This Zucchini Lasagna is naturally low-carb but still packed with flavor! It’s done in an hour, making it a great choice for weeknight cooking.
Healthier Zucchini Lasagna Recipe
We have been testing zucchini lasagna recipes for months so that when you all get hit with an overflowing garden that has more zucchini than anyone could ever use you could make the best dinner ever. And you’re welcome, because boy did we test this recipe.
We tried to keep this zucchini noodle lasagna healthier but still packed full of flavor, and a big concern for us was a dang good sauce. We wanted one that would work well as a meat sauce or vegetarian. We tried all sorts of meats, from basic hamburger to sausage to mixtures of the both. We finally ended up using our famous burger mixture, 60% chuck and 40% brisket, which gave such great flavor but also the sauce was able to hold its own without any meat.
Next was the cheese issue. We knew we wanted mozzarella, but what about ricotta mixtures and parmesan? We tested and tested until we had things just right and I can hardly believe I’m saying this but it ended up being the most awesome with… cottage cheese!!! Can you believe it?
It’s healthier, which was an added bonus, but more importantly (ha! flavor always wins at my house) it was smooth and added a light creaminess that is just lovely. We still stuck with mozzarella as the major cheese, but we loved the hint of saltiness from a little parmesan on ever layer.
Who cares about all of that though, right? I mean, what really mattered most was how blasted long would we be stuck in the kitchen? Well, this sauce is one we will be canning all summer, so in the end it won’t be long, but also we are able to throw it together super fast as it is great served immediately and only gets better the longer it simmers (which happens again during baking so, booyah!).
We loved that it was so yummy without simmering all day, and we could easily layer it all without mixing up different components, but most of all happy that if we did choose to make it in the morning and let it simmer it only tasted even better!!
What’s Needed for Zucchini Lasagna?
This low-carb zucchini lasagna recipe has three main components: the zucchini noodles, the cheese mixture, and the homemade meat sauce. Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Cottage cheese
- Shredded mozzarella
- Shredded Parmesan
- Ground beef
- Olive oil
- Bell peppers
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Diced tomatoes
- Fresh basil
- Italian seasoning
- Crushed red pepper flakes
How to Make Low-Carb Lasagna
This zucchini lasagna with meat sauce couldn’t be simpler to make! Here are the basic steps:
- Make the homemade meat sauce. It needs to simmer for at least 10 minutes, but you can let it simmer over low heat for as long as you’d like.
- Spread a little sauce in the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Cover the bottom of the pan evenly with zucchini noodle slices.
- Top the zucchini slices with cottage cheese, followed by more sauce, shredded mozzarella, and Parmesan.
- Repeat the layering process two more times, ending with a layer of mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.
How Long Will Zucchini Lasagna Keep?
Cooked lasagna will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. It should be cooled, covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator.
Can I Keep This Recipe Vegetarian?
Yes! Simply omit the meat in the sauce and make it as directed in the recipe card below. We’ve made this low-carb lasagna with and without meat, and both tasted delicious!
Tips for Making Zucchini Lasagna
If your zucchini lasagna seemed a little soupy, here are a few tips for the next time you make it:
- Grill the zucchini, then pat dry to remove any excess moisture before assembling the lasagna.
- Generously salt the zucchini, then let it sit in a colander in your sink for 15 to 20 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much moisture is released! You’ll need to pat the zucchini dry afterwards too.
- Lay a few uncooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of your baking dish before assembling the rest of the zucchini lasagna. You won’t have a totally pasta-free lasagna, but the noodles on the bottom of the baking dish will soak up any excess moisture in the lasagna!
More Healthy Dinner Recipes:
- Mexican Zucchini Boats
- Cheesy Meatballs and Zucchini Noodles Skillet
- BBQ Chicken Zucchini Nachos
- Healthier Sloppy Joes with Turkey
- BBQ Instant Pot Whole Chicken
- Low-Carb Ground Beef and Cauliflower Rice Casserole
- Healthy Thai Peanut Steak Salad
- Italian Dressing Chicken
- Ground Turkey Chili
- ALL OF OUR HEALTHY RECIPES!
- 6 zucchini, , sliced
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 6 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 lb 60% ground chuck mixed with 40% ground brisket** , (optional)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, , minced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, , minced
- 1/2 cup onion, , minced
- 1 clove garlic, , minced
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 30 oz tomato sauce
- 15 oz diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons fresh basil, , chopped
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 3 shakes of red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper , , to taste
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees F
Grill the zucchini (optional):
- Heat a grill or grill pan to medium heat.
- Grill the zucchini on each side for a minute or two and remove to a plate.
Make the meat sauce:
- Place a sauce pot on a medium high burner and add the meat, with the olive oil and butter. If skipping the meat, jump right to the next step.
- Cook the meat, stirring occasionally until almost brown and add the onion, peppers and garlic.
- Cook until tender, about 2 minutes and add the remaining ingredients.
- Stir to combine and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat.
Assemble the lasagna:
- Place 1/2 cup of the sauce on the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan and spread it out, adding a little more if needed. (The pan should not be entirely covered.)
- Line the pan with zucchini and top with a heaping 1/3 cup cottage cheese, using the back of a spoon to spread it out.
- Add 3/4 cup of the sauce and spread it out carefully.
- Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella and 2 teaspoons of parmesan cheese.
- Repeat the layers two more times ending with sauce and the two cheeses.
- Spray a little foil with cooking spray and place over the lasagna.
- Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until beginning to turn golden.
- Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve.
I made this after being given a huge Zucchini and it was just excellent! I did put raw Oven Ready Lasagna noodles on the bottom layer as suggested in a previous comment and it worked just perfect to soak up any excess liquid. I did grill the Zucchini slices and drained them of excess moisture on layered paper towel and that was a good suggestion. I changed a few things and used ground Moose meat and Hunts thick and zesty Romano Cheese and Basil with the addition of about 1/2 C of finely chopped onion and 1/2 C finely chopped Red and Yellow Bell Pepper as called for in the sauce recipe. I have frozen the leftovers and we will enjoy this again. I recommend this recipe as a terrific way to use up excess Zucchini and personally prefer the Zucchini slices as a substitute for noodles for less carbs. I won’t be turning down any offers of Zucchini in the future.
That pasta on the bottom suggestion is seriously such a great idea!
my oh my! all the ladies at the quilt guild LOVED YOUR RECIPE! I had to give them your web site. hope you don’t mind.
I am noted for changing recipes I use—not this one—made it to the letter and was so glad I grilled the zucchini. what a wonderful flavor it gives the dish. thanks for all the time you put into developing this recipe.
You’ve made my day!! Thank you so much for sharing our site as well!
Could I make this lasagna and freeze it for later on in the winter? Need to use up my zucchini! thank you….
You definitely can, just make sure you grill and then soak up any water off of the zucchini first before assembling. You can also slice the zucchini and freeze just the vegetable and then make the lasagna later.
Thank you for posting this! It was wonderful. I added a half block cream cheese to the cheese mix. It adds a nice creamy kick.
Kim, I had never thought of doing that! Great idea!
Thanks for the great recipe! I knew that zucchini cooks very watery so I actually added pasta noodles underneath (not too eat) but because I needed somewhere for the water to go and I figured the pasta would suck up the water. A rice pasta or quinoa pasta work great for this and when serving I take from the zucchini layer up, My husband will eat the pasta.
That is a great idea!!
Made this tonight and absolutely love the flavors! I didnt grill the zucchini since we have a charcoal grill and it takes WAY too long to get hot. Like i said before it was delicious, but very watery… Do you have a suggestion as to how i can get the water out of the zucchini quickly and without using my grill? Thanks!
Hi, you can just cook them in a pan and pat them dry after. That will release the water. 🙂
The flavors in this were superb. My family, except for me, doesn’t love zucchini so I was looking for a lasagna that most closely mimicked a traditional lasagna flavor and richness wise. This fit the bill! The one thing I might do differently next time is use a little less sauce or size-up my glass pan 9X13 overflowed the oven! Eek! 😉
Oh shoot! I hate overflows! glad you enjoyed it!
Nobody seems to have a real, actual Zucchini lasagna recipe. They all replace the noodles with the ribboned squash, or like you, it’s a meat lasagna with some zucchini in there. A pound of meat is more than flavoring a sauce.
I’m not sure what you mean. It’s definitely a zucchini lasagna to use zucchini as the main ingredient. You can easily sub peppers in the sauce instead of meat if you’d like vegetarian.
Develop your dream recipe yourself!
The flavor was amazing even though I forgot to put in the diced tomatoes, however it was way too saucy and I even grilled the zucchini. Any ideas on where I may have gone wrong?
Some zucchini just have a higher water content based on size and how fresh they are. I’d wrap them in paper towels after grilling and squeeze out liquid.
I have a ton of zucchini coming from the farm I work at. I’m up to my ears in it, so I have been looking for all sorts of recipes. One farfalle pasta dish from Cooks Illustrated (which is DELICIOUS) had me sprinkle my prepared squash with salt in a bowl sitting in a colander. Then let the squash sit for 30 minutes. When you lift the bowl out of the colander, you’ll be amazed how much water leaves the zucchini! Always be sure to pat the squash dry before going onto the next step. Next time I use this recipe I am going to salt the zucchini and grill it. I also found it to be a little soupy, but the flavor was delicious!
Madeline, I love that tip!! Thank you so much for leaving it!
This was the best zucchini lasagna I have made. The additional time it takes to grill the zucchini is really worth it. Thanks so much.
Thank you so much!!
This was so delicious-but I think it would have been better if some of the water was removed from the zuccini first.
Hi DOnna, Did you try grilling the zucchini first? That’s how we prefer it as it removes a lot of the water. 🙂
Heather @ Shards of Lavender
Saw this lovely recipe this morning and knew what to do with the pile of zucchini on my counter. Thanks for sharing! I made the lasagna today and put it in the fridge until I can bake it for dinner tomorrow.
YAY! I hope you love it too!
Cariann, it turned out perfectly and everyone loved it! Even those who say they don’t like zucchini;)
You are amazing for taking the time to tell me!! Made my day!
You’re welcome! Sorry I spelled your name wrong…
oh, I never even notice since everyone does 🙂
Thanks for being so understanding:)
Sarah @ SnixyKitchen
Now I know what to do with my fresh garden zucchini! Carrian, this looks amazing and I love the cottage cheese addition! (It’s my secret to mac and cheese, so I imagine it shines here too). xo.
No way! That’s so smart!
Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie
I’ve been wanting to try lasagna with zucchini and I am so glad you posted this one! Looks great.
Michelle @My California Kitchen
I love using cottage cheese in my lasagnas. This zucchini version looks so tasty!
Looks delish!! How thin do you slice the zucchini?
About 1/8″, sometimes bigger in my laziness. 🙂
Do you peel the zucchini?
No, leave it peeled. The peel helps the zucchini slices keep it’s structure.
What an awesome, healthy lasagna, I need to make this for my boys!
They will seriously love it! And I hope you do too!
This looks like perfection!! And the good news it that my zucchini plant is producing like crazy right now!
I made grilled zucchini lasagna last month and I loved it! I used mozzarella, but I never would’ve thought to use cottage cheese. I’m going to have to try that!
Liz @ The Lemon Bowl
I made a paleo zucchini and eggplant lasagna two weeks ago and it was incredible!! Love summer veggies!
That sounds wonderful!