Delicious lasagna rolls made using zucchini instead of pasta. A healthy, gluten free alternative with all the flavor of the traditional version!
Every once in a while I like to spend a little more time and effort making dinner. During the week I’m all about easy, fast recipes, because let’s be honest who wants to come home after a long day at work and have to spend a lot of time trying to get dinner on the table. Not me and I work from home!
The weekend however, especially Sunday, is a great time to try out a new recipe or cooking technique that you wouldn’t normally. This doesn’t mean spending hours in the kitchen, trust me I’d rather spend my afternoon out on a hike or bike ride, but it does mean spending more than 30 minutes.
These Zucchini Lasagna Rolls were not only a new recipe, but a new technique that I tried last weekend and I absolutely loved how they turned out!
I decided to use zucchini instead of pasta to make these lasagna rolls for a couple reasons. The biggest being that my garden is producing an insane amount of zucchini right now and I need to find ways to use it.
You might be thinking that using zucchini as a pasta replacement sounds like a lot of effort or maybe isn’t going to taste very good, but I actually found it to be a great healthy substitute.
It actually took less time for me to cut the zucchini into planks and grill it (you could roast it as well) until it was soft and pliable, than it would have taken to cook the pasta. As far as flavor, no it is not pasta so don’t go into it thinking that it is.
However, zucchini has a very mild neutral flavor and when it’s rolled up with ricotta and Italian sausage, topped with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella, you hardly even notice you’re eating a vegetable!
I kept the filling for these lasagna rolls on the lighter side by using part skim ricotta and low fat cottage cheese instead of whole milk ricotta. I stuck the ricotta and cottage cheese along with my seasonings, some parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs in the blender and blended it until smooth.
Along with filling the zucchini lasagna rolls with the ricotta mixture I also added a some pieces of crumbled Italian turkey sausage. If you want to keep it vegetarian, just omit it.
Once the zucchini planks were filled and rolled I topped them with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese then baked them just until the cheese was melted and they were warmed through. It was the perfect lightened up, vegetable packed lasagna, and a great way to use my garden fresh zucchini.
Zucchini Lasagna Rolls
Delicious lasagna rolls made using zucchini instead of pasta. A healthy, gluten free alternative with all the flavor of the traditional version!
- 8 ounces part skim ricotta cheese
- 4 ounces low fat cottage cheese
- 3 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into 8 (1/4 inch thick) slices
- 1 link mild Italian turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled (optional)
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
- Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
- Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. While the grill is heating, slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick planks.
- Spray with cooking spray or brush with oil both sides of the zucchini planks, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the zucchini on the hot grill and cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until the zucchini is soft and pliable. Remove from the grill and cool until they can be handled.
Assembling the Zucchini Lasagna Rolls
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Spray a 10.5 x 7 inch casserole dish or similar size with cooking spray. Spread a 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce evenly over the bottom of the dish.
- Blot any excess liquid off of the cooled planks of zucchini with paper towels. Spoon about a tablespoon of the ricotta filling onto one side of the zucchini and spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle a few of the cooked sausage crumbles on top of the filling.
- Roll up the zucchini and place them seam side down in the casserole dish. Top the zucchini rolls with the remaining marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- If your cottage cheese and ricotta are on the watery side, I suggest draining the excess liquid from them prior to blending the filling.
- Refrigerating the ricotta filling for 30-60 minutes helps it firm up.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 1020mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 22g
More Italian Recipes:
Turkey and Spinach Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Jackson lenon says
Hey! I would love to thank you for this wonderful recipe. Thank you so much , I will try it with my daughter. My daughter loves you and we always follow you , thanks
Hi! I have a question about how you cut the zucchini. I know you said to cut them length-wise into planks and roll them up once the filling is inside them, but in the pictures, it looks like you have rolls that are about 2-3 inches long. So did you further cut each plank in half? Trying to figure this out before making it! :)
thanks very good
Sylvia Klassen says
Just wondering if this would freeze well at all. I am guessing not. Can it be made a day ahead?
Unfortunately this is not a freezer friendly meal. Zucchini has a lot of water in it and doesn’t reheat well after being frozen. If you make it the day ahead there will probably be liquid in the bottom of the dish. You can drain the excess out and it should be ok after that.
I love this recipe! I am wondering if you have ever made it and froze the leftovers? I am not sure how it would hold up after being frozen but hate to throw food away. Any thoughts or ideas!
