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Beef & Zucchini Lasagna

I used to have a massive garden that was often taken over by zucchini. I complained because it would outshine many of my other plants, but now I miss it! I haven’t had a garden for two years (and absolutely plan to build one next spring!) and I want to have so much zucchini I don’t know what to do with it. It was such a good problem to have!

I would shred loads of it, package it up in containers and freeze it. And throughout the cooler months I’d take some out and make zucchini banana bread, zucchini muffins or add it to soups and casseroles.

Since I don’t have a garden right now, I’ve been frequenting our local farmer’s market where there is plenty zucchini to go around. And my new favorite recipe is Beef & Zucchini Lasagna. It has no pasta, but you honestly don’t miss it! I am a huge pasta lover, so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to just swap some out for zucchini, but decided to go all in – and I wasn’t disappointed! The zucchini maintains a really nice texture (no mush!) and pairs so well with the beef, Italian herbs and spices, tomato sauce and, of course, mozzarella cheese.

I’ll be eating this lasagna for days, and I’m not mad about it. And you should try it, too.

Now, tell me – how have you been preparing zucchini this summer?

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Beef & Zucchini Lasagna

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 65 mins
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stove-Top, Baking

Description

A fun twist on traditional lasagna using zucchini instead of pasta!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 5 medium zucchini, sliced ⅛-inch thick lengthwise
  • 1 tsp. kosher or sea salt, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning, divided
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 24 oz. jars lower sodium marinara
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 16 oz. cottage cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Line the zucchini on a baking sheet and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Let sit 10 minutes, then pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan to medium heat. Add the onion and ground beef and sauté 6-7 minutes, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until browned. Stir in the spinach and garlic and sauté 2-3 minutes or until spinach is wilted, stirring constantly. Stir in ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning, the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt, ground black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir in the marinara and remove from the heat. Stir in one egg until combined.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the cottage cheese, egg and remaining ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning.
  5. Start by spooning some of the marinara meat mixture into the bottom of the baking dish and spreading it in an even layer. Then, layer with zucchini strips, followed by another layer of marinara meat mixture, followed by a layer of the cottage cheese mixture and a layer of mozzarella cheese. Repeat until ingredients are used up, finishing with a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese on top.
  6. Bake 35-40 minutes or until lasagna is bubbly and the cheese is golden brown on top. Let cool 15-20 minutes, then slice and serve.

Notes

Cooking Tip: Salting the zucchini in step 1 brings out the water, so it’s important not to skip this step, or you may end up with watery lasagna!

Substitution Tip: You can swap out the zucchini for whole grain lasagna noodles, if desired. Use the no-cook variety, or boil them before cooking.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
  • Calories: 327
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 608mg
  • Fat: 18g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 15g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 13g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 28g
  • Cholesterol: 94mg

Keywords: zucchini, lasagna, low carb

10 Comments

  1. Brenda Challoner on October 7, 2019 at 7:59 am

    Can this be considered Keto friendly?

    • Julie Andrews on October 7, 2019 at 9:12 am

      Hi Brenda! Great question – it depends on what you consider keto. A true keto diet is very low carb – about 10-20g total per day – in an effort to get your body into a state of ketosis. This diet has been used for epilepsy patients for years because they tend to have fewer seizures when their body is in ketosis. Recently, the term keto has become synonymous with low carb and people often use it for weight loss or blood sugar control (or both). But low carb isn’t always keto in the traditional sense. I would consider this recipe low carb because it has 13g per serving (a lasagna made with pasta might have 35-40g per serving), but each person’s carb and macro goals are different. You can always email me if you have further questions!

    • David Stapleton on October 8, 2019 at 4:02 pm

      I love zucchini and am working the whole keto thing so,
      there are a couple of things you can do to make it more keto friendly
      1) use ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese (roughly 1/2 the carbs)
      2) cut the marinara sauce quantity in half, many of these sauces are as much as 8g of carb per 1/2 cup, but some can be as low as 4g or carb per 1/2 cup (read labels)
      That might cut the carb count to something more manageable.

      • Julie Andrews on October 15, 2019 at 7:35 am

        Thanks for the ideas, David. My only concern is cutting back the marinara because having less liquid may make it so the zucchini doesn’t fully cook. You could give it a try and let us know!

  2. Sue Carlson on October 7, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    This is great – I love zucchini lasagna.
    As far as too much zucchini – my daughter and I found out that you can actually use the flesh of the zucchini as a substitute for apples when baking. We even made a “mock” apple pie and no one knew it was zucchini and not apples.

    • Julie Andrews on October 8, 2019 at 9:03 am

      Hi Sue! That is a fabulous idea! I will definitely have to give it a try. 🙂

  3. Tracy Hall on October 8, 2019 at 6:53 am

    This looks really good and much healthier than traditional lasagna! What’s the best way to slice zucchini noodles thin like this? Do you have a specific tool to do it?

    • Julie Andrews on October 8, 2019 at 9:02 am

      Hi Tracy! I generally just use my kitchen knife – I chop off the ends, sit the zucchini up on the flat base and thinly slice it lengthwise. You can also use a mandoline to slice them (be careful!). 🙂

  4. Reida on October 9, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    I loved this recipe! I made it completely vegetarian by using Beyond ground meat…my daughter ate the entire pan.

    • Julie Andrews on October 14, 2019 at 6:38 pm

      Oh, yum! That’s a great idea. Glad you enjoyed it, Reida!

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