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!
Zucchini Lasagna Recipe (Gluten Free)
- 1-1.5 lbs ground beef (and/or Italian sausage)
- 48 oz pasta sauce
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 16 oz cottage cheese (I recommend Good Culture brand because it is grass fed and delicious)
- 1 lb mozzarella cheese (shredded, divided)
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 8 eggs
- 3-4 medium zucchini (thinly sliced lengthwise)
- 1 TBSP basil
- 1 TBSP oregano
- 2 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp marjoram
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1 TBSP garlic powder
- 1 TBSP onion powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Thinly slice zucchini lengthwise into ¼ inch slices.
- Place on well-oiled baking sheet and bake at 400°F for about 10-12 minutes or until the zucchini is just starting to brown and get tender. It isn't necessary to peel the zucchini, but it might be a good idea if you are trying to hide the vegetables from any picky eaters!
- While the zucchini is cooking, brown the meat in a large skillet.
- Once the meat is cooked, add the pasta sauce to the skillet to warm if there is room. If not, add meat and pasta sauce to large pot.
- Add spices to meat sauce and heat to a simmer.
- In a medium size bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan, and half of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
- In large 9x13 glass baking dish start layering: meat sauce on the bottom, followed by zucchini slices, then ricotta mixture. This made 2 thick layers for me, but could be spread out into three layers if your dish is deep enough. Make sure the meat/sauce layer is on the top when done.
- If you are making ahead, throw the dish 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 the lasagna in oven at 350°F for 45-60 minutes or until egg/ricotta mixture is set and middle is not jiggly. It will firm up as it cools too.
- Top with the remaining half of the mozzarella for the last 15 minutes of cooking.
- 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!
Discussion (39 Comments)
Maria V. Arnold
This look amazing, but approximately how many cups of zucchini are needed for this recipe? Or alternately, how many zucchini in a pound? I’m buying my produce from a co-op and we split shares which are by the pound, not by numbers, hence the questions 🙂
I haven’t measured exactly, but I’m guessing it would be around 3
pounds of Zucchini. You could definitely make it work with whatever
you have by slicing them thinner or thicker to have enough for two
This sounds scrumptious; thanks for both versions of the recipe. I hope to try them.
I just made this to rave reviews from kids and husband alike. Really good. I put a couple cubes (frozen in ice cube trays) of pesto from last years’ garden in the ricotta mixture – very good. Thank You
Great idea on the pesto.. I’ve still got some frozen too, I’ll have
to try it!
In the winter you can use white cabbage in place of the zucchini. You need to blanch the leaves until tender first. The sauce should be thicker than with pasta because the cabbage doesn’t absorb any of the liquid. I’ve never tried it with zucchini but can vouch for the cabbage version. It has a more intense flavor than with pasta, but is not too cabbage-y and the tomato/cabbage combo is really good.
Great idea! I’ve never tried it that way, but our garden should be
producing cabbage soon! Thanks for the idea!
Wow, this looks great, and will be a welcome change of pace at my house. We don’t eat pasta, but my kids miss this kind of pasta-type dish. I think I’m pretty creative in the kitchen, but swapping the pasta noodles for zucchini never occurred to me!
I can’t wait to try this. I have a similar recipe for a casserole that leaves out the tomato sauce and the zucchini is in chunks. My meat loving, grain loving (sigh)family loves it. Very flavorful.
I could easily make this grain free version for myself and make regular lasagna for the kids. Yay! I wanted to have roasted vegetable lasagna for mother’s day but didn’t have any idea how to replace the pasta. 🙂
Wow, it’s like you’ve read my mind. We recently indulged in “regular” lasagna the other day and the thing I love about it the most are the layers of meat, cheese & creaminess (not necessarily the lasagna noodles). I was wondering what could take its place without making it an overly sloppy mess — and thought, hmm, maybe zucchini? But I’m not a recipe-creator so I’m glad someone else has done the dirty work for me! Looking forward to trying this sometime!
This looks super yummy! I’m going to try it with alfredo. My husband is allergic to tomatoes, so the grain-free lifestyle also has to be tomato free too. Talk about a challenge! But I usually put some pasta sauce on the side for dipping or topping my own…I LOVE tomatoes!
I’m going to try both of these! I love lasagna but hate the heavy feeling, also. 🙂