Recipe: No Pasta Zucchini Lasagna

My boyfriend and I are both on a health kick (with a couple of cheat days sprinkled in for Giordano’s deep dish pizza, because we do live in Chicago, after all), so I decided to try for a low carb version of lasagna.  I grew up eating a ton of Italian food, so anything with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese makes me feel homey and content.  With the weather actually behaving itself in Chicago before it zips to 100+ degrees, I decided to make my take on a light, springy (last day!), no pasta vegetarian lasagna.

The key to this dish is layering traditional veggie lasagna components between thin slices of zucchini.  Since zucchini has a mild flavor and slightly crunchy texture, it acts as a great substitute for pasta.

Ingredients (makes one 11×7″ pan):

2 medium-sized zucchini, cut into thin strips

1/2 package of organic spinach/arugula blend, chopped

1 medium-sized red onion, diced

1 tsp garlic, diced

1 15 oz. container of fat-free ricotta cheese

1 bottle of your favorite tomato sauce, (I used Trader Joe’s Arrabiata sauce)

3 tbsp Fat-free, low moisture Mozzarella cheese

Italian spices to taste, (I used Costco’s Tuscan Blend)

Crushed red pepper to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1) Salt the zucchini.  This step is KEY because it allows the zucchini to stay crunchy without releasing too much water and making the dish sloppy

Pre-salted zucchini

Pre-salted zucchini

– Cut the zucchini into thin, uniform slices as seen in the photo above

– Lightly salt the zucchini and place it in a colander, with something heavy placed atop paper towels to drain out the water. (Thanks college psych book!)

– Let this sit for a few hours, if possible.  If you don’t have the time, wring the zucchini slices in paper towels before layering

Salted zucchini

Salted zucchini

2) Chop onions, garlic, and spinach and set aside

Chopped onionsphoto_2

3) Sautee onions and garlic, adding spinach when onions turn slightly translucent

4) Add Italian seasoning and crushed pepper

5) When cooked, turn off heat and fold in ricotta cheese until the veggies, spices, and cheese are mixed through

Ricotta cheese mixture

Ricotta cheese mixture

6) Start layering ingredients!  (I started with a thin coat of sauce so the other ingredients didn’t stick to the pan)

– I layered sauce, zucchini, cheese mixture and repeated

7) Finish with a final layer of sauce and mozzarella cheese

No pasta zucchini lasagna

No pasta zucchini lasagna

That’s it!  If you try this, please let me know what you think.  What are your favorite spring/summer, low-carb recipes?

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