In the summer months when the threat of having to wear a bikini is ever-present, I try to cut back on carbs a little bit. For a pasta addict, this is no easy task. Those heavy Italian meals are just as delicious, but they don’t really fit well with that crisp summer diet. So to lighten it up, I swapped out those filling lasagna sheets for healthy zucchini slices. But don’t worry, I won’t be skimping on the cheese! 😉
Vegetables can hold a lot of water, so an important part of this was getting all of the juices out of the zucchini before it bakes so that you don’t end up with a watery lasagna. So by drying the slices, salting them and gently grilling, we can sweat out the moisture. [Side note: great article on sweating vegetables here.]
I wanted to use a simple béchamel sauce rather than red sauce to pair with the zucchini and not overpower the vegetables. However, I like to add garlic to my béchamel sauce even though that’s not the French way. But that’s ok, we’ll just combine Italian and French into this new super tasty lasagna.
And the cheese filling was just my classic lasagna mixture: ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan (cheese cheese cheese!), with one egg, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. (No skimping on the classics here!)
After layering the zucchini with the ricotta mixture and topping with sauce, I finished it with some more mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan to get that baked cheesy topping.
Baked until sizzling with perfection, this was definitely a meal to satisfy that cheesy pasta craving, while cutting back a little bit on the carbs.
- 4 large zucchinis
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 c. flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 15 oz. ricotta
- 1 egg
- 2 c. mozzarella
- 1/4 c. parmesan
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice zucchini 1/8" thick and pat each slice dry with a paper towel. Lightly salt each slice on both sides.
Grill zucchini slices on medium heat for 1-2 minutes each side so that the moisture cooks out. Place on paper towels and pat each slice dry.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by melting the butter and cooking the garlic until fragrant. Whisk in flour. Slowly add the milk, whisking until smooth. (If sauce looks thin, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time.)
Once the sauce has thickened, pour half on the bottom of a large baking pan. Layer zucchini slices on top.
Combine the ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella, egg, parmesan, salt, pepper, and seasoning. Mix well.
Spread half of the ricotta mixture on the bottom layer of zucchini slices. Top with more zucchini slices, followed by the remaining ricotta mixture. Add the last layer of zucchini.
Pour remaining sauce on top of the final zucchini layer. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with additional parmesan if desired.
Bake uncovered at 375 degrees until bubbling and the top is lightly browned, about 50 minutes.