarian filling, like sautéed mushrooms, tofu, or cooked lentils.

  13. This is my favorite lasagne recipe! I do salt my zucchini to draw out the water and it is a go to for family dinners!5 stars

  14. I just made this today and it was easy and delicious!!! I have to say, I did add 1/2 of a chopped onion and some garlic to the ground beef because we love extra flavor. Otherwise everything was the same and we enjoyed it, will be adding to the dinner rotation. Thank you for this recipe!5 stars

    1. Myrtle, if you didn’t pour any liquid off the ground beef before adding the sauce, try that. And, perhaps let it simmer a little longer. I usually let it simmer until the sauce begins to thicken up.

    1. I recommend pre-slicing the lasagna before storing individual portions in a freezer-safe container. It will keep for up to 3 months! As for reheating, you can do either.

  15. To begin with, the recipe should have stated right at the start that the slices should be a minimum of 1/4 inch thick. Perhaps my comment here would have been totally different. However, after 9 hrs in the kitchen making and baking the zucchini lasagna and clean up of all the pans and bowls, I will never make it again. I’m very surprised no one commented on what happens if your mandolin only has a thin slicer on it. I had 4 lg zucchini and the slices were so thin you could see through them; they tore very easily. I laid them on paper towels and salted them. After 15 minutes, there was so much water released, it was unbelievable. I actually used a whole roll of paper towels to blot the water off top and bottom and to wipe the salt off each skinny slice. I had large cookie trays and bottom part of several lg grill pans all over my kitchen to lay out these very, very thin, straggly slices of zucchini. The top and bottom slice of each zucchini was almost all peel, which I didn’t use at all. Did not like the final product one bit. I will stick to my regular, delicious, easy to make noodle lasagna.

    1. Laura this sounds like a “you” issue more than the OP’s. No one asked you to slice your zucchini that thin, to add that much salt to them, or to spend 9 hours in the kitchen on a simple lasagna recipe. If you’re that confused and frazzled by this simple recipe then perhaps you shouldn’t be cooking at all.

    2. I think my total prep time is 30 min. I always just free slice my zucchini and/or eggplant a little thick. I have salted and baked with success, just let it sit till ready to assemble after blotting with paper towels ( not a entire roll!). The sauce is simple to make. Mine always comes out perfect with no liquid, it’s even better after its refrigerated to frim up, then slice.5 stars

  16. Love this recipe and it’s better than traditional zucchini in my opinion. I’ve made it countless times and again tonight while I’m visiting my parents. It’s so good I literally make it for everyone I can!5 stars

  17. Delicious! Thanks for the yummy recipe! Warning though: I used a giant old zucchini and I should have peeled it as the skin was hard in the dish so if you’re using an old zucchini, peel it before slicing!5 stars

    1. I made this recipe tonight for my daughter and myself. We are both on a keto diet and this recipe was keto friendly. I made a traditional pasta lasagne for my husband and my son. I have to say I enjoyed the zucchini lasagne much more. Thank you for providing such a healthy and delicious recipe.5 stars

  18. I have made this recipe over and over and it is a hit every time. I’m wondering if anyone has made it with pasta noodles. I have a request for lasagna.5 stars

    1. Glad you enjoyed this zucchini lasagna! I haven’t tried this with pasta noodles, but I’m sure you can just replace the zucchini slices with pasta sheets.