Zucchini Lasagna is one of our favorite ways to lighten up our beloved and classic lasagna recipe. Zucchini is a naturally mild vegetable, making it the perfect conduit for your favorite lasagna flavors. Be bold. Be adventurous. And add a new item to your weekday menu.
The Best Zucchini Lasagna Recipe
Yeah, we know… just the idea of tackling a zucchini lasagna recipe can be daunting. All those layers of cheesy goodness and hearty meat sauce piled between thinly sliced zucchini seems like it would take a lot of work, right? But with the right tools, this meal only takes 30 minutes to prep, and the rest of the work is left for the oven. And if you’re new to adding zucchini to your lasagna, trust us when we say that it really doesn’t change the flavor all that much. Zucchini is a naturally mild vegetable, making it the perfect match for all the bold flavors in this dish.
Love lasagna, but want it faster – try our Lazy Lasagna!
What You Will Need
- fresh zucchini – Try to select either small or medium sized zucchinis for easy slicing.
- lean ground beef – A staple in any lasagna recipe.
- ground Italian sausage – We love the depth of flavor that this brings paired with the lean ground beef.
- yellow onion – A staple savory ingredient.
- garlic – With equal parts spicy and nutty, this small vegetable packs a ton of flavor.
- marinara sauce – Pick up your favorite store bought variety or use our recipe to make the homemade version.
- fresh basil & dried oregano leaves – Classic lasagna flavors composed of fresh herbs and cabinet staples that will make this recipe shine.
- kosher salt & ground black pepper – Just a little bit goes a long way to brighten flavors throughout.
- crushed red pepper flakes – For those who like a little heat.
Ricotta Cheese Mixture
- whole milk ricotta – This is a white, light, and soft cheese that melts perfectly throughout this lasagna.
- mozzarella cheese – This cheese adds a bit of tanginess to your cheese mixture.
- parmesan cheese – Its bold and sharp flavors compliment its more subtle counterparts.
- lemon juice – This simple ingredient helps to brighten up all the flavors in this mixture.
- Italian seasoning – This is one of our kitchen staples! Use our Italian seasoning recipe to always have it on hand.
- egg – This is a binding agent to keep all the ingredients together.
- kosher salt – The perfect seasoning for any savory dish.
- parmesan cheese and fresh mozzarella – The more cheese the better!
- basil leaves – A complex flavored herb, with notes of mint, pepper, and anise, that will be the perfect finishing touch to your savory lasagna.
How To Keep Zucchini Lasagna From Getting Watery
Zucchinis contain a lot of water, which can make any dish that calls for them a bit soggy. Here are our top four tips to keep your zucchini lasagna the right consitency.
- pick small zucchinis – The smaller the zucchini, the less water content.
- use salt – Once you’ve sliced your zucchini, sprinkle them with salt in order to draw out the water content. Then, before cooking, pat them with a clean paper towel to absorb any additional liquid and to remove the salt.
- turkey baster – After your lasagna is done cooking, use a turkey baster to remove any access liquid from the bottom of your pan or skillet.
- slotted spatula – No matter what you do, your zucchini lasagna will have a bit more moisture than a classic lasagna recipe. Use a slotted spatula when serving in order for the access moisture escape through the bottom.
How To Make Zucchini Lasagna
We would still be asking ourselves how to slice zucchini for lasagna if it weren’t for our trusty mandoline slicer. This kitchen staple creates uniform zucchini strips to keep every bite consistent. But be mindful of your fingertips! We wear mandoline slicer gloves just to be safe. Use your mandoline to slice your zucchini’s into 1.5 centimeter thick strips. Next, sprinkle them with salt on a baking sheet in order to extract water before cooking.
To make your ricotta mixture, gather and measure your whole milk ricotta, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, egg, and kosher salt. Then mix all of these ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl.
Next up is the meat sauce! Bring a large skillet, preferably cast iron to medium-high heat, add the ground beef and Italian sausage. Move the ground meat around the skillet until it’s cooked through and drain the excess grease.
Next, add in your chopped onion and garlic and move them throughout the pan for 2-3 minutes or until they’re softened. Lastly, add the marinara sauce, fresh basil, oregano, kosher salt, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Give everything a good stir to combine all those tasty ingredients and let it all simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes.
Finish prepping the zucchini by using a clean paper towel to thoroughly pat them all dry. Take your time here in order to soak up as much liquid as possible and to ensure that the salt is wiped off.
Now we get to assemble the lasagna! Just like regular lasagna, start by adding approximately a quarter cup of meat sauce to the bottom of your skillet. Next, put down a single layer of zucchini.
Place about a third of a cup of meat sauce on top of your first zucchini layer.
Then grab your creamy ricotta mixture and place about half of it on top of the meat sauce. This can be tricky to spread, so start by placing a few dollops of the ricotta mixture all over the meat sauce and then gently spread them out with the back of a spoon or a spatula.
