Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce

It’s nearing the end of summer, but zucchini is still plentiful and cheap! I love zucchini because it’s hearty and very flavorful while still being nutritious, as it’s got tons of folic acid, potassium, and vitamin A. I particularly enjoy zucchini in stir-fry or on kebabs, but I had never thought to put it in a lasagna before, especially in place of lasagna noodles. Kramer was pretty wary, too (he often fears change), but he told me he thought it was absolutely delicious and he didn’t really even notice the lack of pasta until after he had taken a few bites. My friend Andrea was over for dinner as well, but she is more “daring” when it comes to her food choices and was just as pleased with how tasty this lasagna is as I was. The zucchini is placed in the lasagna uncooked, so it cooks slightly as the lasagna is baked, but it maintains a bit of a firmer texture and since it’s sliced so thinly, is kind of reminiscent of lasagna noodles.

The meat sauce is absolutely delicious, as it’s composed of lean ground beef and my own personal touch, hot Italian pork sausage. I usually use ground sausage in my lasagna because it adds a velvety richness to an otherwise ordinary dish. There is also a layer of ricotta and Parmesan cheese, which melts in your mouth and satisfies every taste bud. To top it all off, a creamy bechamel sauce blankets the whole lasagna. This lasagna is something familiar and comforting while at the same time, something new and exciting! The best part is that this is a low-carb lasagna; who would have ever imagined? I promise that your family and friends will be so surprised at how much they love this zucchini lasagna.


Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
The ingredients.

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
Chop your celery and onion and add to the pot with the heated olive oil.

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
When the vegetables are softened, add the garlic, ground beef, and ground sausage.

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
When the meat is mostly browned, add in the salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and parsley. Add in the cream and allow to reduce, then add in the tomatoes and their juice. Simmer for about 45 minutes.

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
Slice your zucchini while the meat sauce simmers.

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
And mix together your ricotta, Parmesan, and egg in a small bowl.

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
Also make your bechamel sauce. Melt your butter in a medium sized sauce pan.

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
Add in the flour and whisk until combined (only for about a minute).

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
Add in the milk slowly and whisk while bringing it to a boil.

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
Add in the salt and simmer for about 8 minutes, whisking often.

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
When the meat is ready, spoon some of it into the bottom of your pan, just enough to cover the bottom.

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
Place a layer of zucchini over the meat sauce, then a third of the ricotta mixture, then mozzarella, more meat sauce, another layer of zucchini, and repeat two more times.

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel SauceZucchini Lasagna with Bechamel SauceZucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
When the last layer is completed, pour the bechamel sauce over the lasagna.

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
Then sprinkle with any leftover cheese (I used Parmesan). Bake at 375 degrees F for 40-50 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and slightly golden. If it starts to get brown too quickly, cover it with some tinfoil while it finishes baking.

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
The lasagna didn’t stay in perfect squares like it does with lasagna noodles, but it was SO good!

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
Serve and enjoy!

Zucchini Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground hot Italian pork sausage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup heavy cream or milk
  • 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 pint ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella
  • 2 medium sized zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large pot and saute your onions and celery until softened. Add in the garlic and the ground pork. Cook until meat starts to brown and is no longer pink. Add the salt, pepper, basil, oregano and parsley. Add the cream and simmer until evaporated. Add the tomatoes and simmer for at least one hour.
  2. While the meat simmers, mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, and egg in a small bowl. Make the bechamel sauce by melting the 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until foaming. Add in the ¼ cup of flour and whisk together for about a minute, then gradually whisk in the 4 cups of milk. Turn the stove up to high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking so it doesn't burn. When it's at a boil, add the salt and turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer for about 8 minutes, whisking occasionally and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan so the sauce doesn't burn. When thickened, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Spoon the meat sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish sprayed with Pam. Place a layer of zucchini over the meat sauce. Top with ⅓ of the ricotta mixture, then sprinkle with mozzarella. Top with more meat sauce and another layer of zucchini. Repeat. Finish with a layer of the meat sauce and then top with the bechamel sauce. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Cover the top with foil if the lasagna starts to brown to much. Remove the lasagna from the oven when the cheese is bubbling and the cheese is slightly golden. Let set for 5 minutes after being removed from the oven, then serve.
Adapted From

 

17 Responses

  1. Jen T. says:

    That’s a good idea for a (slightly)healthier lasagna. If you wanted it to keep its shape better, you might try cutting the lasagna lengthwise, so it’s shaped more like lasagna noodles. It’s something my mom has done before. It’s a pain in the butt without a mandolin, though, so if you don’t have one I wouldn’t stress about it.

  2. Laura says:

    I wonder if I could get my very picky husband to eat something GREEN this way … Hmmm… :) Looks great!

  3. Megan says:

    That looks reallllly good.
    It’s still morning and I could eat it right now!

  4. katie says:

    I made zucchini lasagna last night for dinner but i couldn’t access your site for this recipe :( It looks so amazing with the bechamel sauce, I can’t wait to give it a try!

  5. Kelsey says:

    Now I know exactly what to do with this huge zucchini given to us by my husban’s Aunt! My mouth is watering looking at the pictures.

  6. alia says:

    Made this for the third time this evening and it was fan. tastic. 😀 This is one of my favourite lasagna recipes, it turns out beautifully every time.

    thanks for this one! 😀

  7. […] not too soft. Mmm… we still have half a tray of it in the fridge Next time I want to try this recipe from one of my favourite recipe blogs, which replaces the lasagna sheets with […]

  8. Simi says:

    I made this once, and my two-and-a-half year-old and husband engulfed it! Since then, I’ve made it numerous times. I like to add fresh spinach leaves to mine (in addition to the sliced zucchini) though. Great recipe!!

  9. Carla says:

    The Italian side of my family were a bit suspicious when I told them I was preparing a pasta-free lasagna for dinner. But they gobbled it up, and asked for seconds. Thank you so much – there’s a lot of steps to this recipe, but SO worth it :) xxxxxxxx

  10. Alexis says:

    I really REALLY want to make this but my partner is allergic to eggs. Is there anything that I can use instead or in place of the egg?

    p.s. YOU ROCK!!

    • Sydney says:

      Alexis: I unfortunately don’t know a lot about egg substitution, and since this lasagna is already quite delicate as it is without the real noodles, I’m not sure what you could replace the egg with. I would consult some egg-free or vegan cooking site or book when replacing eggs. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be of much help, but I don’t want to recommend something that I’ve never tried!

  11. Dana says:

    This was always my favorite meal growing up and your recipe looks unbelievable. I love how you used those 3 cheeses together! Love the step by step instructions too.

    Check out my blog if you ever get the time!
    http://www.danaeatsblog.blogspot.com

  12. Victoria says:

    OhEmGee! Made this tonight for dinner, it was delicious! Thanks for another amazing recipe!

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