Zucchini Lasagna

This might be my best zucchini recipe of the summer, “Zucchini Lasagna.” When I queried my family on suggestions for using the giant, one-pound zucchini growing in my backyard garden, my son mentioned this recipe. And it is wonderful! Thin slices of the huge zucchini replace the lasagna noodles. Layer on a rich tomato sauce with the zucchini slices and mozzarella cheese and the result is a vegetarian “meal-in-one.” Plus, a layer of ricotta cheese, eggs and Parmesan cheese add a creamy filling — sort of a “surprise” in the recipe. 

  Giant Zucchini

Every now and then, a zucchini becomes hidden beneath the large, deep green leaves of my zucchini plants and is not noticed. What a surprise to discover these vegetables! These large zucchinis, when cut into thin strips, are perfect for making lasagna noodles and are about the same size. I used several smaller zucchini to “fill in” as well, too. You just need a few more of them (about 2-1/2 lb total zucchini, as purchased).

Recipe on ” Primavera Kitchen” WEB site

My son sent the recipe as I’d requested. The I discovered that the recipe had been posted on the WEB site of Olivia Ribas, owner of Primavera Kitchen. I don’t like to use someone else’s recipes without permission. There is ownership and etiquette to using the internet. To my delight, Olivia responded and gave consent to use her “Spinach and Zucchini Lasagna” recipe stating, “just give me credit.” So credit where credit is due and thank’s to Primavera Kitchen for the great recipe.

In addition, most cookbook, magazine and WEB site publishers request that you post the recipe “as written” and without any modifications. In this case, I made the recipe as written (using my own tomato sauce and listing fresh spinach as optional) and will show the recipe as “adapted from Primavera Kitchen.” http://www.primaverakitchen.com

Zucchini Lasagna” Recipe

All the individual ingredients of the “Zucchini Lasagna” recipe blend together to make a satisfying and filling meal. Using zucchini slices rather than lasagna noodles is rather unique; and it cuts down on the carbohydrates and increases the vegetables in this vegetarian entree. The recipe does involve several steps and multiple bowls. Add it is a large casserole. I used a deep casserole dish to layer on all the ingredients. So get everything prepped, and then assemble the casserole. Here’s what I did:

A rich tomato sauce is one key to making this casserole taste great. I used my “Versatile Tomato Pasta, Pizza and Dipping Sauce” recipe from the accompanying post. One recipe of this tomato sauce (approx 3-1/2 cups) makes just the right amount for the casserole. This sauce can be made ahead or make it while you are prepping the other lasagna ingredients and then let the sauce set on the stove and simmer.

The zucchini should be sliced and pre-cooked before assembling the casserole. Zucchini has a high water content. Broiling the zucchini will dissipate some of this liquid so the casserole isn’t too runny. Plus, zucchini actually takes a long time to bake in the oven, pre-cooking it means the casserole will finish without overcooking the cheese. I used a mandoline slicer to slice these large zucchini to 1/8″. The second time I made the casserole, I sliced smaller zucchini a little thicker or about 1/4″ using a chef knife. I liked these results better.

To pre-cook the zucchini, cover a broiling pan with foil (or use a baking sheet) and spray light with cooking oil spray. Arrange on zucchini slices in a single layer. Broil 6″ from the heat. Broil for 5 minutes if using thin slices. Broil 10 minutes if using thicker slices, turning once.

Then use paper towels to blot out excess liquid.

Don’t skip the ricotta cheese, egg and Parmesan cheese layer. This ricotta cheese layer gives a creamy texture and flavor to the casserole. I almost skipped it, but decided to go the extra step and purchase ricotta cheese. Loved it and it is a key element in this dish! The instructions call for fresh Parmesan cheese; I used fresh cheese one time and dried cheese the second time. Either works.

With everything is ready, assemble the casserole. I used a casserole dish which is 7″ x 9″ x 2-1/2″. It is a deep, 2-quart casserole dish. If yours is not this deep, just remember that a 2-quart casserole dish is the right size. Very lightly oil the casserole dish. Layer on half the tomato sauce, next half the zucchini slices, 1/2 of the ricotta layer and last, sprinkle on 1 cup (8 oz) of shredded Mozzarella cheese.

Repeat the layers.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook 15 additional minutes. Remove from oven and let set on the counter for about 10 minutes. When cool enough, cut into 8 pieces. Garnish with either parsley or basil leaves and serve.

Enjoy this vegetarian “Zucchini Lasagna” casserole. Thanks Olivia Ribas for sharing the recipe. Great way to use fresh summer produce!

Zucchini Lasagna

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe (approx 3-1/2 cups or 28 oz) “Versatile Tomato Pasta, Pizza and Dipping Sauce”
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, (optional)
  • 4 medium (2-1/2 lb) zucchini, sliced 1/8 – 1/4″ inch thick
  • 15 oz part-skim ricotta
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or substitute dried Parmesan cheese)
  • 2 cups (16 oz) part-skim mozzarella cheese – shredded
  • 1/2 tsp parsley, chopped, or fresh basil leaves for garnish

Method and Steps:

  1. Warm the “Versatile Tomato Pasta, Pizza and Dipping Sauce” on stove.
  2. If using spinach, add to the tomato sauce. Stir well. Remove pot from stove.
  3. Arrange zucchini slices in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking oil spray. Broil for 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven. Wait about 5 minutes to remove any excess moisture with paper towels if necessary. (This part is very important to avoid the lasagna becoming too soupy.)
  4. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a deep 2-quart casserole dish.
  5. In medium bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and egg. Stir well.
  6. Spread half of the tomato sauce (with spinach, if using) on the bottom of the casserole dish.
  7. Layer on half the broiled zucchini slices to cover.
  8. Spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the zucchini slices.
  9. Top with 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  10. Repeat the layers.
  11. Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes.
  12. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley or fresh basil leaves.

NOTE: This recipe was adapted from: http://www.primaverakitchen.com

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