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.
Chop your celery and onion and add to the pot with the heated olive oil.
When the vegetables are softened, add the garlic, ground beef, and ground sausage.
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.
Slice your zucchini while the meat sauce simmers.
And mix together your ricotta, Parmesan, and egg in a small bowl.
Also make your bechamel sauce. Melt your butter in a medium sized sauce pan.
Add in the flour and whisk until combined (only for about a minute).
Add in the milk slowly and whisk while bringing it to a boil.
Add in the salt and simmer for about 8 minutes, whisking often.
When the meat is ready, spoon some of it into the bottom of your pan, just enough to cover the bottom.
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.
When the last layer is completed, pour the bechamel sauce over the lasagna.
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.
The lasagna didn’t stay in perfect squares like it does with lasagna noodles, but it was SO good!
Serve and enjoy!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.