I was tempted to title this Zucchini Lasagne since, for some reason, lasagna, when spelled lasagne, seems so much more authentic and fancy. But then I realized this zucchini lasagna, which I’ve been making variations of for forever, is hardly authentic and I’m pretty sure you have to actually live in Rome or have the first name Giada to throw around Lasagne in recipe titles.
So zucchini lasagNA it is. There.
And anyway, no matter what it’s called, this is right up there with my favorite skillet summer lasagna (only almost better) and who doesn’t need another way to use up their prolific zucchini? Of course, in my neck of the northern woods, my zucchini plants are still miniscule causing me to buy my zucchini, but give it another month and I’ll probably be making this lasagna every night.
I know that I just posted like a bazillion meals to make without using your oven. This isn’t one of them. And I feel kind of like a hypocrite for posting it when I complain incessantly about my beastly hot house, but I tell you what, on a cooler day or if you have A/C or if you simply just need zucchini lasagna in your life despite the heat, consider this recipe to be the one. Okie doke?
Making use of no-boil noodles (the only way to go for lasagna/ne in my book) and simple homemade red sauce, this zucchini version is a cinch to put together and despite being meatless, it’s one of our favorite summer dinners and my kids gobble it up. They learned long ago there’s just too much of the “green stuff” to pick out so they gave up. Like I always say, become one with the zucchini!
If you use cottage cheese instead of ricotta, the lasagna might have a tad bit more liquid while baking. The 10-15 minute rest at the end should help everything firm up (you can lightly drain the cottage cheese before using, if desired). Look for zucchini (or pick them from your garden) that are more small than large - the larger the zucchini, the more seeds and water it will have. Finally, check below the recipe for a concise, step-by-step on cutting the zucchini thinly for this recipe.
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 8 ounces cream cheese, light or regular, softened to room temperature
- 3 cups part-skim ricotta or cottage cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 small to medium zucchini
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
- 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
- While the sauce is cooking, proceed with prepping the rest of the ingredients. In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese, ricotta or cottage cheese, salt and pepper.
- Trim the knobby ends from each zucchini and cut in half lengthwise (see pictures below) and then slice each half very thinly. The pieces should look like thin, zucchini pasta sheets or noodles. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the garlic and oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of each).
- To assemble the lasagna, spread 1/2 cup sauce on the bottom of the pan. It will be a very thin, splotchy layer - that's ok. Spread out a single layer of zucchini so they aren't overlapping but cover most of the pan. A few empty spots are ok as long as it is mostly covered. Layer four no-boil lasagna noodles, slightly overlapping (I use the Barilla brand that calls for overlapping noodles; consult your particular lasagna noodle box to see if you should use 3 or 4 noodles for each layer - some brands say not to overlap; you basically want the noodles to cover the whole area of the baking pan).
- Dollop 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles and spread into a somewhat even layer. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the top, one layer of zucchini and sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella. You'll repeat this two more times (4 noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 3/4 cup sauce, zucchini layer and mozzarella). On the final layer if you have more than 3/4 cup of sauce, that's fine, just use it all.
- Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 30-35 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Here’s a little step-by-step on cutting the zucchini for the lasagna: