This summer we planted zucchini in our garden for the very first time. The plant started off so small that I didn’t think it would produce anything. But within a few weeks, the plant became so large you would have thought it was on steroids. Pretty soon we had quite large zucchini and that’s when I began searching for recipes on my favorite cooking sites. I’ve made roasted zucchini a few times but I wanted to try something new. I’ve never made zucchini bread, so yes that’s in the works, but I wanted to make something beyond the traditional bread. That’s when I came across this recipe for zucchini lasagna. It’s a healthy recipe that uses zucchini instead of noodles.
If you prefer to make your own sauce, you can follow the original recipe by clicking on the link below. I’ve made my own sauce before and it’s definitely worth the extra effort, however my goal this time was to make a dish that wouldn’t take forever on a week night. That’s why I chose to modify the recipe and use jarred pasta sauce instead. I’ve learned that you can spruce up pasta sauce from the grocery store quite easily and make it taste ‘homemade’. To create this taste, I add onion and fresh mushrooms to develop a thick, hearty sauce. Adding fresh basil and garlic is always a nice touch as well. And if you really want to intensify the flavors, prepare the sauce a day ahead of time (allowing sauce to simmer for 45 minutes before refrigerating). Think about it, doesn’t lasagna always seem to taste even better the next day? That’s because the sauce has been sitting and the flavors have reached their true potential!
|Brown the meat & onions|
|Mix fresh basil & mushrooms into the sauce|
Adapted from Recipe #749 by Marg (Cayman Designs), food.com
Serves : 4
Prep Time: 20 mins.
Total Time: 50 mins.
- 2 large zucchini, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 2 cups onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh basil
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon flour
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce (approximately 2 ¼ cups)
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Pre-heat oven to 375˚F.
- Chop off both ends of the zucchini. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the sides. Slice zucchini (lengthwise) into noodles about 1/4 inch thick.
- Boil water in a large pot. Add zucchini slices and cook for approximately 3-5 minutes, or until tender. Drain.
- Fry the meat with the onions until thoroughly cooked; drain fat.
- In a large skillet add the meat mixture. Next, add the pasta sauce while simmering over low heat. Also add in the basil and garlic.
- In small bowl slightly beat the egg.
- Add the ricotta cheese, half of the mozzarella cheese, and flour.
- In a 1 ½ to 2 qt. baking dish cover the bottom of the pan with half of the meat mixture. Next, top with half of the zucchini and all the ricotta cheese mixture. Lastly, top with the remaining meat and zucchini.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer.
- Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Note: See tip above on preparing pasta sauce a day ahead of time (optional)