This Zucchini Lasagna Bolognese is full of veggies and nutrients and just as hearty as the real thing! Who needs real noodles?! 352 cals (10 SP)
So, remember back when I made roasted plums and peaches and I joked about how I was being a lazy food blogger because all of the dishes I was making had prep times of under 5 minutes? Well, I have officially broken that streak!
This dish is a downright marathon recipe, so get ready to settle in, folks. This is the kind of meal you make for a special occasion. You’re having friends over for a fancy dinner party, you’re making dinner for your new spouse and want to impress them with your cooking skills, the queen is coming to dinner at your house, you know, things like that. Okay, I might be exaggerating a little, but it’s not a quick recipe!
Even though there are no real pasta noodles, this dish still fills you up the same way lasagna would. It’s hearty, it’s warm, it’s meaty, it’s cheesy and heavy and just a small piece will fill you up! I cut the lasagna into 16 servings and felt like one piece was plenty, but if that doesn’t fill you up I recommend pairing this with a side salad or piece of grilled chicken to avoid overloading on the calories with a large piece! (Afterall, there are 3 types of cheese in here! Mmmmm…cheese…)
So this is the second recipe that I am making out of the Cravings Cookbook, and it’s definitely more complicated than the Dump and Done Ramen Salad, but it’s just as tasty! I found myself a little puzzled while making this recipe so here are some tips that you can learn from my mistakes:
- Zucchini: When slicing the zucchini, don’t be afraid of making the slices too thick. Each slice should be about 1/4 inch thick. I made a few that were too thin and they burnt to a crisp during the roasting process. The pieces that I thought were too thick actually ended up being perfect so err on the side of thickness! Also, keep an eye on them as they roast. The recipe calls for 25-30 minutes at 425 degrees, but mine burned like I had cooked them on the surface of the sun. I ended up burning all 6 zucchini the first time around and had to start over! I made the pieces thicker and only roasted for about 20 minutes and that seemed to work better. They should be slightly browned and soft, not straight ash like mine.
- The sauce: The recipe calls for the sauce to simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, adding more broth as needed if the sauce gets too dry. The sauce should be “a lot of meat, and a nice coating of thick yummy liquid,” per Chrissy. Mine looked like ground beef in a pool of broth after 90 minutes! I don’t think I simmered at a high enough heat initially so I ended up simmering for about 3 hours total and adding a little flour to help thicken the sauce. I still ended up draining off some liquid before I assembled the lasagna, though. I would recommend simmering over medium heat and starting with only 1-2 C of chicken broth and adding more if necessary. You can also try removing extra liquid after you add the meat, but before adding the wine.
- Tomatoes: Personally, we would have preferred more tomato in the sauce, I think next time I would try doubling the amount!
- Preparation: The zucchini will take about an hour to be ready (30 minutes soaking in salt and 20 minutes roasting) and the sauce takes about 1-3 hours. I recommend making the sauce and prepping the zucchini a day or two before. (Unless you love marathon cooking then by all means have at it! I get a little antsy after hour 2…) Anyway, I would let the zucchini soak in the salt, then dry it and refrigerate it on layers of paper towels. You can also refrigerate the sauce overnight and reheat in a pot while the zucchini roasts the next day. Then all you have to do is prep the filling, assemble the lasagna, and wait for it to cook! I think this technique is much more manageable than trying to do it all at once.
Okay, I’ve talked enough, so let’s start cooking this baby!
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ZUCCHINI “LASAGNA” BOLOGNESE
352 calories per piece
10 SP per piece
For zucchini noodles:
6 zucchini, trimmed and sliced into 1/4 inch thick strips
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
For the sauce:
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
10 cloves garlic, chopped
1 rosemary sprig
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground beef
1 slice of cooked bacon, finely chopped
1 cup red wine
1 cup milk
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 cups (loosely packed) basil leaves, shredded
For the filling:
1 (15 oz) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 3/4 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1 3/4 C finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 C (loosely packed) basil leaves, shredded
Start by trimming the ends off your zucchini and slicing into 1/4 inch thick strips. Remember, if you think you’re making them too thick, you’re probably not! Very thin pieces will burn so try to keep them in whole, thick slices.
Lay zucchini “noodles” onto foil lined, rimmed baking sheets and salt each side (using 2 tsp total). Allow to sit for 30 minutes. This removes a ton of excess moisture out of the zucchini.
Next, you can begin the sauce. I like to prep all of my ingredients first so I can just dump them in when necessary. So start by finely chopping 1 large onion, 1 large carrot, and 2 celery stalks and set them aside (you can put them together in a large bowl).
