So, here it is, friends…
A pasta-free meal for pasta lovers that’s sure to satisfy even the most hardcore carb cravings.
No worries if you’re a little skeptical; I was too at first. But if you think about it, it’s really not completely off the wall. Unlike a bowl of spaghetti marinara or a dish of fettuccine alfredo, lasagna isn’t really all about the pasta – it’s all about the filling, namely, the cheese – and the pasta just sort-of gives it structure. Using zucchini instead of lasagna noodles is a natural substitution. It’s not a new idea (I don’t even remember where I first heard about it), but it sure is a brilliant one.
The only thing in this recipe that needs a little TLC is the zucchini, and that’s just because it has such a high water content. There’s an easy fix for that though; after your zucchini is sliced, toss it with salt and let it sit in a colander in the sink for half an hour to do its own thing. The salt will sweat the excess water out of the zucchini so your lasagna is perfectly moist instead of soupy. The best part is, the zucchini takes care of itself and you can continue working on prepping the other components of this dish so no time is wasted.
I kept this dish vegetarian, but you could add a pound of browned ground beef to the tomato sauce if you want. As a total bonus, this dish happens to be lactose-free. I used GO Veggie! Lactose-Free Mozzarella Shreds, which melted really well in this dish, and I also made my own version of a lactose-free ricotta-type cheese mix.
Instead of regular dairy-based ricotta, I combined more GO Veggie! Lactose-Free Mozzarella Shreds with GO Veggie! Lactose-Free Parmesan Grated Topping, a mixture of sautéed onion and garlic, eggs, and a few savory flavorings; it resulted in an incredibly tasty spread that’s very similar to the texture of ricotta. (Because everyone, and I mean everyone, should be able to enjoy lasagna, even if they keep things lactose-free and don’t do carbs.)
Now, for those of you who do eat carbs and aren’t lactose-free, I’m not going to tell you that this tastes just like normal lasagna, but it’s close and definitely delicious in its own right. I think it’s worth a try just for the fact that it’s low-carb and chock full of veggies!
- 3 lbs (about 5 medium) zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch thick slices
- 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 (24 oz/680 g) jar tomato sauce
- 1 (6 oz/170 g) can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 (7 oz/198 g) packs GO Veggie! Lactose-Free Mozzarella Shreds, divided
- ½ cup GO Veggie! Lactose-Free Parmesan Grated Topping, plus more for topping if desired
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1½ teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
- Preheat oven to 400F; get out a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish.
- Toss the zucchini slices together with the coarse kosher salt in a large bowl. Place the zucchini in a colander and set the colander into the sink (or over a bowl) so the zucchini can sit for 30 minutes and release its excess water.
- Meanwhile, add the tomato sauce and tomato paste to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and then turn the heat down slightly and simmer uncovered until thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the tomato sauce is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook until softened, but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Turn off heat and cool slightly.
- Add the onion/garlic mixture to a food processor along with ½ pack of mozzarella shreds, the parmesan topping, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper, and process until well combined, stopping to scrape the sides down as necessary. Add the rosemary and pulse a couple times to combine.
- Once the zucchini has drained for 30 minutes, give it a quick rinse under cold water to remove any surface salt, and then pat each slice dry with a paper towel, blotting out as much water as possible.
- To layer the lasagna, spread ½ cup of tomato sauce onto the bottom of the prepared casserole dish.
- Layer ½ of the zucchini slices; spread on ½ of the creamy onion mixture, top with ½ of the remaining tomato sauce, and sprinkle on ½ of the remaining mozzarella shreds.
- Repeat the previous layer once – top with the remaining ½ of the zucchini slices; spread on the remaining ½ of the creamy onion mixture, top with the remaining tomato sauce, and sprinkle on the remaining mozzarella shreds.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake until warm throughout, about 40 minutes; to crisp the cheese on top a bit, remove the foil during the last 10 minutes of baking.
- Let the lasagna stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with more parmesan topping if desired.
Disclosure: I received the GO Veggie! products that I used in this recipe for free, and I also received compensation for this post. I am happy for the opportunity to share brands that I believe in with my readers, and I hope you enjoy my recipe. As always, opinions stated are my own.