Looking for a healthy Italian dinner recipe? Bake a zesty and flavorful zucchini lasagna with layers of ricotta cheese and ground turkey! It’s gluten-free and made with all whole ingredients – so good and good for you too.
Tasty Italian Zucchini Lasagna
That’s when I turn to zucchini.
Yup, I’m one of those people. Seriously though, don’t knock it till ya try it!
Zucchini has a naturally sweet flavor that enhances all the other flavors in a recipe. Plus, they hold their shape pretty well when cooked, which makes them a perfect substitution for noodles in this zucchini lasagna dish.
It’s kind of amazing how much tasty zucchini is when you smother it in meat, garlic, and tons of cheese. You honestly don’t even miss the noodles!
This lasagna recipe is also super easy to make! To save time, I didn’t go all the way and make my own marinara sauce. I just used Rao’s sauce, which is used by many on a low-carb diet as it does not have any added sugar and it’s lower in carbs.
They are seriously the best!
If you have ever been tempted to make a pasta dish lately, then this zucchini lasagna recipe is just for you. Keep reading and you’ll see exactly how to do that.
The list might look long, but every single ingredient is important in this zucchini lasagna. Here’s a bit more about what you’ll need:
- Zucchini: To make enough for an entire lasagna, you’ll need 5 zucchinis.
- Salt: Just enough to cover the zucchini noodles.
- Olive Oil: You only need about a tablepsoon, to saute the onions and garlic.
- Yellow onion: Dice half of an onion.
- Ground turkey: It takes an entire pound of turkey to make this lasagna. For the best results, use 93/7% blend.
- Garlic: Mince 3 garlic cloves. You can use more if you want it to have a stronger flavor.
- Part skim ricotta cheese: You need one cup of this kind of cheese. It gives it a creamy texture without an overpowering richness.
- Fat free cottage cheese: Use 1/2 a cup in the lasagna. It increases the protein in the dish.
- Parmesan cheese: You only need 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese. You can use the preshredded kind or do it yourself!
- Egg: This is the ingredient that keeps everything together. You only need one egg for this recipe.
- Pepper: Add about 1/2 a teaspoon, or just enough to bring out the flavors.
- Dried oregano: Two teaspoons of oregano will really make this taste like an authentic Italian dish!
- Chopped fresh basil: 1/4 a cup of fresh basil is just the thing to bring out the rest of the fresh flavors.
- Marinara sauce: Use 1 1/2 cups of your favorite jarred marinara sauce. My favorite kind is Rao’s homemade sauce.
- Lite shredded mozzarella cheese: Use enough to really cover the lasagna. For me, it was 2 cups.
Kitchen Tools Required For This Casserole
You don’t need anything fancy to make this dish – just a skillet and a casserole dish and a few utensils.
- 9×13 Casserole Dish
- Cutting Board
- Saute Pan or Skillet
- Medium Mixing Bowl
- Baking Sheet
- Paper Towels
For measuring, you will need 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/4 cup, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon.
How To Make Easy Zucchini Lasagna
This lasagna is as easy as the kind with noodles. First, preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
Next, slice the zucchini into noodle-like strips, about 1/4 inch thick. Set them aside on a baking sheet, and salt each noodle liberally (this helps suck up the moisture from the veggie). After ten minutes, dry noodles off completely on a paper towel.
In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and onion. Cook them for 2-3 minutes and then add ground turkey.
Once the turkey is almost cooked through, add garlic. Turn off the heat once the turkey is cooked.
In a medium bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Stir in the turkey mixture.
In a 9×13 casserole dish, add 1/2 cup marinara sauce, spread around the bottom.
Now you are ready to make the lasagna layers!
Add a layer of zucchini noodles, touching but not overlapping. Then, add 1/2 cup more red sauce and spread around.
Add half of the ricotta and turkey mixture, spread around. Then, sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
Repeat those steps by adding another layer of zucchini, red sauce, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella cheese.
Bake the lasagna for 45 minutes, then turn to broil for 5 more minutes, making the cheese toasty.
Let it sit 15 minutes before eating. If there is excess liquid, drain.
Below are some common zucchini lasagna questions. Don’t see the question you are looking for? Leave a comment at the bottom of this post!
How do you cut the zucchini the same thickness each time?
The easiest way to cut the zucchini into ribbons is to use a mandolin slicer. If you don’t have a mandolin, you can use a food processor.
Another really easy way to cut it into thin strips is to use a vegetable peeler. Just run the peeler down the length of the zucchini. It’s so easy!
How do you keep zucchini lasagna from being watery?
The secret to preventing zucchini lasagna from becoming mushy is to salt the zucchini and remove as much moisture as possible. Add enough salt to the zucchini slices so that it completely covers them. Then, lay them out on a baking sheet.
Finally, blot it dry with a paper towel after a bit. This will absorb quite a bit of moisture and make the noodles a little crispier in your dish.
Do you rinse zucchini after salting?
No, do not rinse the zucchini after you salt it. This will keep the zucchini as dry as possible. If you are worried about how much salt you are using, don’t add more salt to the cheese or sauce mixture.
This tastes the best when it is fresh and hot out of the oven. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will only last about 3 days. After 3 days, the texture will begin to soften and deteriorate.
It will still taste delicious the next day but eat it soon for the best flavor.
If you liked this recipe, you’ll want to try these!
Here are some more of my favorite casserole-style dishes. Enjoy!
- Buffalo Chicken Casserole With Cauliflower
- Broccoli Cheddar Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Casserole
- Lemon Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Healthy Turkey Enchiladas
Recipe by Erin Morrissey and Photos by The Mindful Hapa
- 5 medium zucchini
- salt, enough to cover zucchini noodles
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 lb ground turkey (93/7 blend)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1.5 cups marinara sauce (jarred sauce, I used Raos)
- 2 cups lite shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
- Slice zucchinis into noodle like strips, about 1/4 inch thick. Set aside on baking sheet, and salt each noodle liberally. After ten minutes, dry noodles off completely on paper towel.
- In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add ground turkey.
- Once turkey is almost cooked through, add garlic. Turn off heat once turkey is cooked.
- In a medium bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Stir in turkey mixture.
- In 9×13 casserole dish, add 1/2 cup marinara sauce, spread around bottom.
- Add a layer of zucchini noodles, touching but not overlapping. Then add 1/2 cup more red sauce and spread around.
- Add half of the ricotta and turkey mixture, spread around. Then sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat steps by adding another layer of zucchini, red sauce, ricotta mixture and mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 45 minutes, then turn to broil for 5 more minutes, making the cheese toasty.
- Let sit 15 minutes before eating. If there is excess liquid, drain.
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