I looooooove pasta. So. Much. But I know it’s not something I can eat all the time, so I love finding tasty, healthy substitutes. Which is why I was thrilled when I stumbled upon Skinnytaste’s Zucchini Lasagna! I love this recipe because it makes use of my mandoline, it calls for beef (which you rarely see in “skinny” recipes), and it’s way easier than most lasagnas. And best of all, it has great flavor. The original recipe made 8 servings, but since I was just cooking for myself I halved it, and I also added some sweet Italian peppers and extra seasoning.
Zucchini Lasagna (serves 4)
- 1/2 lb lean ground beef
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1/4 yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 sweet Italian peppers (or 1/2 red bell pepper), diced
- 1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 8 basil leaves, julienned
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 large zucchini
- cooking spray
- 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 TB grated Pecorino Romano
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 cup shredded low moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese
Heat a large, deep pan fit with a lid over a medium-high flame. Add ground beef and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside, then wipe down the pan with a paper towel.
Heat olive oil in the same pan, then add onions and pepper and sauté until soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Then add beef, crushed tomatoes and basil and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid then continue to simmer for 10 more minutes.
Meanwhile, slice zucchini lengthwise with a mandoline. The pieces should be about 1/8 inch thick and you should have 12-15 slices when done. Lay on top of a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 15 minutes, then pat dry with a paper towel. While you wait, mix ricotta, parmesan, half of the egg, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl.
Heat a grill pan over a medium-high flame and coat with cooking spray. Grill zucchini slices in batches, for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In an 8×8 pyrex baking dish, spread half of the beef mixture over the bottom. Top with slices of zucchini, then spread a layer of the ricotta mixture on top and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella. Add another layer of zucchini slices, then the rest of the beef, ricotta, and mozzarella.
Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 30 minutes. Remove cover and cook for another 20 minutes, broiling for the last 5 minutes to brown the cheese. Let cook for 10 minutes before slicing.
This guilt-free lasagna totally satisfied my cure for pasta, but didn’t leave me feeling too stuffed. The ricotta blend is surprisingly light, and the zucchini actually has a similar texture to pasta when grilled and baked. I was so excited to have leftovers for lunch for the next two days! And I will definitely be making the full portion of this for my next Italian dinner party.