Continue the layering process with another layer of sliced zucchini. Be sure to press it down firmly with your hands in order to compress everything. Next, add another third of a cup of meat sauce, the last half of the ricotta filling, and the final layer of zucchini.
Using your hands, press down on the top layer of zucchini and then add the remaining meat sauce.
How Long To Cook Zucchini Lasagna
Cover your uncooked zucchini lasagna with tin foil and place it on the middle rack of your oven preheated to 350° for 25 minutes. Next, remove it from the oven, take off the foil, and cover it with fresh mozzarella and return it to the oven, uncovered, until the cheese is melted. This takes about 10 minutes.
Remove your gorgeous zucchini lasagna from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving. You will inevitably see some liquid starting to form around the edges, so our best advice is to use a turkey baster to remove it. Garnish your dish with fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese and get ready to dig in!
Make It A Meal
The only thing that makes this warm and savory dish any better are the right side dishes! Make this a complete meal by pairing your zucchini lasagna with our light and crisp fennel salad. And if you still have room for dessert and leftover zucchini, whip up a batch of our delicious double-chocolate zucchini brownies.
- cast iron skillet – We use a 12 inch, deep cast iron skillet for this recipe, but you could easily use a 9×13 casserole dish. Just know that you might need a bit more zucchini.
- storage – store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
- can you freeze zucchini lasagna – Yes! When you zucchini is fully cooled, transfer your zucchini lasagna into a freezer safe container with a lid. If you want single servings, cut your zucchini into single portions, place them in freezer safe containers, and place in your freezer. Your lasagna can stay frozen for about three months.
Made this recipe and loved it?! We would love it if you would take a minute and leave a star rating and review – it is also helpful if you made any substitutions or changes to the recipe to share that as well. THANK YOU!
Other Recipes You Might LikePrint
Zucchini Lasagna – an easy and delicious Zucchini Lasagna recipe that is packed with flavor! Tips included to reduce the water!
- 6–7 small or medium zucchini, sliced to 1.5 centimeters thick with mandolin*
- 1/2 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2–3 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 24oz marinara sauce, store-bought or homemade
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped (more for garnish)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt (plus additional for zucchini)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- (optional) 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 15oz whole milk ricotta (or dairy-free option)
- 1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (or dairy-free)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded (or dairy-free option)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8oz fresh mozzarella slices (more if you want) (sub dairy-free or regular grated mozzarella)
- fresh basil leaves
- grated parmesan cheese (sub dairy-free option)
- Prep Zucchini: thinly slice zucchini to 1.5 centimeters thick using a mandolin. Lay out on baking sheets and sprinkle with salt. Let sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Make Meat Sauce: bring a large cast iron skillet** to medium-high heat. Add ground beef and Italian sausage. Move around pan until the meat is cooked through, drain excess grease. Add onion and garlic. Move around pan with the cooked meat until onion starts to soften, approx. 2-3 minutes. Add marinara sauce, fresh basil, oregano, kosher salt, ground black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Stir to combine. Taste and add any additional salt or basil, as desired. Let simmer, uncovered, while you make the ricotta.
- Make Ricotta: combine Ricotta Mixture ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
- Finish Prepping Zucchini: take clean paper towels and thoroughly pat dry the zucchini, soaking up as much liquid as possible and ensuring as the salt is wiped off.
- Make Lasagna: add approx. 1/4 cup of the meat sauce mixture to the bottom of the skillet. Put down a layer of zucchini followed by 1/3 of the meat sauce followed by 1/2 of the ricotta mixture (I suggest putting little dollops all around and then gently spreading them out). Continue with another layer of zucchini and then press down firmly with flat hands to compress everything. Then add 1/3 of the meat sauce, the other 1/2 of the ricotta, a final layer of zucchini. Press down again with flat hands and then add the remaining meat sauce.
- Bake: Cover with foil and place in the oven, middle rack, at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and remove the foil. Cover with fresh mozzarella and return to the oven, uncovered, until cheese is melted (about 10 minutes).
- Serve: Remove and let cool slightly. It is almost impossible to remove all the water from the zucchini so you may have some settling on the sides – my best advice is to simply use a turkey baster or spoon to remove any excess liquid. Garnish with fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese.
- *Slicing zucchini: you don’t HAVE to use a mandolin, but that is the best way to get uniform, thin slices.
- **Cast Iron Skillet size: I used a 12 inch, deep cast iron skillet for this recipe. You could easily alter the recipe a bit to use in a 9×13 baking dish – you might just need a bit more zucchini, but the meat sauce and ricotta should be fine.
- Watery: zucchini is nearly 100% water is it is hard to remove ALL of the water – expect some water to settle after cooking – this is normal! I like using a turkey baster to remove the water – see blog post above for more tips and tricks you can implement to remove additional water before cooking.
- Dairy-Free: to make this dairy-free sub dairy-free ricotta (store-bought or homemade) and dairy-free versions of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Storage: store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days.
Keywords: zucchini lasagna