This lasagne con zucchine e salsiccia (lasagna with zucchini and sausage) is a gluten-free twist on an Italian classic. We're layering zucchini "noodles" with a homemade sausage meat sauce and three types of cheese. Though it seems indulgent, this savory Italian casserole is low-carb, keto-friendly, and low-calorie. Enjoy ⅙ of this zucchini lasagna for under 500 calories! Take that excess garden squash and turn it into something DELICIOUS!
Fresh zucchini squash is abundant in my garden right now, and I am loving it. There is so, so much that you can do with this versatile vegetable beyond boring veggie side dishes.
In this dish, I'm cutting the zucchini lengthwise into long, thin strips to use as lasagna noodles. If you have a mandoline, it will make nice, even zucchini slices for you.
I just used a regular kitchen knife to slice the zucchini, no special kitchen equipment required. I'm always afraid I'll slice a finger along with the summer squash on a mandoline. The knife worked fine.
This lasagne con zucchine takes a bit more work than using store-bought flour-based lasagna noodles. However, this low-carb zucchini lasagna comes with a lot of benefits:
- It's gluten free, perfect if you have celiac disease or are following a GF diet for other reasons.
- It will help to improve the nutrient-density of your diet by replacing refined flour with more vegetables.
- Zucchini lasagna is a low-carb and keto-friendly alternative to classic lasagna, ideal if you are following one of those approaches.
- It's also perfect for volume eaters. You can enjoy a huge portion (⅙ of the tray!) for under 500 calories!
- Additionally, it is a delicious way to use the glut of fresh garden zucchini that is in season right now.
I'm a big fan of zucchini noodle lasagna, can you tell?
Making the BEST Lasagne con Zucchine e Salsiccia Ever!
You know I love working on slow food recipes. If you're willing to go the extra mile, there are some ways to make this lasagne con zucchine extra special.
For one, you could make your own fennel sausage to use in this recipe. The sweet Italian sausage I make is half pork, half chicken.
I know that many don't have the time or inclination to make sausage. I feel that the trouble is worth it because it adds an unbelievable amount of delicious flavor to the dish.
(Note to those who are here for weight loss recipes: if you use an all-chicken sausage, your lasagna will likely be lower in calories. With an all-pork sausage, the calories will be higher.)
Another thing that I do to make the best-tasting lasagna is use my homemade ricotta cheese recipe. I know that making your own cheese may seem daunting at first, but this recipe is easy! All you have to do is heat the milk, add an acid, let the whey separate, and drain.
The "ricotta" I make is technically a crumbled paneer. It is truly one of the easiest cheeses that you can make. It will lend better flavor to your dish, and you can skip any additives in store-bought ricotta that you'd prefer to avoid.
You could also use a homemade marinara sauce in this dish. Here's where I chose to take a shortcut, using a jarred tomato sauce. Here's a roundup of our ingredients:
- Marinara sauce
- Tomato paste
- Italian sausage
- Ground beef
- Cheese (Mozzarella, Parmesan, Ricotta)
Slice the zucchini, make the meat sauce, mix the cheeses, and layer those ingredients. A tray of hot lasagne con zucchine will be yours in no time!
How to Get Less Watery Zucchini Lasagna
So, this sausage lasagna with zucchini noodles pretty much sounds like a dream, am I right? Unfortunately, there is a downside to replacing your wheat noodles with zucchini noodles. Zucchini and other summer squashes get very watery when they are cooked.
The photo above was taken right after removing the tray of lasagna from the oven. You can see there is quite a bit of liquid in there.
My first tip is to let your lasagne con zucchine rest for 10-15 minutes after removing it from the oven. This gives the moisture time to reabsorb back into the food. I feel that regular lasagnas with flour noodles can benefit from this tip as well.
Cutting lasagna straight from the oven makes it more likely you'll get messy pieces. This zucchini lasagna cuts nicely if you let it cool a bit.
Zucchini lasagna indeed tends to be a little more watery than wheat noodle lasagnas. However, it should still cut nicely and should not look like lasagna soup. Lol The wateriness should really not be any worse than a classic lasagna that is packed with vegetables.
