Noodleless Low-Carb Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna
Shaunia Mckenzie/EyeEm/Getty Images
Total Time 75 min
Prep 45 min, Cook 30 min
Yield 8 servings (342 calories each)

When you think of lasagna, the signature pasta noodles that make this layered Italian dish come to mind. In this recipe, we use zucchini instead, which boosts the nutritional value and gives a slightly different texture than a traditional lasagna. Plus, it drastically lowers the carb count. This recipe can be made with or without the meat.


  • 1½ pounds of zucchini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt - enough to lightly salt the zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces spinach, frozen, chopped
  • 1 pound fresh ground beef (preferably 90/10)
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese, whole milk preferred
  • 2 medium eggs
  • ½ cup of chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cups of tomato-based pasta sauce (from a jar is fine - use any variety with no added sugars)
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, low sodium, shredded
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese hard, shredded (not dried/powdered)


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. I find the best way to do this is with a mandoline-type slicer. See a vegetable being sliced with a mandoline and find out more about them. Discard any pieces that are mostly peel.
  2. Put the zucchini strips into a colander and sprinkle the salt on them. Toss together to coat. Put the colander over a bowl to catch the juice.
  1. After 10-15 minutes, toss the strips again so that the brine will more-or-less evenly coat the strips. Drain for at least an hour.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the onion, bell pepper and spinach. Cook until the onions are transparent, but before the bell peppers brown about 3-5 minutes.
  4. If you're making this without meat, move on to the next step. Add the ground beef to the skillet. Be sure to break up the ground meat into crumbles with a spatula or wooden spoon as it cooks. Stir occasionally to ensure it cooks evenly. Cook until the meat is brown and drain. Set aside.
  5. Combine the ricotta, eggs, and basil or parsley in a separate bowl. 
  6. Spread the zucchini strips on a paper towel or a cotton tea towel to take away most of the surface liquid.

Lasagna Assembly

  1. Put ½ cup of the pasta sauce into the bottom of a 9"x13" pan.
  2. Combine the remaining sauce with the drained veggies and ground beef crumbles if using. Set aside.
  1. Cover the sauce in the pan with a layer of zucchini strips. Then, cover the zucchini with about one-third of the ricotta mixture, one-third of the remaining sauce, and one-third of the mozzarella cheese.
  2. For the second layer, only arrange the zucchini strips in the other direction, e.g. if in the first layer the strips are lined up along the length of the pan, for the next layer line them up across the width of the pan.
  1. Alternate again for the third layer. After the third layer, finish with the Parmesan cheese.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.

Makes 8 Servings

Ingredient Substitutions and Cooking Tips

Arranging the layers of zucchini strips in different directions as this recipe calls for may make cutting it a little messier. The best way to counteract this is by making lasagna roll-ups. Instead of layering the zucchini across the pan, you'd top each slice with sauce, then top with the ricotta mixture and sprinkle mozzarella to finish. Roll the zucchini strip up and place in the baking pan with the opening facing upward.

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