As fall starts to move in, I find myself in comfort mode.
I want to be cozy.
I want to wear wool socks.
I want comfy meals.
But I also don’t want to pack on some comfy pounds…can I have both? Why can’t I just have the things I want!
My comfort meal of choice is lasagna. It is hearty, comfy, and saucy. I miss the original butt busting version dearly, I do. But as an alternative, I love replacing the noodles in a typical lasagna with different vegetables. One of my favorite paleo versions uses roasted eggplants. Aaaaaaand, my thighs are pretty thankful for this swap.
With zucchini being at the end of their peak season, I decided to whip up a lasagna using zucchini ribbons in place of lasagna noodles for a healthy and tasty lasagna without weighing you down. This version does a yummy layer of whole milk ricotta with parmesan cheese which I love. However, if you are avoiding dairy, you can easily skip the ricotta cheese mixture layer and this lasagna would still be a winner!
Gluten Free Zucchini Lasagna
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1 lb ground grass-fed beef or gluten free pork sausage
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 10 oz whole baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 diced bell pepper
- 4 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes (undrained)
- 6 oz can of tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley (plus more for garnish)
- salt to taste
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup parmesan (divided)
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Slice zucchini 1/8-inch thick using a mandolin slicer. Place in a single layer on a plate lined with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Sprinkle with salt and set them aside for 10 minutes to drain of excess moisture. After 10 minutes, pat the zucchini slices with the clean towel to remove the moisture.
- In a large sauce pan or pot, brown the ground beef (or sausage) over medium heat until completely cooked. Drain excess grease. Return pan to heat and add onion, minced garlic, and sliced mushrooms. Stirring frequently, brown and cook until onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add 2 cans of diced tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and parsley. Bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Sauce can be made several days ahead and refrigerated.
- In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, egg, and 1/4-cup parmesan.
- Spread 1/3 of the meat sauce (about 2 cups) in the bottom of a 9″ X 13″ glass pan. Layer slices of zucchini on top of the sauce. Spread another 1 to 2 cups of sauce on top of the zucchini slices. Spread all of the ricotta mixture on top of the sauce layer. Then place a second layer of zucchini slices on top. Spoon remaining sauce on top. Top with remaining parmesan cheese. This can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with foil and refrigerate until ready to cook. (Note – you will need to remove from refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to placing in oven.)
- Bake lasagna at 350 F for 30 minutes. (If the lasagna was made ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator, add 15 minutes to the cook time.) Serve hot topped with fresh basil and/or extra parmesan cheese.
Note – This recipe is easily adaptable for food intolerances or other diets.
Paleo-Friendly and Dairy Free Adaption: To make this paleo-friendly and dairy free, do not include the ricotta-cheese layer. The lasagna will still taste amazing.
Vegetarian Adaption: Remove the meat from the marinara sauce. Double the Riccotta-mixture for added protein.