Zucchini Lasagna Bolognese with Spicy Basil Breadcrumbs.

Okay this zucchini lasagna bolognese may be my favorite dish of the entire summer. And that sure is saying something. Right?! I can’t even TELL you how obsessed we are with this meal. It was one of those that I couldn’t get out of my head. Honestly, I was inspired a few weeks ago by […]

The post Zucchini Lasagna Bolognese with Spicy Basil Breadcrumbs. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Okay this zucchini lasagna bolognese may be my favorite dish of the entire summer.

zucchini lasagna bolognese

And that sure is saying something. Right?!

I can’t even TELL you how obsessed we are with this meal. It was one of those that I couldn’t get out of my head. Honestly, I was inspired a few weeks ago by our August book club pick – the School of Essential Ingredients – where she talks about a bolognese. And if you have my book The Pretty Dish, you know it holds our all-time favorite bolognese recipe.

zucchini sweating

So THEN, combined with my obsession with zucchini? I could not be stopped. I basically made it for breakfast one day.

It.was.incredible.

making turkey bolognese

I don’t always love replacing noodles with zucchini. And I’m not saying this should replace your favorite lasagna. I’m saying… make this in addition to it. Let this be your summer lasagna. It is so fantastic and I need you to experience it! 

It’s cheesy. Bubbly. Saucy. Comforting. Absolutely delicious. It is all the things!

turkey bolognese

Let me tell you about the zucchini lasagna bolognese layers:

We have zucchini, obviously. 

We have a turkey bolognese, which is a little riff on my favorite one in second cookbook, and it uses a jarred sauce, but it is still loaded with flavor. It’s very semi-homemade, if you will. 

Then, there’s the cheesy ricotta layer. 

Lots of grated cheese.

And then!

In addition to our slightly high-maintenance lasagna, we’re adding in an extra step. I promise it’s worth it. While the lasagna is in the oven, making some spicy basil breadcrumbs.

Yes, spicy basil breadcrumbs!!

layering the zucchini lasagna bolognese

Making these separate allows them to add extra crunch to the top of the dish. They don’t melt into the cheese layer. Instead, they blanket the top, adding excellent crispy crunch. And flavor, of course.

Doesn’t that all sound insane!?

zucchini layers in lasagna

So here’s the kicker.

The dish is not difficult to make. But it does require a few steps and there are two important things you MUST do if you want this to work.

First, you must must must sweat out the zucchini before making this. So slice your zucchini, sprinkle it with salt, and then let it go for at least 30 minutes. Make the bolognese, make the ricotta, do laundry, whatever. Just let it sit and sweat out the water so your dish isn’t liquidy!

zucchini lasagna bolognese

Next, you also must let it sit for at least 30 minutes (or more) before slicing into it. Just like a regular lasagna. You have to let this settle once it finishes baking. Then (as you can see in the pictures below!), it will slice nicely and not be a watery mess. 

zucchini lasagna bolognese

Those two things are KEY to perfect zucchini lasagna. Unfortunately, they do add some time to this dish. It’s mostly passive time, so don’t freak out when you see how long this takes! I promise you it’s worth it. 

zucchini lasagna bolognese

I already have an incredible lasagna bolognese recipe here on the blog, but I’m telling you… this one… it’s is SPECIAL.

Plus, vegetables!

zucchini lasagna bolognese

Hello dinner tonight!

sliced zucchini lasagna bolognese

Zucchini Lasagna Bolognese

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Zucchini Lasagna Bolognese

This zucchini lasagna bolognese is summer dinner perfect. It's loaded with flavor and topped with spicy basil breadcrumbs. Delish!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Resting time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8 people
Author How Sweet Eats

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 medium-sized zucchini squash
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • ¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 16 ounces freshly grated mozzarella or provolone cheese
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
  • fresh basil, for topping

spicy basil breadcrumbs

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Cut the zucchini into thin slices, about ⅛ inch. I find this works best with a knife, as I actually like the slices about ⅛ inch thick. If you’d like thinner slices, use a mandolin or vegetable peeler. You are going to need 4 layers of slices, and with the 9x13 inch dish, I usually need approximately 7 slices across for each layer. So in totally, roughly 28 to 32 slices.
  • Place the zucchini in a single layer on paper towels or kitchen towels. Sprinkle it all over with salt. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes, but even up to 60 minutes. This will remove the water so the lasagna isn’t watery. While the zucchini sweats, make the bolognese.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the onions, mushrooms and garlic with a pinch big of salt and pepper. Cook until softened, stirring often, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add in the ground turkey. Cook until browned, stirring and breaking apart the meat, about 5 to 6 minutes. Once browned, stir in the tomato paste, basil, oregano and pepper flakes.
  • Add in the marinara sauce. Stir in the half and half and the parmesan cheese. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it! This will differ depending on the brand of sauce you use. Let this sit over low heat, stirring occasionally, while you make the ricotta mixture.
  • In a bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, egg, parmesan and basil until combined.
  • Now it’s time to make the lasagna! Press towels over the zucchini very well to remove all the liquid. Place a few spoonfuls of the bolognese sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer one row of zucchini slices in a single layer.
  • Spoon some of the bolognese all over the zucchini slices. Take a third of the ricotta mixture and dollop it all over the meat, using your spoon to spread it out if you’d like. Sprinkle on a few handfuls of the grated mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of the zucchini slices.
  • Repeat what you just did. Add the bolognese sauce, a third of the ricotta mixture, then a sprinkle of cheese. Add another layer of zucchini slices. Add more bolognese sauce, the remaining ricotta mixture, and a sprinkle of cheese. Top with the final layer of zucchini slices.
  • For the final layer, add the bolognese sauce. Top with the fresh mozzarella slices. Add any remaining grated cheese. Bake the lasagna for 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Once finished, let it set up for another 30 to 45 minutes. I know this is difficult, but just like with regular lasagna, it will cut so much nicer if it sits and settles. This will NOT slice into perfect layered slices, but if you let it sit before slicing, it will slice nicely and shouldn’t be a watery mess!
  • Before slicing, top with the basil breadcrumbs, extra parmesan and fresh basil. Devour!!

spicy basil breadcrumbs

  • While the lasagna is baking, make the breadcrumbs. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the breadcrumbs, basil and pepper flakes. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing, until browned and crispy. Sprinkle on the lasagna when it comes out of the oven.

Notes

If you have extra bolognese, store it in the fridge and serve with pasta.
If you want to make this in a 9x9 inch dish, you can halve everything and it will work!

zucchini lasagna bolognese

I mean, the CHEESE!

The post Zucchini Lasagna Bolognese with Spicy Basil Breadcrumbs. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Lentil Veggie Bolognese.

Forgive me for serving you lentil bolognese in spring!  I promise it will be worth it. It is the weirdest thing ever to me that I’m sharing a lentil bolognese recipe with you in May. To me, this is a serious fall or winter meal. And I am such a seasonal cook and eater and […]

The post Lentil Veggie Bolognese. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Forgive me for serving you lentil bolognese in spring! 

This lentil bolognese is incredible! Super hearty, loaded with vegetables, saucy, rich and decadent. You won't even miss the meat!

I promise it will be worth it.

zucchini, mushrooms and onions in a skillet

It is the weirdest thing ever to me that I’m sharing a lentil bolognese recipe with you in May. To me, this is a serious fall or winter meal. And I am such a seasonal cook and eater and by now, I’d be really starting to bring out all the early summer recipes. 

And while this isn’t a recipe I’d make weekly in the warmer months, it is still a fantastic recipe that can be made year round! I figured that while we’re still quarantining at home and now with a possible meat shortage looming, there could not be a better time to share this recipe. Plus, it’s an ideal pantry meal

spices with zucchini and mushrooms in a skillet

So.

If you’re familiar with our favorite bolognese recipe from The Pretty Dish, this is a version of that. But an all veggie version! YES. No meat whatsoever.

My original version already has mushrooms in it, which is one of the reasons I think we all love it so much – it is so hearty! I added some more veggies here and removed the meat and it is just as good. Maybe better?!

lentils with zucchini and mushrooms in a skillet

It’s not a simple recipe. In fact, it’s not really simplified whatsoever! But it’s not difficult either and it doesn’t take a super long time. 

I would give yourself around an hour to make this and frankly gets better as it sits. Most of it is hands off time while you wait for it to simmer and all those flavors to develop.

Like a traditional bolognese, it’s hearty and rich and wonderful. It’s still made with red wine (of course!) and even a splash of cream. The filling would totally work in lasagna too. 

lentil bolognese in a skillet

Okay, so it’s absolutely to die for.

It’s fabulous over pasta of course, really good over zucchini noodles and surprising good over (regular or cauliflower) rice.

I find it to be a very versatile dish! And it’s easily one of the most made recipes in my kitchen. If not theeee most made.

This lentil bolognese is incredible! Super hearty, loaded with vegetables, saucy, rich and decadent. You won't even miss the meat!

Now, I must tell you the best part of this recipe.

If you’ve been lurking around this blog for the last decade plus, you know that Eddie is a major carnivore. He likes/enjoys/wants meat at every single meal. If there isn’t meat, he hopes there are eggs. A true meat and potatoes guy.

And on top of that… you probably also know that I like to trick him into eating things that he thinks he doesn’t like. Not in a MEAN way, of course, but this is well documented here on the blog. Like how he swore he didn’t like ricotta but now some of his favorite dishes use ricotta. That sort of thing.

lentil bolognese on a plate

ANYWAY. 

All rambles aside, I made this one day for dinner, testing it out. I tossed the pasta noodles right into the sauce. And I covered it and let it simmer for a little until Eddie got home. I wondered if he would be able to tell that it was a meatless meal. Then I started putting the kids to bed and totally forgot about it.

