I don’t think there is such a thing as a person who doesn’t like lasagna. I may have already mentioned that the technician of the lab where I did my PhD in Brazil did not like chocolate nor french fries. Outrageous! She still loved lasagna, proving the point I just made. I hope you’ll let this stretch in Logic 101 slide…๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyway, I am a lover of this Italian classic, but it’s one of those dishes that can make you feel super full at the end of the meal, even if you exercise severe portion control. Layers of pasta with bechamel, meat sauce, usually a pound of cheese per square inch…. I never order it in restaurants, and confess to making it at home only once in a blue moon. Using thin slices of veggies to play the role of the pasta lightens things up quite a bit. You can use eggplant, butternut squash (Anne Burrell has a great take on this version, BTW), and of course, zucchini as I did here.  A couple of details are important to keep in mind, though. You must pre-cook the zucchini slices or you’ll run the risk of having a watery, unappetizing concoction in your hands. And use a light hand on the cheese.  The delicious meat sauce should be the center of  your attention. Vegetarians? This dish is not for you, sorry. Primal-afficionados? Grab your forks, and dig in!

(adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled plum tomatoes, with juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
12 ounces ground turkey, preferably dark meat
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
5 medium zucchini, trimmed
olive oil and lemon juice for brushing zucchini
1 + 1/2  cups full-fat ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Make the sauce: Pulse tomatoes with juice in a food processor until finely chopped. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook shallot and red-pepper flakes, seasoned lightly with salt, stirring occasionally, until shallot is tender. Add turkey; cook, breaking up any large pieces, until browned. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until thick, about 20 minutes. Stir in oregano and 1 teaspoon of salt. Let cool.

Make the lasagna: heat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the ricotta with the egg, season with salt and pepper. Reserve. Slice zucchini lengthwise into thin strips (about 1/8 inch thick) using a mandoline or a sharp knife. Brush each slice with a 1:1 mixture of olive oil and lemon juice, and cook on a griddle or grill pan for a few minutes on each side until the slices get some color. Blot on kitchen paper and let them cool to room temperature. Place 5 or 6 zucchini slices, overlapping slightly, in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with 1 cup sauce. Dot with ricotta. Repeat twice with zucchini, remaining sauce, and ricotta, alternating direction of zucchini at each layer. Finish with a final layer of zucchini, cover the dish with ricotta, sprinkle the Parmigiano on top.

Bake uncovered until lasagna bubbles and top is nicely brown, about 50 minutes. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments: As I read the recipe from Martha Stewart’s site, a few things bothered me. First, the use of raw zucchini to assemble the lasagna.  In my opinion, that is asking for trouble. Second, the ingredient lists TWO medium zucchini for the full recipe. Unless their zucchini was treated with massive doses of auxins, two won’t be enough.  I used 4 medium zucchini, 50% more ricotta than called for, and my ingredients were enough to assemble a 7-inch square dish instead of an 8-inch.  Of course, some variation is expected, but overall I think the recipe as published in her site had some issues. My version worked great, this was a delicious meal, satisfying without that feeling of “I am going to explode if I don’t go for a walk” often associated with the real lasagna.  Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but… when you want something lighter, try this version. It won’t disappoint you at all…


Dinner is served: Zucchisagna with Baby Greens in Lemony Dressing

ONE YEAR AGO: Ricotta Meatballs

TWO YEARS AGO: Farro Salad with Roasted Leeks

THREE YEARS AGO: It all started with a roof

FOUR YEARS AGO: Carrot and Sweet Potato Puree

FIVE YEARS AGO: Impromptu Pasta Dinner


      • It’s more about not being a big fan of zucchini or eggplant as pasta noodle replacements, unfortunately. I made a veggie lasagna once using shredded zucchini and carrots in place of the meat which was very tasty but haven’t felt inspired to do it again.


        I still hope to try eggplant one day. The last time I bought one, it sat so long in my veggie drawer in the fridge I finally threw it away.๐Ÿ˜ฆ


        • I recently made a delicious recipe with eggplant and tomatoes, plus Middle Eastern spices, but the pictures turned out so bad I decided not to blog about it. Should re-visit, though because it was spectacular


          • I’ve often not posted pictures of dishes like stews and casseroles because they looked underwhelming even if they taste delicious. My favourite is a potato, hard boiled egg, polish sausage/kielbasa casserole … sort of like a fancy scalloped potato dish.

            The milk/sour cream mix it bakes in always poofs up and gets very dark along the sides so the baking dish looks a mess. And the serving on the plate falls apart.

            But it’s SO good.๐Ÿ™‚


  1. My Logic 101 is also on a slippery slope here: dark chocolate: yes; fries: never; lasagne: very rarely BUT I’ll try your zucchini version quite happily. My ‘argument’ with lasagne has more to do with the usual bรฉchamel plus loads of cheese plus oft fatty beef mince than the carbs a certain amount of which are SO necessary for both mental and physical health๐Ÿ™‚ ! [Oops, sorry about the ‘h’ word again!].


    • he, he, he…. the H word is hard to avoid, isn’t it? Dark chocolate is something I don’t even worry about, it is rich and delicious, but a small piece satisfies me. Fries I have a little more respect for, it’s easy to overdo it… that salty, greasy temptation. Although I prefer sweet potato fries these days.


  2. Looks and sounds delicious. I agree that cooking the zucchini is pretty important. I’ve bookmarked this as we are on a low carb kick (in preparation for getting into last summer’s clothes!) at the moment!


  3. What a healthy meal. I hate to share this with you but John won’t eat much pasta at all unless it’s covered with seafood. I told his mother that she had failed in her responsibility for bringing him up. I’d LOVE this and to be fair, I could eat the whole thing on my own. Might take a day or so. ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. This looks delicious!!! I saw it in my inbox this morning and I’ve put it on my list of things to make this week. I just got a spiralizer to make “zoodles”, and this is pretty similar (flat lasagna “zoodles” I guess), so I’m excited to try it! And chocolate and fries are both necessary for survival around here. Fries only now and then, because they’re grease bombs, but chocolate DAILY. Dark chocolate is key to my mental health.๐Ÿ˜‰ BTW this is Jess from Feastie – I think I’m using a different email address than before but wanted to say “hello”.๐Ÿ™‚


    • Great to see you here!

      I LOOOOVE zoodles and do it all the time – I don’t know which spiralizer you have, but mine has the three blades, it’s the big white thingie – the middle blade is great for zoodles, they have just the right thickness for my taste. I haven’t used the blade that makes the flatter larger ones yet.


  5. Eeeee, no chocolate or French fries?!! Quelle horreur! Those are my top two food groups๐Ÿ˜€ — and who wants to exercise portion control when it comes to lasagna… zucchisagna is a great idea. I’ve made lasagna with marinated tofu sheets before but never zucchini (I imagine the zucchini to be rather wet so I will go through your post carefully to see how you deal with that). Yum! (and welcome back lovely!).


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