Are you grain free now, but sometimes wish you could indulge in a pasta dish without the insulin spike and “brick in the stomach” feeling? My husband had been requesting pasta for a long time, and I’ve been meaning to experiment with a good grain-free lasagna recipe. Thanks to reader Desiree for the inspiration!
I never liked pasta much, even when we ate grains, so, to be honest, I didn’t have high hopes for this! I even used frozen zucchini that we had from last year’s garden, so I wasn’t sure the texture would be great… but to my surprise, it turned out excellent. In my (non-Italian) opinion, it was better than regular Lasagna! Even if you aren’t grain-free, this is an easy way to get some extra vegetables in a meal, and it was definitely kid-approved!
- 1-1.5 lbs ground beef (can also use ground Italian sausage for part)
- 2 (24 ounce) jars of pasta sauce (check ingredients!) I used 1.5 quarts of homemade pasta sauce
- 1 large container Ricotta cheese
- 1 pound Mozzarella cheese, grated
- ½ cup Parmesan
- 8 eggs
- 3-4 medium zucchini (depending on size), thinly sliced lengthwise
- spices to taste (We like a lot of flavor, so I used about 1 tbsp each of basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, granulated garlic, onion powder etc. and about ½ tsp each of salt, pepper, etc. Spice to your own preference!)
- Thinly slice zucchini lengthwise into ¼ inch slices or smaller. Place on well-oiled baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until just starting to brown and get tender. It isn't necessary to peel, but it might be a good idea if you are trying to hide the vegetables from any picky eaters!
- While zucchini is cooking, brown meat in a large skillet. If there is room, add the pasta sauce to skillet to warm. If not, add meat and pasta sauce to large pot and heat to a simmer. Add any desired spices.
- Mix large (approx 32 ounce) Ricotta cheese with eggs, Parmesan, and half of grated mozzarella cheese. I also added garlic powder and basil to the mixture. Set aside.
- When zucchini is done, remove from oven. In large 9x13 glass baking dish (or 10x16) start layering: meat/sauce on bottom, followed by zucchini slices, then ricotta mixture. This made 2 thick layers for me, but could be spread out into three layers if you dish is deep enough. Make sure the meat/sauce layer is on the top when done. (If you are making ahead, throw in the freezer at this point, and it will be ready to bake when you need it.
- When you have added all ingredients in layers, place back in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour or until egg/ricotta mixture is set and middle is not jiggly. It will firm up as it cools too.
- About 15 minutes before done, add remaining mozzarella cheese to top and put back in oven.
- Serve immediately. (I recommend a side of Italian music and a salad!)
Desiree has another variation of this recipe that I’m looking forward to trying. I couldn’t this time because my zucchini was pre-sliced and frozen, but her recipe seems easier! Desiree shared her recipe:
It’s very easy! For a 9 x 13 pan: Mix 2 cups shredded zucchini or summer squash or riced cauliflower with 2 eggs and 2 cups shredded cheese. Then just use your favorite lasagna recipe, adding at least one egg to the ricotta mixture (I used 2) and in place of the noodles smoosh in a layer of the veggie/egg/cheese mixture. Cover loosely with foil. Bake at 325 until just set (not wobbly when you shake the pan). It takes about an hour or so. Because it takes so long, I’d recommend making your top layer sauce and adding shredded cheese towards the end of cooking, otherwise it will be very dark. It holds up beautifully, no slippery noodles to collapse and tastes amazing!
Ever cooked Italian food without the grains? How did it turn out? Share your recipe below!