This vegetarian zucchini lasagna deserves four stars. Are we allowed to say that about our own recipes? Seriously, one bite and you’ll be hooked forever! There is just the right amount of red pepper flakes to add a little kick.
Don’t be surprised when you can’t find any lasagna noodles amidst the layers—there aren’t any! Thinly sliced zucchini replace the pasta and cut down on carbs at the same time!
The key to making this dish successful is to control the amount of moisture content. That means the zucchini ‘noodles’ need to be salted and blotted dry before layering to remove excess liquid. It’s important to allow the sauce to cook long enough to thicken so it too, doesn’t make the dish watery.
Vegetarian Zucchini Lasagna Recipe
- 3 medium zucchini
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 carrots, grated or finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 lbs mushrooms, chopped into ¼" pieces
- 1 yellow squash, chopped into ¼" pieces
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 16 oz container ricotta cheese, or cottage cheese
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Spray a 9" x 13" casserole dish with cooking spray. Trim off the ends from the zucchini and slice the squash lengthwise into 1/8" thick slices. These will be your lasagna ‘noodles’. Lightly season both sides of the zucchini slices with salt and lay them side-by-side onto paper towels to drain while you prepare the filling.
- Place a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add diced red onion, bell pepper and carrots then cook 4-5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.
- Add mushrooms and squash and continue cooking on medium-high heat 15-20 minutes until all of the liquid given off by the vegetables has completely evaporated. Stir in marinara sauce, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes then bring the mixture to a bubble. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer approximately twenty minutes until the sauce becomes very thick and no liquid runs as you scrape the spoon across the bottom of the skillet. See photo below of what it should look like .
- While the sauce is simmering, stir the ricotta or cottage cheese together with the beaten egg and Parmesan cheese then set aside. Blot all moisture from the zucchini slices with additional paper towels.
- When the sauce has thickened, remove from heat and spread about ½ cup in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Cover the bottom of the dish with zucchini slices, overlapping slightly and trimming if necessary. Spread half of the ricotta/cottage cheese mixture over the zucchini in an even layer then spread half of the vegetable sauce on top. Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, then repeat the layers of zucchini, ricotta, vegetable sauce and mozzarella cheese. Add one final layer of zucchini slices to the top and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake 30 minutes then remove the foil and sprinkle the remaining cup of mozzarella cheese and an additional sprinkling of Parmesan over the top of the zucchini. Return to the oven to bake uncovered an additional 15 minutes then remove and allow it to cool 15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
It is imperative the zucchini ‘noodles’ be salted and blotted dry before layering to remove excess liquid. Skipping this step yields vegetables swimming in water.