By the time I remembered, I had watched him eat two plates. It wasn’t until an hour later when I told him. He.was.stunned. First, I think he thought that I fed him something weird. Then, his mind was blown that it was actually meatless. 

I am here to tell you that it is nearly impossible to tell that this is a meatless bolognese. If he didn’t know? Wow. I don’t know who will!

There is so much texture. So much flavor! 

Best.dinner.ever.

up close lentil bolognese with a fork

Lentil Bolognese

Print

Lentil Bolognese

This lentil bolognese is incredible! Super hearty, loaded with vegetables, saucy, rich and decadent. You won't even miss the meat!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 to 8 people
Author How Sweet Eats

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini squash, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans cooked lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (14 ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • cup half and half

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil.
  • Add in the onions with the salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add in the garlic and mushrooms. Stir and cook for another 5 or 6 minutes, until the mushrooms soften.
  • Stir in the zucchini and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, dried basil, oregano, pepper flakes and brown sugar. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the lentils and stir to combine.
  • Add in the wine and tomatoes. Stir in the parmesan and half and half. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for at least 20 minutes (or even longer if you wish!). Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. This is important! Taste and season to your liking! It will differ depending on the brand of tomatoes you use, etc.
  • You can make this ahead of time. It reheats wonderfully. You can also freeze it for up to 6 months!
  • Serve with your favorite pasta.

This lentil bolognese is incredible! Super hearty, loaded with vegetables, saucy, rich and decadent. You won't even miss the meat!

This is the epitome of comfort food.

The post Lentil Veggie Bolognese. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Pasta Bolognese

  During the current lockdown in Paris, you can still get most things at the supermarket. True, there’s less of a selection as some items are more popular than others; butter, of course, is popular, and so is flour. Fortunately I always have a good stock of both on hand, lockdown or not, but I did neglect to replenish my chocolate supply. But the pasta…

 

During the current lockdown in Paris, you can still get most things at the supermarket. True, there’s less of a selection as some items are more popular than others; butter, of course, is popular, and so is flour. Fortunately I always have a good stock of both on hand, lockdown or not, but I did neglect to replenish my chocolate supply. But the pasta and rice aisles have suffered the most damage, and the selection of what’s available has been sparse.

Since I’m limiting my time going out, and food shopping, the other day I went to the frozen food store, Picard. Everyone in France loves Picard, although I’m usually happy to dice an onion and don’t need to buy frozen pre-diced onions, nor do I need to buy ice cream. (Theirs is rather good, but I’ve usually got several batches of my own in the freezer.) But I was craving pizza and they have a frozen one with arugula and speck that’s pas mal, as they say in French, which actually means “not bad.” However frozen pizza seems to be as popular as rice and pasta, so I had to get another kind that wasn’t so great (pas terrible.) But I did pick up a bag of those onions and some ground beef because I’ve also been craving Pasta Bolognese, and they were there, and so was I. So I caved.

Continue Reading Pasta Bolognese...

Classic Bolognese Sauce

This classic Italian sauce simmers for hours to develop maximum flavor. Made with a blend of ground beef, pork, and Italian sausage, it’s great with fresh tagliatelle or fettuccine, pappardelle, or other pasta. Continue reading “Classic Bol…

This classic Italian sauce simmers for hours to develop maximum flavor. Made with a blend of ground beef, pork, and Italian sausage, it's great with fresh tagliatelle or fettuccine, pappardelle, or other pasta.

Continue reading "Classic Bolognese Sauce" »

Pasta Bolognese

A while back I made Meatballs Subs because I had a craving. They’re not that difficult to make and when you make them at home, you can use better ingredients than the versions you get elsewhere. Fortunately, there’s good bread in France and no shortage of cheese. And meatballs aren’t much of a challenge to make either. (Interestingly, a few weeks after I posted that…

A while back I made Meatballs Subs because I had a craving. They’re not that difficult to make and when you make them at home, you can use better ingredients than the versions you get elsewhere. Fortunately, there’s good bread in France and no shortage of cheese. And meatballs aren’t much of a challenge to make either. (Interestingly, a few weeks after I posted that recipe, an American woman living in Paris came up to me and said, “I don’t know how you knew, but I was craving the exact same thing! So I made your recipe…”

There must be something about ground beef, because I recently found myself craving Pasta Bolognese; tubes of pasta tossed in a thickened tomato sauce made with ground meat, red wine, garlic, and enriched with tomato paste – Capisce? 

Continue Reading Pasta Bolognese...

Quick and Easy Bolognese Sauce

Rich, meaty Bolognese Sauce is easy to make and can be on the table in 35 minutes. Use it to top pasta noodles, or layer in lasagna. It’s freezer-friendly too. Make a double or triple batch to enjoy all winter long! Continue reading “Quick…

Rich, meaty Bolognese Sauce is easy to make and can be on the table in 35 minutes. Use it to top pasta noodles, or layer in lasagna. It’s freezer-friendly too. Make a double or triple batch to enjoy all winter long!

Continue reading "Quick and Easy Bolognese Sauce" »