I’m glad you liked the zucchini lasagna! I don’t think it would freeze very well as zucchini tends to get more watery and often mushy once it’s been frozen and defrosted.
Ben Myhre says
I keep on seeing this on Pinterest and combined with the fact that I am up to my ears in zucchini right now, I think sweet baby Jeebus is sending me a sign that I need to be cooking this delicious looking dish.
Ha! It’s a sign! Better get yourself some zucchini. ;-)
Is the parm used sprinkle park or shredded parm?
I always use a piece of fresh parmesan cheese and shred it myself. I’m not a big fan of the crumbly stuff in the green container. ;-)
In this recipe you add 1 turkey sausage? is this one pound, one patty? not sure how much to use.
I used one link of turkey sausage and removed the casing before crumbling and cooking it. Hope this helps!
Brooke Beauchamp says
Hi! I feel when I buy zucchini they are so skinny. When I cut mine for this recipe they were more like tiny bites and I had so much filling left. I was curious if you have any ideas where I might find bigger zucchini or other squash type veggies I could use.
I think the size of zucchini is more dependent on the season than anything. Since it’s “season” is summer you might have better luck finding larger ones then. In the meantime you might try just skipping the rolling and layering the zucchini planks like you would in a traditional lasagna. Hope this helps. :-)
Julie Vangeel says
I’ve just made these! Sooo delicious, much lighter than a classic lasagna and even my boyfriend liked it a lot. ( and he’s a fan of the original) Thanks so much!
Thanks for trying out the lasagna Julie and I’m happy to hear you and your boyfriend enjoyed it! I love that it doesn’t leave you feeling like you need a nap after eating it! ;-)
This recipe is so up my alley! I love lighter versions of recipes for the summer. I have a whole bunch of eggplant growing in my garden right now, do you think they would work fine as a substitution for the zucchini? If so any suggestions? Thanks!!
Hi Hannah! I’m glad the zucchini lasagna rolls sound appealing to you, they’re definitely a great lightened up choice for summer. I haven’t tried the recipe using eggplant, but I’m thinking it would work since many recipes call for zucchini and eggplant together. Eggplant should have approximately the same grilling time as zucchini, but keep an eye on them in case it is slightly shorter or longer. I hope it works out for you, I’m sure it will taste great!
Truly a great recipe that my family loved. I made mine as a flat lasagna because my filling was really runny and I added some eggs and more parmesan and some mozzarella. I made enough for a 13″ x 9″ dish that was eaten up in minutes. I had some filling left over that I put in the fridge to use the next day. I noticed that the filling had become thick which now was able to be used as a roll up. My suggestion is to make sure your filling has had time to cool after mixing if you want the rollups. Thank you for this recipe!
Thanks for trying out the recipe Mich and I’m happy to hear your family loved it! Thank you also for sharing your tip!
I just made this and it was so delicious. Just perfect!!
Thanks for trying the recipe Dina and I’m so glad to hear you like the lasagna rolls! :-)
I really want to try this recipe but I hate cottage cheese. Can you taste it in the recipe or does it get hidden? Is there a substitute I could use instead?
Hi Annie. The cottage cheese is undetectable! All the other cheeses and spices mask the flavor, plus pureeing it in the food processor gets rid of any texture you may not like.
Jay Myers says
I made your dish and am excited that it will not only taste great, but plate beautifully! The problem I had was the cheese mixture came out of the food processor very fluid, so it was running off of the zuc’s. I tried thickening it with corn starch, but never got it like I thought it should be.
Any thoughts on this? Maybe I processed it too long?
Hi Jay. Thanks so much for trying out the lasagna, I’m sorry that you were having some issues with the filling. Over processing may have been an issue. Next time you might also try straining the excess liquid from the cottage cheese and ricotta if the brand you are using tends to be on the runny side. You can also you whole milk ricotta which will be thicker and creamier, but of course contain more fat, not sure if that is an issue for you. Hopefully one of these suggestions will help out next time!
Jay Myers says
Thanks very much! I’ll try wringing in some cheese cloth, and maybe hand mixing.
You’re great! Thanks.
Hello!! I’m running into the same issue with the cheese mixture being to liquidy! I’m making the tonight for a lunch party tomorrow! It’s in the oven as we speak! Was the recipe ruined as a result of it being too liquidy???
Lisa dekranes says
Hi Jay. I make canollis and I usually put the ricotta in a wire strainer and place in a bowl, making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Cover and let it sit 24 hrs in the refrigerator. It’s amazing how much liquid comes out. I’m sure you can do the same with the cottage cheese.
