My family loves classic lasagna—its red sauce, noodles and cheesy goodness make it the ultimate comfort food. But in the summertime, it feels a bit too heavy. So, I started to experiment. What dish could I make that isn’t as heavy as traditional lasagna but still has the taste my family loves? Answer: Zucchini lasagna!
This recipe takes advantage of summer’s zucchini bumper crop, subbing in zucchini slices for pasta noodles, making it a lighter dinner option. For those of you who are skeptical about leaving the pasta out, I reckon you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how good this is if you just give it a try! Luckily, it’s not that hard (and don’t worry—I didn’t leave out the cheese!). Here’s how to make it!
To start, make the veggie sauce. For this, you’ll need red bell pepper, onion, garlic, spinach and Muir Glen organic pasta sauce. (Exact measurements are in the recipe below!) Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and onions and sauté until soft, or for about five minutes. Add the chopped red bell pepper next, and cook for another five minutes.
Next, add the spinach and cook until it’s wilted down.
Stir in the pasta sauce and add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Simmer the sauce over medium-low heat until it’s thickened—you don’t want your sauce to be watery! This will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the zucchini into 1/8-inch slices using a knife or a mandoline. Sprinkle the zucchini with salt and set aside for 10 minutes. (Zucchini holds a lot of water, so salting it helps remove any unwanted moisture before you cook it.) After it has sat for 10 minutes, blot off the excess moisture with a paper towel.
Heat a gas or charcoal grill to high heat and grill the slices of zucchini until each slice is lightly charred on both sides. Again, use a paper towel to blot away any excess moisture.
Next, preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl mix the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and egg and stir well. Then, you’re ready to assemble the lasagna! On the bottom of a 13x9-inch casserole dish, spread some of the red sauce.
Next, layer zucchini slices on top of the sauce layer.
For the third layer, spread the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the zucchini, and then top the cheese mixture with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.
Repeat these layers until all of your ingredients are used up, making sure to top off with sauce and mozzarella.
Cover the pan with foil and bake the lasagna for 45 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese has melted. Make sure to let it stand for about 10 minutes before serving. Top with fresh basil if you’d like, and enjoy!