Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Low Carb Zucchini Lasagna

 

It's been eight years since I posted a lasagna recipe and, now that I'm living gluten and grain free, it's time for an updated version. My husband brought home two gorgeous, organic zucchini the other day and my plan was to spiralize them and make spaghetti. But because today was a cold and rainy spring day in Maine, I decided to make a warm and comforting baked lasagna instead. Instead of pasta noodles, I cut my zucchini lengthwise into narrow slices and used them between the layers of cheese and sauce. It's important to place the zucchini slices between paper towels and leave at room temperature for at least an hour (or longer) to allow the moisture to be drawn out of this watery vegetable before assembling the casserole. The ricotta cheese mixture and meat sauce can be made a day or two ahead so, when it's time to assemble and bake, the prep time is minimal. This recipe is definitely a keeper! The lasagna was so delicious and, because it is a complete and balanced meal by itself, you don't even need to worry about a side dish. Keep life simple!

Low Carb Zucchini Lasagna
Makes 6 servings

2 large zucchini, about 9 inches long
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Ricotta Cheese Filling:
15 oz. of whole milk or part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup of chopped fresh spinach (or 1/2 cup frozen, squeezed and drained of moisture)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon of Italian herb seasoning
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 egg, slightly beaten

Meat Sauce:
3/4 pound of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (or substitute ground beef)
2 cups marinara or your favorite pasta sauce, no sugar added

1. Prepare the zucchini ahead of time by slicing lengthwise into thin slices (about 3/16-inch wide). If you have one, a mandoline works well to make even, thin slices, otherwise cut with a large knife. Lay the slices in a single layer on several layers of paper towel, sprinkle very sparingly with salt and cover with several more layers of paper towel. If desired, you can place a baking sheet over them and weight it with canned goods or other objects. Allow the zucchini slices to remain at room temperature between the paper towels for at least one hour (or longer) to draw out the excess moisture. Wipe off any excess salt before assembling the lasagna.
Step by Step Pictorial

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the Ricotta Cheese Filling ingredients and stir until well combined. Set aside. (If making ahead, refrigerate until you're ready to assemble the lasagna.)

3. In a large skillet, brown the sausage and add the pasta sauce. Stir to combine and set aside. (This can be made ahead and refrigerated, if desired.)

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. To assemble the lasagna, spray a baking pan with non-stick spray or grease with coconut oil or butter. Spoon in about 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce (no sausage) and spread to cover the bottom of the pan. Lay down a layer of the zucchini slices, overlapping just slightly, until the bottom of the pan is covered. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta filling over the zucchini and spread into an even layer, covering the zucchini slices. Top with 1/3 of the meat sauce and spread to edges. Sprinkle sauce with 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.

5. Repeat with a layer of zucchini slices, 1/3 of the ricotta filling, 1/3 of the meat sauce and 1/4 cup mozzarella.

6. Repeat a final time with a layer of zucchini slices, the remaining ricotta filling, the remaining meat sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.

7. Cover with the pan lid or tightly with foil (spray the foil with non-stick spray to prevent the cheese from sticking). Bake for 50-60 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutritional Information per serving (1/6th of recipe): 415 calories, 14 g carbohydrate (3 g dietary fiber, 6.8 g sugars), 26.5 g total fat (11.4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 106 mg cholesterol, 1048 mg sodium, 430 mg calcium, 327 mg potassium, 981 mg Vit A, 12 mg iron, 29 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 11 grams

 
Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2017
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without author's permission.

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