Perfect Zucchini Lasagna

We cracked the code to the best zucchini lasagna! Roasted zucchini noodles and three cheeses make just the right Italian flavor. After years of testing, we’ve done it: we cracked the code to the Perfect Zucchini Lasagna! You might not share our elation if you haven’t attempted a no noodle lasagna before. It’s easy to spend lots of effort and end up with a watery mess. But not with this recipe! This zucchini lasagna alternates beautiful layers of roasted zucchini noddles, hearty garlicky tomato sauce and three gooey cheeses. It tastes as good–or better–than a classic lasagna! In fact, we might pick it over the classic. Here’s what to know about making a kick-ass lasagna that happens to be gluten free, too. Ingredients for zucchini lasagna This zucchini lasagna is not a traditional lasagna made with zucchini (though that would be good, too). It’s a no noodle lasagna that uses zucchini strips instead of noodles! The zucchini makes a lovely noodle-like texture to the cheesy mess. This also makes this a gluten free, paleo and keto lasagna, if that’s your diet preference. To us: it’s just delicious! Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for this recipe: Large zucchini: Size […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

We cracked the code to the best zucchini lasagna! Roasted zucchini noodles and three cheeses make just the right Italian flavor.

Zucchini lasagna

After years of testing, we’ve done it: we cracked the code to the Perfect Zucchini Lasagna! You might not share our elation if you haven’t attempted a no noodle lasagna before. It’s easy to spend lots of effort and end up with a watery mess. But not with this recipe! This zucchini lasagna alternates beautiful layers of roasted zucchini noddles, hearty garlicky tomato sauce and three gooey cheeses. It tastes as good–or better–than a classic lasagna! In fact, we might pick it over the classic. Here’s what to know about making a kick-ass lasagna that happens to be gluten free, too.

Ingredients for zucchini lasagna

This zucchini lasagna is not a traditional lasagna made with zucchini (though that would be good, too). It’s a no noodle lasagna that uses zucchini strips instead of noodles! The zucchini makes a lovely noodle-like texture to the cheesy mess. This also makes this a gluten free, paleo and keto lasagna, if that’s your diet preference. To us: it’s just delicious! Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Large zucchini: Size matters, here! It’s nice to have larger zucchini for layering, and they fit in the pan easier than lots of small ones. But you can get away with small or medium if that’s all you have.
  • Ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese: The Italian flavors in this recipe sing with three types of cheese!
  • Homemade tarragon tomato sauce: See the section below. You can substitute oregano if you don’t have dried tarragon.
  • Lemon zest and fresh thyme: These bring a zing and freshness that’s absolutely essential to the flavors.
Zucchini lasagna

How do you get the water out of zucchini lasagna?

Zucchini is over 90% water. The biggest issue with a zucchini lasagna it’s a watery mess when you pull it out of the oven. We’ve had this happen several times, so we’ve engineered this recipe to come out with the perfect texture ever time. Here’s how to get the water out of zucchini lasagna:

  • Roast the zucchini noodles. This cooks out a large amount of the water. You’ll roast them at 450 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes. (This is much more effective than salting and draining the zucchini, like some recipes do.)
  • Don’t use too much tomato sauce. Tomato sauce also has lots of moisture! This recipe calls for just the right amount of tomato sauce for the pan.
  • Thicken the tomato sauce with cornstarch. This is another preventative measure! Adding a little cornstarch makes an even thicker tomato sauce with less water.
  • Let the lasagna cool for 15 to 20 minutes to set. Right out of the oven, there may be a little moisture. Let the lasagna sit and cool, which lets it absorb any remaining moisture.

With these steps, you’ll find this zucchini lasagna is not watery and has the perfect classic lasagna texture.

Best Zucchini Lasagna

Use a 9 x 9 pan, or equivalent volume

One note for the size of this recipe! You can only roast 2 pounds of zucchini at one time, and this makes just enough noodles for a 9 x 9 pan. If you’re cooking for more people, you can do 1.5 times the recipe for a 9 x 13 pan, or do two 9 x 9 pans. Just note that you’ll have to cook two batches of zucchini noodles! A good make ahead tip could be to roast the zucchini noodles in advance (see below).

In these photos, you’ll see we used a small rectangular baking dish that is the same volume as a 9 x 9″ pan (10 cups volume or 2.5 quarts).

Zucchini noodles
Layering the zucchini noodles

Make the homemade tomato sauce

For this zucchini lasagna, we recommend to make this homemade tomato sauce instead of using a purchased marinara sauce. Why?

  • The sauce has incredible flavor. The tomato sauce is one of the biggest influences on flavor in a lasagna We promise it’s worth the time to make it!
  • It’s thickened to avoid watery lasagna. As we noted above, this sauce is thickened so it avoids the problem of too much water. Many store-bought sauces can be too water.
  • The dried tarragon makes it a home run! Using dried tarragon in this recipe makes the flavors sing! If you can’t find it, you can use oregano. But it’s worth finding: especially if you’ve never tried it.
Zucchini lasagna
Here’s how to spread the tomato sauce and cheese layer

Make ahead tips for zucchini lasagna

This zucchini lasagna takes about 45 minutes to prepare, 40 minutes to bake, and 15 minutes to sit. So, make it when you have ample time! Here are a few things you can do to shortcut that 45 minute preparation time.

  • Roast the zucchini noodles in advance. One of the biggest time savers is roasting the noodles in advance. Roast them and then refrigerate until baking. They will accumulate moisture in the fridge, so pat them dry before assembling.
  • Make the tomato sauce in advance. It’s easy to let the tomato sauce simmer while you preheat the oven. But you can make it in advance too! Just refrigerate until serving: the flavor gets better over time.
Best zucchini lasagna

This zucchini lasagna recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo and keto.

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Best Zucchini Lasagna

Perfect Zucchini Lasagna


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6

Description

We cracked the code to the best zucchini lasagna! Roasted zucchini noodles and three cheeses make just the right Italian flavor.


Ingredients

  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes, fire roasted if possible
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce, fire roasted if possible
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (or oregano)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
  • 2 pounds zucchini (3 large or 5 small medium)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (1/2 lemon)
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 cups (7 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare the sauce: Mince the garlic. Add the butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat: once melted, add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Turn down the heat and carefully add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, tarragon, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Remove 1/4 cup of the sauce and stir it with the cornstarch, then add it back to the pan (this helps to thicken the sauce). Simmer while making the remainder of the recipe, at least 15 minutes. When ready to use, remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Roast the zucchini noodles: Slice the zucchini into noodles 1/4 inch thick, using a knife or mandoline (if you have a mandoline, it’s the easiest way to get uniform pieces). You can discard the pieces that are just the peel. Place the zucchini strips on two parchment-lined baking sheets and drizzle them with olive oil, then use your hands to rub it so they are lightly coated on both sides. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided across the 2 trays. Roast 10 to 12 minutes, until just tender. Remove the pans from the oven and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the cheese filling: Destem the thyme, then roughly chop the leaves. Add 2 tablespoons thyme to a medium bowl and reserve about 1/2 tablespoon for topping the lasagna. To the bowl, add the lemon zest, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Turn down the oven: Turn down the heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Assemble the lasagna: In a 9” x 9” baking dish (or similar volume baking dish), spread a 1/2 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then top with 1 layer of the zucchini noodles, half of the cheese mixture (in dollops) and about 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce, using a spatula to spread the sauce evenly over the cheese. Repeat again, topping with 1 layer of noodles, the remaining cheese mixture, and 1/2 cup of the remaining tomato sauce. Finally, top with a final layer of noodles, then another 1/2 cup tomato sauce. Sprinkle the entire top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme.
  7. Bake the lasagna: Bake the lasagna for 40 minutes, uncovered. Let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving (this allows the lasagna to set; you can let it sit even longer if desired). Leftovers can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days and reheated in a 375°F oven.

Keywords: Zucchini lasagna, Gluten free lasagna, No noodle lasagna

More zucchini recipes

Summer is all about zucchini recipes! Here are some we recommend giving a try:

  • Baked Zucchini So easy to make, covered in a light coating of crunchy breadcrumbs and Parmesan! This veggie is at its best roasted in a hot oven.
  • Squash and Zucchini Casserole Crowd pleaser! A cozy summer side dish, it’s topped with crunchy breadcrumbs and Parmesan.
  • Best Zucchini Muffins Greek yogurt makes them ultra moist, and turbinado sugar adds a satisfying crunchy topping.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes