Let’s start 2016 with a healthier version of one of our favourite Italian creations! This zucchini lasagna is a completely gluten-free and wheat-free, low-carb vegetarian meal. I have replaced the usual lasagna sheets with layers of delicious zucchini slices (courgettes). For this healthy zucchini lasagna I am using my favourite Olive & Mushroom tomato pasta sauce, creating an absolute veggie heaven!
I am not saying you shouldn’t eat regular lasagna made with good old pasta (yum!) but this is just an amazing lighter alternative if you are trying to eat less wheat products or you just want to include more veggies in your diet. Just like the classic lasagna recipe, this zucchini lasagna is topped with béchamel sauce instead of just cheese to make it more creamy and flavourful. The sauce also helps keep the ingredients stick together.
You can use any other tomato sauce if you want but I prefer my super delicious Olive & Mushroom vegetarian tomato sauce, which turns any pasta into an absolute indulgence. If you would like to make it meaty, just use a good Bolognese sauce recipe or replace the mushrooms in my recipe with mince.
I was inspired to make this zucchini lasagna by Paleo Newbie, which uses the same principle of replacing the lasagna sheets with zucchini. Hers is paleo, therefore more meaty and doesn’t include any dairy. She uses an interesting cashew “cheese” recipe but unless you are vegan or paleo then you can use the classic béchamel sauce recipe below.
Don’t try to follow the popular “low-fat” mainstream madness, as long as you consume dairy products in a balanced way and your vegetables and fruits are the main component of your diet, there is no need to eat “low-fat” products. Read more about this myth in the DAIRY & EGGS real food guide.
- For the Olive & Mushroom tomato sauce:
- See ingredients and instructions here
- For the base:
- 4-5 zucchini (courgettes)
- 1 mozzarella ball (125 g / 4.5 oz)
- 1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
- For the Béchamel sauce:
- 60 g / 4-5 tbsp real organic butter (not margarine)
- 400 ml whole organic milk or almond milk
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup gluten-free flour (quinoa or coconut flour are good options) any other flour will work too, I like to use spelt (not gluten-free)
- Salt & black pepper to taste
- First, prepare the tomato sauce following these three easy steps here and preheat your oven to 225ºC/435ºF.
- While your tomato sauce is simmering, you can prepare the béchamel sauce: melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat and add the flour. Cook for a few minutes (whisking constantly) and gradually add the milk, followed by the salt and pepper. Cook for 6-10 minutes over medium heat, until the sauce thickens and stir in the cheese.
- Slice the zucchini into thin slices, but not too thin (mine were about 1/2 cm or 1/4" thick).
- Grease a large baking dish with olive oil and layer 6-7 zucchini slices to cover.
- Add a layer of the tomato sauce and top with a bit of grated mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
- Repeat the layers until your ingredients are all used up, your last layer should be tomato sauce and cheese.
- Pour over the white sauce evenly and let it cover all the ingredients. Bake for 30 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered until golden.
- Let the lasagna cool down for at least 15 minutes before serving, otherwise it will be too hot and you might struggle to cut it in nice square portions.
1. The zucchini contain a lot of water, which is released during the cooking. A good idea is to salt your zucchini slices and set aside for about 10 minutes before cooking. After that wrap them in paper towel to get rid of the excess moisture.
2. The quantities of the ingredients largely depend on the size of your baking dish, mine is 31cm x 20cm / 12"x 8" large so try to choose a dish with a similar size or adjust the ingredients according to your one.
Here are some other gluten-free recipes that you might like: