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Zucchini Lasagna

This recipe is easy to prepare and allows for lots of versatility with the ingredients depending on your eating lifestyle.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 4 Large zucchini
  • 1 pound Beyond Beef, Impossible Burgers If you are not vegan or vegetarian, use ground beef.
  • 24 oz. Pasta or marinara sauce
  • 16 oz. Ricotta cheese Non-dairy or cashew (or tofu) ricotta, recipe included.
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese Non-dairy, Healthy Heart Brand is my choice.
  • 1 1/2 cups Mozzarella Non-dairy, Violife is my choice for vegan mozzarella.
  • 1 large Egg Replace with Just Eggs or substitute if you do not eat eggs.
  • Salt and pepper To taste.
  • Fresh parsley and basil Small bunch, chopped.
  • 1 medium Sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cup Mushrooms, chopped Optional.
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegetable broth More if needed to sauté onions.

Cashew Ricotta Cheese

  • 1 1/2 cup Cashews, raw Soaked, or make tofu ricotta if you are allergic to nuts.
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove Garlic Or 1/2-1 tsp. of minced garlic.
  • 1/2 tsp. Onion powder
  • Lemon juice Juice of one lemon or one Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar.
  • Himalayan sea salt & cracked pepper To taste.

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400º F.
  • Slice the zucchini lengthwise as thin or thick as you'd like. Set aside. Salt the zucchini and let it sit for a few minutes. The salt brings out some of the moisture of the zucchini. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • Sauté onions in a fry pan until translucent using olive oil or a little veggie broth.
  • Add the plant-based meat (or ground beef) to the pan. Mix with the onions over medium-high heat. Break down into fine pieces with a spatula. Pan-cook until browned and no longer pink.
  • If you are adding chopped mushrooms, add them now. Mix well with meat and onions and simmer for about five minutes.
  • Pour the marinara sauce on top of the beef (reserve 1/2 cup) and stir together, then remove from heat.
  • In a medium bowl, make the non-dairy cashew ricotta (recipe provided) or use a dairy version. Stir the ricotta cheese of your choice, parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper together.
  • Spread 1/2 cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of your 9x13" casserole dish.
  • Add your zucchini slices on top of the sauce. They can overlap, or you can place them side-by-side.
  • Top the zucchini with 1/2 of the meat sauce and evenly spread 1/2 the ricotta mix on top of that.
  • Add 1/2 cup of grated mozzarella over the ricotta, along with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and basil.
  • Repeat to create the same layers one more time.
  • Top the lasagna with a final layer of zucchini slices, ricotta cheese, a sprinkle of chopped parsley and basil, and the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Place the lasagna in the oven and cook for 40-45 minutes. Broil for a couple of minutes at the end to get a nice, golden top.
  • Garnish with basil leaves, whole or chopped, and serve.

Cashew Ricotta Cheese

  • Soak cashews prior to beginning the ricotta. Soaking can be done in several ways:
    1) Soak nuts in tepid water for 2 hours. Make sure they are covered completely with at least two inches above the top of the nuts as they will swell when soaked.
    2) You can soak the cashews in hot water instead for five minutes for a quicker method.
  • Drain and blend the cashews and all remaining ingredients using a food processor or blender. Process until creamy and smooth, stopping frequently to scrape down the sides.
  • Once the cashew ricotta is well-blended, follow the layering process as indicated above.
  • This recipe makes approximately two cups of cashew ricotta. Can be used in other dishes or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five or six days.

Notes

Melissa's Modifications: This recipe has many variables depending on your preferences—with meat or with vegan or vegetarian substitutes. I made this totally vegan by using plant-based Beyond Meat or Impossible Burgers. The cashew ricotta is easy to make, and, if you are allergic to nuts, you can replace the nuts with tofu. Both are equally delicious and they add protein and flavor to the zucchini lasagna.
Nutritional Value:
1 Serving- 362 Calories;  Carbs 7g; Protein 25g; Fat 26g; Saturated Fat 12g; Cholesterol104mg; Sodium 603mg; Potassium 626mg; Fiber 2g; Sugar 4g;Vitamin A 720IU; Vitamin C 16mg; Calcium 270mg; Iron 3mg.
Vegan/Vegetarian Version: 
1 Serving - 464 calories; Carbs 26g; Protein 22g; Fiber 4.3g; Saturated Fat 13g; Cholesterol 0g; Sodium 1550mg. 
Using tofu rather than cashew nuts reduce calories and carbohydrates in half.
Omitting the plant-based meat reduces the calories to 312; Sodium 945mg, Carbs to 21g; and Protein to 14.7g.