I have been craving lasagna for a while, so I finally went for it! I had some challenges but used what we had on hand and it was amazing! I made a Zucchini Lasagna without Ricotta!
Zucchini is now in season! We got the first one out of the garden we planted at my parent’s house this week. We let it get a little large, about the diameter of 14.5 oz can of tomatoes, but that worked well for this recipe! I try to be gluten free, so this was a tremendous alternative to pasta noodles! To slice the zucchini thin, I used a mandoline. The consistency of the thin slices can not be beaten by hand slicing, and super fast too!
I salt the zucchini to season it and draw the moisture out. Squeeze the zucchini over the sink or a bowl. You may be surprised at how much liquid it releases! Unfortunately, I forgot to salt and squeeze the bottom layer. Possibly because I missed this step, the lasagna was on the moist side when cooked.
Now, I actually love ricotta cheese in lasagna, however, we did not have any on hand. Growing up, my mother always made lasagna with cottage cheese, but we did not have any of that either. We did, however, have an abundance of “pizza cheese blend” on hand, a mix of mozzarella, provolone, asiago, and romano cheeses. Mozzarella would have worked just fine. Without the ricotta, the mouth feel of this lasagna wasn’t as “full bodied” and the structure broke down much more easily allowing it to spread out on the plate more like a baked pasta dish. Although less than attractive once plated up, the taste was still incredible!
We also did not have any canned sauce on hand, so I made some on the fly! It is rather easy really. Cooking the Italian sausage in the sauce helps enhance the flavor!
This was beautiful and delicious! It was probably too hot out side (90° F) to be using the oven and heating up our house, but it was well worth it with this delicious meal!
Here is the “Build” of the lasagna, in pictures!
Zucchini Lasagna without Ricotta
Prep time: 10 mi
Cook time: 60 min
- 1 lb. Italian Sausage
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 24 oz shredded pizza or mozzarella cheese
- Brown the Italian sausage in a skillet over medium heat. If using links, turn to brown each side, approx 10 minutes total.
- Add onions and garlic to the pan to brown. Meanwhile, sprinkle thinly sliced zucchini with salt and set aside.
- Add crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes to pan with sausage. Turn to medium/low and simmer until the sausages are cooked through.
- Squeeze excess liquid out of the zucchini slices, discarding liquid. Thinly spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9″x13″ casserole dish. Line bottom of the casserole with 1/3 of the zucchini slices.
- Sprinkle8 oz. of cheese over the zucchini
- Slice sausage and spread half of the sausage over the cheese, followed by 1/3 of the tomato sauce.
- Repeat layers: 1/3 of the Zucchini, 1/3 of the Cheese, the remaining Sausage, 1/3 of the sauce.
- Layer remaining zucchini, remaining sauce, and remaining cheese on top.
- Bake, uncovered, in a 400° oven for 25-35 minutes until bubbly and cheese are browned to your liking.
- I have found that the browning of cheese is enhanced by placing the casserole on the top rack, close to the “roof” of the oven.
I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as my own family did! Let me know how it turns out!
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