If you’re watching your carbs and avoiding pasta noodles, but are still craving a delicious satisfying meal, then look no further than this easy zucchini “lasagna” recipe! Featuring ground beef, beautiful aromas and flavors from garlic, basil, mushrooms, and red wine all layered with sliced zucchini, this low carb lasagna will have you asking: pasta who?￼
This recipe for zucchini lasagna is low carb, keto friendly, and gluten free. It is the perfect comfort food when you want to indulge in lasagna, but don’t want the added carbs from traditional lasagna pasta noodles. Check out our other keto friendly recipes! 3 Keto Recipes For Beginners features 3 savory dishes to enjoy guilt free! Learn how to make Easy Homemade Keto Peanut Butter and indulge your sweet tooth with 3 Easy Keto Dessert Recipes.
If you are craving a more traditional Italian lasagna made with meaty cheesy gooey goodness layered with real lasagna pasta, check out my Easy Classic Lasagna Recipe!
So first of all, what is lasagna? Lasagna actually isn’t the dish itself, though this layered dish is referred to as lasagna. Lasagna are a flat, wide type of pasta noodles. They are believed to be one of the oldest kinds of pasta! This pasta originated in Italy, more specifically the Campania, Marche, and Emilia-Romagna regions.
Pasta dough that was prepared in southern Italy consisted mainly of semolina, also known as manna. Semolina was combined with water to make the pasta dough. In northern regions of Italy where semolina was not available, eggs and flour were commonly used to make pasta dough.
In modern Italy, durum wheat and semolina are used to make pasta dough. What is durum wheat? Durum wheat is also known as pasta wheat. ￼Durum wheat is the second most used wheat in the world, after common wheat. Durum wheat was made by artificial selection of the emmer wheat.
In Latin, durum means “hard”. Durum wheat is the hardest wheat meaning that the grain is resistant to milling. The dough made from durum wheat is soft and therefore very favorable for pasta and semolina, and not so much for bread.
Dry pasta you find at the store is almost exclusively made from durum semolina. Italians who make pasta at home use durum semolina or some combination of both hard and soft wheat.
Our zucchini lasagna doesn’t contain any pasta noodles, but rather features thinly sliced low carb zucchini! ￼Zucchini is a thin skinned summer squash. This delightful summer squash originates from Mesoamerica, which is a historical region that extended from Mexico to Costa Rica.
Most people assume the zucchini is a vegetable, and in the culinary world it is mainly used as such. Zucchini is typically utilized in savory dishes. However botanically, zucchini is a fruit! It is a type of botanical berry, called a “pepo”. Pepo means “swollen ovary of the zucchini flower”. Zucchini, other squash and pumpkins are part of the Cucurbita pepo species. The actual word “zucchini” is a plural of “zucchino” or “zucca” which is Italian for squash or pumpkin.
The summer squash is a squash that is harvested while it is tender and still immature. The name refers to the shortage of life, unlike winter squash.
Summer squashes include zucchini, cousa squash, aehobak (Korean zucchini), tromboncino, pattypan squash, and turai.
Now that we know all about the star ingredient, zucchini, let’s jump into this exciting low carb zucchini lasagna recipe!
What You Need:
For the meat sauce:
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion – chopped
4 garlic cloves – chopped
1 lb angus ground beef
1 lb button mushrooms – sliced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp Beer Can Chicken by McCormick
1/4 cup red wine
1 can Newman’s Own Mushroom Marinara sauce
For the cheese mixture:
1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese – shredded
2 cups Parmesan cheese – grated
1 cup fresh parsley – chopped (few tbsp reserves for garnish)
4 zucchinis – sliced thinly
6 basil leaves
6 slices of mozzarella cheese
Preparing zucchini lasagna is a lot like preparing regular lasagna, but of course we’re omitting the traditional lasagna pasta noodles and instead incorporating delicious summer squash. So we can begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and starting on our meat sauce.
In a saucepan, heat butter and olive oil. Add the chopped onions and chopped garlic and sauté. Now add the ground beef and mix to combine. Brown the beef and add in the mushroom marinara sauce, red wine, all seasonings, and sliced mushrooms, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Now that the meat sauce is simmering, we can prepare the cheese sauce. In a bowl, mix ricotta cheese, egg, half of the mozzarella, most of the parsley, (remember to leave some for garnish) and stir to combine.
Meanwhile, we get to skip the step of pasta cooking (yay)! Slice the zucchini very thinly into flat pieces that resemble traditional lasagna pasta noodles. You may do this by hand however I couldn’t live without my mandolin! When you use a mandolin to slice the zucchini, not only is it faster and easier, but you also ensure that your zucchini slices are all the same size which helps with even cooking.
I know what you’re thinking: zucchini is very wet. How do you make sure your lasagna doesn’t come out soggy? There’s a trick to removing the water of our the zucchini! All you need to do is lay out the sliced zucchini on some paper towels, sprinkle with salt, and cover with another paper towel. You’ll see the paper towels soak up the excess water from the zucchini, and then you’re good and ready for the lasagna layering!
All of our ingredients are ready, so take out a deep casserole dish and add a spoonful of meat sauce to the bottom. Begin layering! Zucchini slices first, heaping spoonfuls of meat sauce, the ricotta mixture, and then some shredded mozzarella and Parmesan.
Repeat this layering until you’re out of ingredients, but don’t forget to save a good amount of shredded cheese for the top, and a few tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley.
The top of our zucchini lasagna should be layered with meat sauce, ricotta mixture, and shredded mozzarella and Parmesan. For an additional “wow” factor, I love to add sliced mozzarella to the top of the lasagna. Top with basil leaves. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for about 35 minutes.
Remove foil and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. When you’re ready to serve your zucchini lasagna, garnish the top with bright green fresh chopped parsley.
This recipe for zucchini lasagna is low carb, keto friendly, and gluten free. It is the perfect comfort food when you want to indulge in lasagna, but don’t want the added carbs from traditional lasagna pasta noodles. I promise you’ll forget all about the pasta! The best part? You don’t have to feel guilty about eating this! So indulge and enjoy!