No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna

Aug 5th

Lasagna is a dish that I struggle not to over eat. Instead of saying, “no honey, YOU should eat the last piece”, it’s more like, “LAY OFF I’M STARVING”. That definitely happened this time, but my lightened up version that replaced zucchini for the noddles allowed me to be more forthright with my over-eager seconds stealing.

I’ve seen recipes before that lay the zucchini or eggplant slices lengthwise, very much like regular lasagna noodles. The thing is, noodles slice easily whereas cut veggies with tough skin do not. I foresaw a mess that I didn’t want to, um, mess with. With the zucchini used to roll up the filling, things stayed where they should and serving was much easier. There was also a higher veggie to filling quotient, which is a good thing for keeping the calorie count low.

Speaking of veggies, thisย  filling is bursting with them! Since the dish is sans meat, the earthy mushrooms not only lend calorie reducing bulk, but a touch of umami flavor. With shallots (feel free to swap onions or even scallions) and fresh basil the filling is good enough to eat alone (which was my daughter’s dinner, served in a bowl with a spoon). Though technically a dinner served in an 8×8 baking pan should serve four, my husband and I ate the whole thing. Really happily. Without guilt.

Yes, technically when it’s hot out we tend to skip the baked Italian dishes, but maybe you’ve made one too many zucchini breads and you’re looking for new uses. Either way, this tasted absolutely delicious to me and surprisingly took less time than I’d originally thought. Lastly, like with most baked Italian dishes, this is easy to freeze, raw or cooked. Just freeze as you would any other lasagna.

No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna

Serves 2-4

2 large zucchini, ends trimmed, thinly sliced lengthwise (about 12 slices total)

8 oz. sliced mushrooms

Olive oil, salt, and pepper

1 shallot, minced

1/4 c. chopped fresh basil

1 c. lowfat ricotta cheese

1/2 c. lowfat cottage cheese

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 c. grated mozzarella cheese, divided

1-1 1/2 c. prepared tomato sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375 if cooking immediately. Spray or drizzle olive oil on zucchini slices and heat grill/grill pan to medium high. Sprinkle slices with salt and pepper.

2. Grill, flipping once, until golden on both sides.

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3. Meanwhile, heat saute pan over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp. olive oil. Add mushrooms and saute, sprinkling to taste with kosher salt (about 1/4 tsp. ). Stir occasionally until tender and golden brown.

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4. Transfer cooked zucchini to a dinner plate and set to the side to cool. Transfer mushrooms to cutting board and chop well.

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5. Combine chopped mushrooms, shallot, basil, ricotta, cottage cheese, salt and 1/2 of the mozzarella (ATTENTION! THIS IS ONLY HALF OF THE TOTAL AMOUNT). Stir to combine.

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6. Spoon about 1/2 c. sauce into the bottom of an 8×8 baking pan and spread to cover the entire bottom.

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7. Lay zucchini in the palm of your and scoop portions of the filling into the center. Roll up and place zucchini roll in the corner of the pan. Continue, making about 3 rows of 4. Another way to do this is to lay the 12 zucchini slices out on a clean counter and portion out the filling, ensuring you fill each the same amount.

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8. Top with a drizzle of the remaining sauce across each row, and top with remaining mozzarella cheese.

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9. If eating later, cover with foil and refrigerate. If cooking immediately, cover with foil and place in preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes and then remove foil and switch oven to “Broil” (all of the heat comes from the top of the oven). Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Let cool for several minutes before serving.

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