I thought this looked more like a “rollatine”, as in Eggplant Rollatine, stuffed with ricotta mixture and zucchini rather than in eggplant slices, hmmmm. Whatever you call this dish, it looks delish. I can see this as a great alternative to using pasta, avoiding heavy carbs. How about using both, you still save calories!
Thanks Joanne! You could definitely do a mix of regular pasta and zucchini if you prefer. :-)
I often use zucchini planks instead of pasta for many dishes. If you microwave them for a minute or so in batches, your avoid the oil and grilling, and they come out with a perfect texture. Just blot the excess liquid afterwards.
Thanks for sharing that tip Tom! A great alternative if people don’t have a grill or time to grill the zucchini. :-)
Janet Fazio says
These look fantastic. Love that they are gluten-free and low carb. Perfect for a Sunday night dinner.
Erin Gregos says
Do you think this is a crockpot friendly recipe?
Hi Erin. I don’t think this recipe would do well in a crockpot. While I haven’t tried it I suspect that the zucchini would become far too soft and give off a lot of liquid.
This Zucchini Lasagna is something which I’d like to try, especially since it’s ‘healthier’ (and much ‘less’ fattening’) than using pasta. I love this idea, especially since we love zucchini. Thanks for a great idea! Also, what is the Nutritional Info. for this recipe, and how can I find it out?
Hi Angela! I’m happy to hear you are interested in trying the zucchini lasagna rolls, I love making them for a lighter take on traditional lasagna. I currently don’t calculate the nutrition data on my recipes, but I’ve heard from others that MyFitnessPal has a good calculator for doing this.
Hi! Should I measure the cheese in weighted ounces, or in fluid ounces?
Hi Sarah, I would use weighted ounces to measure the cheese.
Do you have any of the nutritional information available for this recipe? We tried it for dinner last night and couldn’t stop raving about! Now I’d like to include it in my daily tracking app to monitor my lifestyle changes/results. Thanks!
Hi Theresa, thanks for trying the zucchini lasagna rolls and I’m so happy to hear you liked them! I’m sorry to say at this time I don’t calculate the nutritional information for my recipes, but I’ve heard that MyFitnessPal has a great calculator for figuring that out.
Alex Caspero MA,RD (@delishknowledge) says
I really love zucchini in lasagna and love the idea of these noodle-less rolls! These look so beautiful, love all that melty cheese on top. Awesome sounding recipe!
Thanks Alex! The zucchini was a great substitute for the pasta and all the cheese on top of course made it that much more delicious!
I absolutely luv what you’ve done with the zucchini for these lasagna rolls. It looks so elegant and I really like substituting the squash for the noodles – I don’t feel so sluggishly full after a meal and a good way to use up that summer harvest and get more veggies in a dish. Luv it! ;)
Thanks Cristina! The zucchini definitely doesn’t give you that sluggish feeling the way pasta sometimes can.
Dear Danae, I love your healthy gf alternative. This sounds so good…light and delicious. Pinning for later. xo, Catherine
Thanks Catherine! :-)
Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says
This is such a clever twist on a classic dish! Love it! :)
Thanks Rachel! :-)
Thalia @ butter and brioche says
What a fabulous way to cook up and eat zucchini. I have a lot of it on hand at the moment and always am looking for new and creative recipes to use it up on. So thanks Danae!
Thanks Thalia! I think there are a lot of us with surplus zucchini right now, so the more recipes the better!
I have yet to try zucchini lasagna rolls but I need to. It such a great alternative to regular lasagna.
They are a great alternative Julia, especially if you are looking for something lighter or have a ton of excess zucchini like I do!
Oh my gosh! If I made these they would look like one giant mess. It’s beautiful friend!
Thanks Beth! They would be beautiful if you made them, you are so talented!
Margaret Ann @ MAK and Her Cheese says
This looks beautiful! Thanks for the recipe. From a pasta lover, thanks for pointing out that the zucchini will not turn out the same as pasta. But zucchini is great in its own way! (Ironic because I just posted my own lasagna recipe) :)
There really is no substitute for pasta, but like you said it’s great in it’s own way. Thank you!
Look delicious, what machine can use to make the noodles and the lasagna. Please, I need buy onr
Hi Minerva. For this recipe I actually just cut the zucchini into planks with my knife. For spiralizing zucchini and other vegetables I use the KitchenAid Spiralizer attachment. If you don’t have a KitchenAid stand mixer or are looking for something less expensive I used to use the Paderno Spiralizer.