This baked zucchini “noodle” is my low-carb “lasagna” alternative that my husband and I have come to prefer. Don’t get me wrong, I still love lasagna now and again as it reminds me of my childhood. But a reduced carb option is always good to have. My mom, who is originally from the Midwest, made a mean lasagna when I was growing up. We had it often, as it was of the five dishes my mom actually enjoyed making. As I have mentioned before, my mom was not a cook. I can still vividly remember her standing in the kitchen, for what seemed like hours, pre-cooking the lasagna noodles and carefully draping them around the side of the colander and anywhere else in the kitchen she could find space to let them cool without sticking together. She seemed to enjoy this peaceful ritual.
I make traditional lasagna, like the one my mom used to make. But my husband found a noodle-less zucchini recipe a few years ago and that led to this baked zucchini “noodle” recipe. Zucchini, cut lengthwise and roasted, acts like noodles in this simple vegetarian meal. I use my favorite go-to simple tomato sauce recipe here and a combination of mozzarella and ricotta to make this vegetarian entrée both satisfying and flavorful.
Still not convinced? I get it: it’s hard giving up the noodle. Zucchini, however, has lots of health benefits that may just sway you. To start, zucchini is low in calories. It is loaded with potassium, which is known to help lower blood pressure. Zucchini is also a great source of vitamin A, which helps promote good eyesight and vitamin C, an anti-oxidant though to help the immune system. The high fiber content helps promote satiety, and also helps lower cholesterol.
This is a great prep-ahead recipe you can assemble in the morning and bake-off later, which I always welcome on those busy weekday nights when there never seems to be enough time. Alternatively, you can also bake it off and refrigerate it, reheating later as needed. My kids were a bit slow to warm up to this dish, much to my surprise as they both like zucchini. But I think that was when I called it zucchini lasagna. To them this was NOT the lasagna they had come to love. So, I started calling it baked zucchini “noodle” lasagna and sure enough, they began eating it. For everyone in the house to enjoy the same healthful dish is rare and, as a mom and chef, makes me super happy.
Baked Zucchini Noodle Lasagna
- 1 recipe of my Simple Tomato Sauce or 1 cup of your favorite store-bough tomato sauce, divided
- 8 large zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese, divided
- salt and black pepper
- Step 1 For the Zucchini: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease three baking sheets and set aside.
- Step 2 Place sliced zucchini on the prepared baking sheets in one layer being careful not to overlap. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush one side of the sliced zucchini with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked and you begin to see some coloration. Remove from the oven and cool.
- Step 3 Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- Step 4 To Assemble the Lasagna: Using an 8×8 baking pan, spoon 1/3 of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan and spread out evenly. Arrange 1/3 of the roasted zucchini slightly overlapping in an even layer on top of the sauce. Sprinkle 1/3 of the mozzarella over the zucchini. Spoon 1/3 of the ricotta evenly over the mozzarella. Spoon more sauce over the ricotta and using the back of a large tablespoon, lightly spread out the sauce and ricotta cheese as well as possible. Repeat the above process once more time. Cover the top of the lasagna with the remaining 1/3 of the zucchini and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Step 5 Place the lasagna on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until bubbling and you begin to see some nice coloration on top. Turn on the broiler and broil for about 1-2 minutes to make the cheese on top nice and melted, and a little crispy.
- Step 6 Remove the lasagna from the oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.