We have been testing zucchini lasagna recipes for months so that when you all get hit with an overflowing garden that has more zucchini than anyone could ever use you could make the best dinner ever. And you’re welcome because boy did we test this recipe.
We tried to keep it healthier but still packed full of flavor and a big concern for us was a dang good sauce. We wanted one that would work well as a meat sauce or vegetarian. We tried all sorts of meats from basic hamburger to sausage and mixtures of the both. We finally ended up using our famous burger mixture, 60% chuck and 40% brisket which gave such great flavor but also the sauce was able to hold it’s own without any meat.
Next was the cheese issue. We knew we wanted mozzarella, but what about ricotta mixtures and parmesan? We tested and tested until we had things just right and I can hardly believe I’m saying this but it ended up being the most awesome with… cottage cheese!!! Can you believe it? It’s healthier which was an added bonus, but more importantly (ha! flavor always wins at my house) it was smooth and added a light creaminess that is just lovely. We still stuck with mozzarella as the major cheese but we loved the hint of saltiness from a little parmesan on ever layer.
Who cares about all of that though, right? I mean, what really mattered most was how blasted long would we be stuck in the kitchen? Well, this sauce is one we will be canning all summer, so in the end it wont be long, but also we are able to throw it together super fast as it is great served immediately and only gets better the longer it simmers (which happens again during baking so, booyah!). We loved that it was so yummy without simmering all day, and we could easily layer it all without mixing up different components, but most of all happy that if we did choose to make it in the morning and let it simmer it only tasted even better!!
So, with it being national lasagna day and all we just had to share this and I cannot wait for you all to love it too!
- 6 Zucchini, sliced
- 1 heaping cup of cottage cheese
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 6 teaspoons Parmesan cheese
- 1 lb 60% ground chuck mixed with 40% ground brisket** optional
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, minced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, minced
- ½ cup onion, minced
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1 (6 ounce) can of tomato paste
- 2 (15 ounce) cans of tomato sauce
- 1 (15 ounce) can of good quality diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons basil, chopped
- 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
- 3 shakes of red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- *optional- see note*Heat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. Grill the zucchini on each side for a minute or two and remove to a plate.
- Place a sauce pot on a medium high burner and add the meat, with the olive oil and butter. If skipping the meat jump right to the next step. Cook the meat, stirring occasionally until almost brown and add the onion, peppers and garlic. Cook until tender, about 2 minutes and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Place ½ cup of the sauce on the bottom of a 9x13" baking pan and spread it out adding a little more if needed. The pan should not be entirely covered. Line the pan with zucchini and top with a heaping ⅓ cup of cottage cheese, using the back of a spoon to spread it out. Add ¾ cup of the sauce and spread it out carefully. Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella and 2 teaspoons of parmesan cheese. Repeat the layers two more times ending with sauce and the two cheeses. Spray a little foil with cooking spray and place over the lasagna. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until beginning to turn golden. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve.