My hubby came home from work last Friday to find this giant pan of lasagna coming out of the oven. Now, I know he loves real lasagna, so I wasn’t sure how this zucchini lasagna would go over – but my healthified veggie-packed version was still a hit!
In this version of lasagna, I’ve removed the pasta and substituted it with sliced zucchini, which cuts back on the refined carbohydrates and calories. I also used 90/10 ground beef (a leaner variety) and cut back on the total amount of meat, but added in a ton of veggies to bulk this up and make it super hearty.
Worried the family won’t take to it?
Here’s what to tell them: it’s cheesy, still has ground beef, and totally delivers on the traditional lasagna flavors.
What you secretly know: it’s packed with vegetables, rich in protein and calcium, and you get to eat a large portion for less than 400 calories.
Give this zucchini lasagna a whirl today for your next family dinner, and come back and let me know how you like it!
Makes 6 large servings
3 large zucchini, sliced into “lasagna noodles”
2 tsp + 2 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1 chopped bell pepper
8 oz package of sliced mushrooms
4 ounces fresh spinach
1 chopped onion
2 to 3 cloves minced garlic
3/4 lb 90/10 ground beef (or ground turkey)
1/4 cup red wine
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
15 ounce container low fat ricotta cheese
3/4 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese + additional ½ cup set aside
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Slice zucchini into strips of “noodles.” [I just use a knife, but you can also use a mandolin if you have one.] Lightly salt and set aside in a colander. This will help the zucchini release some of its moisture.
- Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large pot. Add carrots, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Saute for about 5-7 minutes, until tender. Add spinach and cook until wilted.
- Remove vegetables from heat. Set aside in a bowl.
- Heat remaining 2 tsp olive oil in same pot. Add onion, garlic, and ground beef. Cook until meat is browned.
- Add red wine to deglaze pan. Cook for a few minutes until most of the wine has cooked off.
- Add tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the vegetables you set aside to the pot and simmer for another few minutes. [Hint – you want the sauce to be thick because the zucchini will continue to release moisture as it’s cooked.]
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix ricotta, 3/4 cup mozzarella, and 1 egg.
- Spread a light layer of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, then set down a layer of zucchini noodles.
- Top with cheese mixture, sauce, and additional zucchini noodles. Continue layering until you run low on sauce and zucchini. (I was able to do 3 layers). On the very top layer, top with zucchini noodles, remaining sauce, and the last 1/2 cup of mozzarella that was set aside.
- Place aluminum foil on top of baking dish and place in the oven. Cook for 45 minutes covered, then uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes.
Nutrition analysis (per serving):
385 calories, 17 grams fat (7 grams sat fat), 667 mg sodium, 27 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fiber, 32 grams protein
Vitamin A: 120%; Vitamin C: 109%; Calcium: 46%; Iron: 26%