I have had zucchini lasagna every summer of my life and it never gets old. I simply don’t understand people who get sick of zucchini at the end of the summer!
The one flaw in most zucchini lasagna recipes
The one drawback to traditional zucchini lasagna recipes is that they often turn out… soupy. This is because zucchinis are about 95% water. As the zucchini bakes, its cell walls break down and release all that water into your lasagna – unless you take an extra step to prevent that. It may take a little more time, but the end result is so worth it!
Pre-bake your zucchini noodles
First, make sure your zucchini slices are at least 1/4 inch thick. If they’re any thinner, they’ll fall apart during the pre-cooking process and you won’t be able to layer the lasagna. I use a mandoline slicer to make this super quick and easy. The slicer I have isn’t on the market anymore, but this is the one I will be purchasing next! And watch your fingers if you use one of these things – it’s a good idea to wear cut-resistant gloves while operating a mandoline slicer.
Next, sprinkle salt over your zucchini slices and let them sit for at least 30 minutes. When you come back, the zucchini will have released a lot of water and the slices will be ready for par-baking. Preheat your oven to 375º F/190º C, then foil-and-oil two cookie sheets. Place your zucchini in a single layer on these cookie sheets and bake for 25 minutes. While that’s baking make the other two lasagna layers – your meat or mushroom sauce and your ricotta mix. By the time your zucchini noodles are done and have cooled off just a bit, you’ll be ready to layer it up and bake it! This dish has a good leftover game – make it on a Sunday, and you’ll be thanking yourself on Monday night.
If you have fresh tomatoes, make this sauce for the meat or mushroom layer.Print
This zucchini lasagna is one of the best ways to use up your summer zucchini harvest!
- Prep Time: 60 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: American, Italian
- 4 medium zucchini (or summer squash)
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 24 ounces spicy Italian sausage (and/or 3 cups chopped baby Bella mushrooms for a vegetarian version)
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tbsp dried parsley)
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried parsley)
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- Slice zucchini into 1/4 inch slabs, sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375º F/190º C and prepare two baking sheets with foil and a thin layer of oil. Pick up each zucchini slice and slide your fingers down it to remove the excess water and place them in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake for 20-30 minutes and let cool for 10 minutes before handling.
- While the zucchini slices are cooking and cooling, brown your sausage or mushrooms in a skillet (use a little butter or oil for the mushrooms). If you are using mushrooms, feel free to add a half-teaspoon of fennel, 1-2 cloves of garlic and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to boost flavor. Break up the sausage and/or mushrooms into very small pieces and make it's well-browned. Remove from heat, drain off excess fat from the sausage and add your tomato sauce.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for topping), basil, parsley, nutmeg, remaining 1 tsp salt, and pepper.
- In a 9×13 pan, place one layer of zucchini slices followed by 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture, then 1/2 of the tomato mixture. Repeat and end with a layer of zucchini slices if you have enough. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese over the top, then bake at 375º F/190º C for 45 minutes or until the cheese on top of the lasagna is browning and bubbly. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.