Chop up 10 cloves of garlic and leave separate. Prepare rosemary by running your fingers down the spring to remove the little “branches,” then chop them up finely. (The recipe just called for “1 fat rosemary sprig” so I don’t know if it’s necessary to chop it up, but I chose to!) You can also cook and finely chop your one slice of bacon (seriously, just one slice?? Oh well, I got to use the rest to make BLT pitas for my lunch this week! 🙂 )
You can also prep the basil that you will need for the sauce and filling. It is 3 1/2 cups total, all shredded. (Roll leaves up together then slice into thin ribbons). I used a standard size grocery store container of basil.
Now that everything is prepped, heat a large soup pot over medium-low heat and add 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and 1 Tbsp of unsalted butter. Once melted, add in your chopped onion, carrot, and celery, 1 tsp of the salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Mix together and allow to cook for about 12-13 minutes. Bask in that glorious aroma! 🙂
Add in the 10 cloves of chopped garlic, the chopped rosemary sprig, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp dried oregano, and 1 tsp red pepper flakes and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add in your chopped slice of cooked bacon, 3/4 pound ground pork, and 3/4 pound ground beef (I used one pound of each just because that’s how it was packaged). Break up with a wooden spoon and cook until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. If you have a lot of excess liquid at this point I would try to drain some of it out; I think that’s how I ended up with too much!
Add in 1 cup of red wine and cook until most of moisture has evaporated, about 2 minutes. This was the moment I knew like I had too much liquid because it wasn’t evaporating! I think removing some of the fluid prior to adding the wine would have helped.
Stir in 1 cup of milk and continue to cook 1 minute.
Add in 3 C of low-sodium chicken broth. Again, I would start with maybe 1-2 C and add as needed while the sauce simmers.
Add in 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (I drained them since I already had extra liquid, next time I think I will use an additional can of tomatoes. Do as you see fit!) Also add in 2 cups of the shredded basil and 1 tsp of salt.
Allow sauce to come to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer over medium heat for an hour to an hour and a half. Ensure that the sauce is truly simmering, not just sitting over heat (a lesson from my mistakes!). It should be a little bubbly, but not boiling. Once sauce has thickened and finished simmering, you can either begin prepping the lasagna or refrigerate the sauce until you need it. If you refrigerate it, I would reheat it over medium heat prior to assembling the lasagna to warm the sauce and make it easier to spoon out.
Okayyy, let’s get back to the zucchini. Once zucchini has been salting for 30 minutes, dry each piece with a paper towel. (Get ready to use about 16,937 paper towels. There’s so much moisture!!) At this point, since I was assembling my lasagna the next day, I put them into a sealable Tupperware container with a paper towel between each layer. Once you’re ready to make the lasagna, follow the steps below to roast the zucchini and begin the lasagna prep. You may need to dry the zucchini slices again if you refrigerated them!
To prepare the zucchini noodles, brush on 2 Tbsp worth of oil (total), applying a small amount to each side of the strips and place onto a new piece of foil on your rimmed baking sheets. (**Definitely use the foil!) Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, watching closely to make sure they don’t burn. “Noodles” are ready once they are slightly browned and soft.
Once you’re ready to make the lasagna, you can now prepare the filling. In a large bowl, combine the 15 oz container of whole-milk ricotta cheese, 1 C of the shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 C of the finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 1 large egg, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and 1/2 C of the basil. Mix well.
In separate containers, set aside the remaining 3/4 C mozzarella cheese, 3/4 C Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and remaining 1 C of shredded basil leaves. You will be creating layers with these ingredients separate from the ricotta mixture.
Once the sauce has been made (and reheated, if necessary) the zucchini noodles have been salted, dried, oiled and roasted, and the filling is prepared, you can begin to assemble the lasagna. FINALLYYYYY 🙂
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9×13 pan, spoon out a layer of the sauce mixture (you will be doing 4 layers of sauce). Line the sauce with a single layer of zucchini (there will be 3 layers of zucchini). Top with another layer of sauce. Add dollops of ricotta cheese mixture (there will be 3 layers of this mixture as well). Sprinkle with 1/3 of the remaining mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and basil that you have set aside. Repeat with another layer of sauce, zucchini, ricotta mixture, and cheeses/basil. Repeat one more time. You should end with a final layer of cheese and basil.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and melted. Allow to cool so layers will set up, then serve!
We had more than enough lasagna for the week for the two of us so I am going to freeze some of this for a future last-minute dinner option! I will report back as to how it turned out after being frozen! 🙂
If you liked this dish from Chrissy’s cookbook, you should check out some of her other recipes:Print
- See post!
- Included in post!
10 SP per piece
- Serving Size: 16
- Calories: 352
- Sugar: 5.7 g
- Sodium: 1260 mg
- Fat: 21.2 g
- Saturated Fat: 9.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 13.6 g
- Fiber: 2.5 g
- Protein: 24.8 g
- Cholesterol: 66.6 mg
**Recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings Cookbook
What do you think? Did this recipe make the cut for you or did it crumble? What would you do differently? I look forward to reading your opinions!