My second (and final) tip for less watery lasagna with zucchini noodles is to use young, small zucchini only. Younger zucchinis tend to be firmer and less watery than old, huge zucchinis.
I've never tried baby zucchini in a zucchini lasagna, but I bet they'd work well if watery lasagna is an issue. (Of course, you'd need an absolute truckload of them to make 3 layers in the lasagna pan. Also, the lasagna might not cut as neatly as it does with the longer strips of zucchini.)
The recipe video below will give you a better idea of the size of the zucchini I used. Pick them young!
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to this post. Let's get cooking!
Lasagne con Zucchine (Lasagna with Zucchini)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 12 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed 340 grams (store-bought or try this recipe)
- 8 ounces lean ground beef (227 grams)
- 24 ounces marinara sauce 680 grams (choose one with no added sugar)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste (the extra-thick type in a tube)
- 2 lbs. small zucchini 907 grams (I used 6 zucchini; choose straight, cylindrical zucchini for even slices)
- 8 ounces low-fat ricotta cheese 227 grams (I highly recommend making your own but store-bought ricotta works in a pinch)
- 10 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, divided
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, divided (227 grams)
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- ½ tablespoon dried oregano
- black pepper, to taste
- fresh basil for garnish
- cooking oil spray of choice
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Put the olive oil in a cast-iron pan. Saute the shallot over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Add the sausage, beef, and garlic to the skillet. Brown the meats over medium heat, breaking it up into crumbles with a spatula while it browns. It will take around 10 minutes.
- Add the marinara sauce and tomato paste to the pan. Let the sauce thicken while stirring for 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
- Cut the zucchini into thin, even slices using a knife or mandoline. You need to cut it thin enough so about ⅓ of your slices (2 zucchini) will cover one layer.
- Mix the ricotta, ½-cup of Parmesan, 4 ounces mozzarella, dried basil, oregano, and black pepper together. Set aside
- Mist your 9x13-inch (22.9-33 cm) glass baking pan with the cooking spray. Put ⅓ of the zucchini slices at the bottom of the tray in a single, slightly overlapping layer. Top with ⅓ of the meat sauce, then ½ of the ricotta mixture.
- Now add another layer of zucchini slices, another layer of meat sauce, and the rest of the ricotta mixture. Finish the dish with the rest of the zucchini slices and the rest of the meat sauce. Finish assembling the lasagna by sprinkling with the remaining 4 ounces of mozzarella and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. (The recipe video below is helpful if you need a visual of the layering!)
- Bake uncovered for 45-55 minutes. (I prefer 55 minutes for the browned cheese!)
- Let the dish rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes prior to serving. Garnish with fresh basil.
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). Hey volume eaters, this one is for you! Depending on the type of sausage and marinara you use, you can have ⅙ of this tray of lasagna for under 500 calories! It's a huge portion that is packed with protein. LOVE IT. The volume you get with this meal is definitely not empty calories. You're getting an excellent source of calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and an assortment of other essential vitamins and minerals. Meats are a rich source of various B vitamins for those who don't eat many grains. The meat here also provides vitamin B12, a vitamin that is not naturally present in grains (even whole grains). (If you use my half chicken, half pork fennel sausage recipe, this dish has beef, pork, and chicken! It's like a meat lover's lasagna. Hahaha) Nutrition information is for one serving of the recipe.
If you are into recipes that pack in the volume for very few calories, you might enjoy my spin on the Cabbage Soup Diet recipe. Also, I highly recommend my lower carb Cincinnati chili recipe. I swapped the refined flour noodles for spaghetti squash in this healthier take on 5-way chili.
So, now some questions for you! Why are you interested in zucchini noodle recipes? Are you following a keto diet, gluten-free diet, or are you just looking for ways to eat healthier?
Also, did you try this Lasagne con Zucchine e Salsiccia recipe? Don't be shy about it! Let others know what you think by dropping a comment and recipe rating below!