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.
- 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
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