Gluten-free zucchini noodle vegetable lasagna. A way to enjoy lasagna without the pasta! Whether you’re trying to cut back on carbs or simply trying to sneak more veggies in your food, this is a way to pack your meatless dinner full of nutrients.
This recipe is just a *bit* more complicated than my usual recipes, but let me explain. It’s still totally doable!
I’ve long wanted to make a zucchini noodle lasagna. Not like “zoodles” which are spiralized zucchini noodles (used in this zucchini and quinoa salad) but zucchini trying to pass as lasagna noodles.
The trick is getting the zucchini to be a bit crisp, and not soggy.
Because of this, and the fact that the rest of the vegetables are sautéed, it is a meal that requires a couple more steps than I usually like.
But I’ll try to break it down for you as much as possible!
So, let’s start with the zucchini noodles. Unless you have a mandolin, which many people don’t like to use, just do your best at cutting them evenly and thinly.
1/8 inch slices if you can, but it’s better for them to be even than to be thin.
Otherwise some may burn (see picture below).
To remove some excess moisture, sprinkle those zucchini slices with salt and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Use paper towels to dab away extra water and salt, then LIGHTLY spray with olive oil (if you have spray cans, they help not to over-do it here).
Then bake for about 15 minutes at 450 until crisp. I also add a few minutes of broil time to the end of this but you have to remember to watch very carefully for burning!
ALSO – if you want to skip this pre-baking step, the lasagna will still be edible (though maybe slightly chewier). But the salt step is important!
Meanwhile, let’s make the rest of the vegetables!
The beauty of this dish is that besides the zucchini, you can use whatever other veggies you want. I sauteed mushrooms, bell pepper, spinach and onion.
You could also use yellow squash, broccoli, or even carrots.
Whatever you use, sauté until tender. Then you’ll mix in a jar (or 3 cups homemade) of marinara sauce. That’ll be one of the layers.
So we have zucchini slices, sauce and vegetables, and the third layer will be a mixture of ricotta and mozzarella cheeses with a couple eggs.
Then it’s a very similar layering process to my ziti recipe.
A little bit of sauce to coat the bottom of the pan, then half of the zucchini noodles, half the ricotta mixture, half of the sauce, then repeat. (Or cut it in thirds to make more layers.)
It’s okay if your zucchini slices don’t take up the whole pan (I went with the more layers option so the zucchini didn’t go as far). I alternated where I put the slices on each layer so that every bite would have some zucchini.
(This picture below if before the final layer of sauce and shredded cheese.)
See all those beautiful vegetable layers!
The work is worth it – it’s packed with things that are good for you (plus some cheese, because obviously).
Gluten-free zucchini noodle vegetable lasagna. A way to enjoy lasagna without the pasta! Whether you're trying to cut back on carbs or simply trying to sneak more veggies in your food, this is a way to pack your meatless dinner full of nutrients.
- 3-4 medium zucchini
- extra virgin olive oil as needed (a spray version works well)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 white onion , chopped
- 1 red bell pepper , chopped
- 8 ounces mushrooms (I used baby bella), chopped
- 3 large handfuls fresh baby spinach
- 24 ounces marinara sauce (I used a tomato and basil sauce)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (additional to above)
- herbs such as basil, oregano, chives, dill, thyme or Italian seasoning (optional)
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Thinly and evenly slice your zucchini lengthwise into long noodles (like lasagna noodles would be), 1/8 inch thick if possible. To remove excess moisture, place on paper towels, sprinkle with salt and let sit for 10 minutes. Use paper towels to blot excess water/salt and place on a baking sheet.
Skip to next step if not pre-baking. If you are doing the pre-baking step, spray zucchini noodles lightly with olive and bake at 450°F. for 15 minutes. Option to end with 3 minutes of high broil to add an extra crispness, but watch carefully for burning!
Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium sized stove pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chopped onion and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add in bell pepper and mushrooms and sauté for another 3-5 minutes until tender. Add in spinach leaves until wilted, about 1 minute.
Remove vegetables from heat and stir in sauce.
In a small bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, eggs and mozzarella cheese.
In a 9x13 casserole pan, spoon a small amount of the sauce mixture to slightly cover bottom of dish. Then layer as follows:
Layer 1: Add half the zucchini slices.
Layer 2: Half of the ricotta cheese mixture.
Layer 3: Half of the sauce and vegetables.
Layer 4: The remaining zucchini slices.
Layer 5: The remaining ricotta cheese mixture.
Layer 6: The remaining sauce + vegetable mixture.
(Note: to add more layers, use 1/3 of each mixture instead of half.)
Cover the casserole with foil, reduce oven heat to 375°F and bake for about 30-35 minutes. (10-15 minutes longer if not pre-baking the zucchini slices). Remove foil, top with remaining 1 cup cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
*If you're in a hurry, you can skip the step of baking the zucchini noodles first - though it may result in soggy noodles.
Recommended and useful items for this zucchini noodle vegetable lasagna recipe:
A 9×13 casserole dish and my favorite knife can be found in the Trial and Eater amazon store.
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