Explaining to your colleagues at work why you are conducting a photo shoot in the kitchen can be…awkward. But this dish deserved to be on a proper plate!
Ok so…let’s talk noodle-less lasagna. Because there are a bunch of ways you can go about making it.
The most traditional way is to use thick slices of zucchini which is what I did here. BUT you can also do it several other ways including
- Eggplant (I’ll explain the pro’s and con’s in a moment)
- Alternating high-fiber (Dreamfields) lasagna noodles with the veggie of your choice
The water content is the reason why some folks use eggplant instead of zucchini. It has far less water. In fact when you roast or bake eggplant, it sort of acts like a potato in that it crisps up, so pairing it with the lasagna (that has sauce) can yield a nice texture.
I prefer zucchini. Eggplant can be tough to cut into and, depending on the age of the eggplant you are using, can be “seedier” than zucchini. But a plus would be that if you skin the eggplant, it passes for a noodle much more easily!
Now…onto the recipe for the above.
Nik’s Noodle-less Lasagna (featuring zucchini)
Meat sauce layer
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil OR nonstick cooking spray
1 small onion, finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced
Any other veggies you like, chopped, sliced or diced
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 lb. lean ground meat of your choice (I used lean ground turkey)
3 turkey Italian sausage links, casings removed (I use spicy, you use what feels right to you! Please note that using traditional Italian sausage will add considerable calories and fat.)
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
16 oz. container of ricotta cheese (I use part-skim, go with your gut Foodies)
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 large egg
“Noodles” & Topping
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese or Italian blend shredded cheese
Either 3 good sized (7-8 inch long) zucchini OR this guy, sliced length-wise into long “noodles”:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
This time I grilled my zucchini but usually I sprinkle my zucchini slices with salt and put them between layers of paper towel for about 15 minutes. Then I remove them from the paper towels and bake them about 10-15 minutes on a sprayed baking sheet, flipping half-way through. I like the baking method as it gets a lot of the water of the zucchini. Trust me when I say you WANT to get as much water as possible out of the zucchini.
To make the meat sauce layer, sautee onions, green pepper and garlic in a pan with either oil or nonstick until tender. Add your ground meat and sausage and brown the meat. Drain it and return it to the pan. Add spaghetti sauce, stir and simmer on low heat while you prepare the ricotta layer.
IF YOUR LASAGNA STILL SEEMS A BIT WATERY:
Put it on a baking sheet and bake it without cheese on top for about 35 minutes. Then add cheese and bake until cheese is brown around the edges and the whole thing is bubbly (about 20 additional minutes).
IF YOUR LASAGNA SEEMS GOOD TO GO (either way there will be more liquid than with a traditional lasagna but I find a jiggle test is a good indicator. If you jiggle your baking pan and there are waves in your lasagna, it’s got a good bit of water going.)
Cover with cheese and bake for about 40 minutes.
Cool completely before cutting.