Noodle-Free Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna in a pan just out of the oven

Shaunia Mckenzie / EyeEm / Getty Images

Total Time: 75 min
Prep Time: 45 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Servings: 8 servings

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

342 calories
19g fat
13g carbs
29g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 servings
Amount per serving  
Calories 342
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 119mg 40%
Sodium 691mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 7g  
Includes 1g Added Sugars 2%
Protein 29g  
Vitamin D 1mcg 5%
Calcium 431mg 33%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 867mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

When you think of lasagna, the signature wide, flat pasta noodles come to mind. In this recipe, zucchini replaces the noodles, boosting the nutritional value while providing a slightly different texture than that of traditional lasagna.

Filled with micronutrients and antioxidants, zucchini has been found to have anti-cancer properties and could potentially reduce the risk of heart problems and vision disorders.

Plus, the zucchini drastically lowers the carb count making it a suitable meal for a low-carb diet. This recipe can also be made without the meat, making it the perfect vegetarian meal.


  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces spinach, frozen and chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (preferably 90/10 percent lean)
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese (whole milk preferred)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cups pasta sauce (tomato-based, use any variety with no  added sugars)
  • 8 ounces low-sodium mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded


Heat the oven to 350F.

Prepare the Zucchini Noodles

  1. Slice the zucchini into strips, length-wise. The strips should be about 1/8-inch thick. A mandoline-type slicer works best. Discard any pieces that are mostly peel.

  2. Put the zucchini strips into a colander and sprinkle them with salt. Toss to coat. 

  3. After 10 to 15 minutes, toss the strips again so that the brine will evenly coat the strips. Drain for at least 1 hour.

  4. Spread the zucchini strips on a paper towel or a cotton tea towel to absorb most of the surface liquid.

Make the Sauce and Filling

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

  2. Add the onion, bell pepper, and spinach. Cook until the onions are transparent but before the bell peppers brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.

  3. If you're making without meat, move onto the next step. Otherwise, add the ground beef to the skillet. Be sure to break it up into crumbles with a spatula or wooden spoon as it cooks. Stir occasionally and cook until the meat is brown. Drain and set aside.

  4. Combine the ricotta, eggs, and basil in a separate bowl.

Lasagna Assembly

  1. Put 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce into the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan.

  2. Combine the remaining sauce with the drained vegetable and ground beef mixture (or just vegetables if not using beef). Set aside.

  3. Cover the sauce in the pan with a layer of zucchini strips. Then cover the zucchini with about 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 of the sauce mixture, and 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese.

  4. For the second layer, arrange the zucchini strips in the other direction, perpendicular to the first layer. Repeat with ricotta, sauce, and mozzarella.

  5. Alternate direction of zucchini again for the third layer, and finish with remaining ricotta, sauce, and mozzarella. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

  6. Bake the lasagna until the cheese is golden brown, about 30 minutes. (Note: If you refrigerate the lasagna before baking, cover it with foil and bake for 15 minutes covered, then remove the foil and cook an additional 30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.)

  7. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 to 15 minutes. This will allow the lasagna to cool just enough to ensure cutting and serving is easier and less messy.

Variations and Substitutions

Test out different vegetables in your lasagna recipe. This dish pairs well with mushrooms, kale, eggplant, or other fiber-rich veggies. Substitute the fresh basil for fresh parsley, if preferred.

Easily swap ground beef with ground turkey, pork, or chicken, or prepare meatless.

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • This recipe can also be adapted to make zucchini lasagna roll-ups rather than a layered casserole. Instead of layering the zucchini across the pan, you top each slice with sauce, then the ricotta mixture, and sprinkle mozzarella to finish. Roll the zucchini strip up and place in the baking pan with the opening facing upward. Bake as instructed above.

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Article Sources
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  1. Martínez-Valdivieso D, Font R, Fernández-Bedmar Z, et al. Role of zucchini and its distinctive components in the modulation of degenerative processes: Genotoxicity, anti-genotoxicity, cytotoxicity and apoptotic effects. Nutrients. 2017;9(7):755. doi:10.3390/nu9070755