No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna (Keto, Gluten-Free)
These Zucchini Lasagna are delicious no-noodle healthy beef lasagna made with zucchini instead of the classic pasta.
Rediscover your favorite Italian pasta dish without the carbs using flavorsome Italian seasoned beef, marinara sauce, and cheesy ricotta Parmesan white sauce.
What Is Zucchini Lasagna?
Zucchini lasagna is a noodle-free lasagna recipe.
It uses zucchini ribbons called zucchini noodles to replace the regular wheat lasagna sheets.
Therefore, this recipe is very low in carbs but retains all the classic Italian flavors.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This recipe is very healthy, low in carbs, and so simple to make.
While it’s 100% keto-friendly, it tastes exactly like classic lasagna and the whole family will love it. Plus it’s perfect for reheating for a few days if you made a large dish.
How To Make Zucchini Lasagna
This recipe is made with only wholesome ingredients. The dish is made by alternating layers of zucchini noodles, meat in its sauce, and cheese sauce before adding cheese on top.
For the Zucchini Noodles:
- Zucchini – zucchinis are a low-carb vegetable that can release quite a lot of water. After all, it’s made of 95% water! Read my tips on how to remove as much moisture as possible to have lasagna that aren’t watery.
For the meat sauce
- Olive Oil – prefer an extra-virgin olive oil for better taste.
- Diced Onion – fresh or frozen, pick what you prefer.
- Green Pepper
- Italian Seasoning
- Parsley – I like Italian parsley, but you can also add some fresh basil.
- Ground Beef – choose good quality grass-fed beef for the best taste.
- Marinara sauce – tomatoes are keto-friendly vegetables. However, some tomato sauces contain added sugar. So always check the ingredients list. You must see only tomatoes, salt, or preservatives but no added sugar.
For the Ricotta Cheese Sauce:
- Ricotta Cheese – ricotta is a low-carb cheese, perfect to give a very creamy taste.
- Parmesan Cheese
- Egg – prefer free-range eggs to get a strong yellow yolk with more flavors.
Slicing The Zucchinis
Zucchini noodles are long, thin ribbons of zucchini that mimic the regular lasagna sheets in a zucchini lasagna.
To create perfect zucchini layers for your lasagna, you must follow 3 steps.
For this recipe, you will use about 3 large zucchinis of about 10.5 ounces (300g) each.
First, wash the zucchinis, pat them dry with paper towels, keep the skin on, and trim the ends.
Next, use a mandolin set on 1/8-inch (0.3mm) thickness, and slice the zucchini lengthwise to form long, thin zucchini noodles.
Finally, place all the zucchini ribbons into a colander.
Salting The Zucchini Noodles
You must extract all the water from the zucchini before using your zucchini noodles to avoid a watery lasagna.
To do so, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sea salt all over the prepared noodles.
Then, toss with your hands to bring the salt in contact with all the entire zucchini. Set aside 20 minutes to let the zucchini sweat and extract their water.
After this time, the zucchini noodles will be thinner, softer, and look sweaty on the surface.
Drying The Noodles
The last step consists of removing the water from the surface of each zucchini noodle.
The more water you pat dry, the less watery your lasagna dish will be.
First, lay a large piece of absorbent paper onto your countertop, about 12 inches (30 cm).
Then, lay each zucchini side by side, but do not let them overlap if you can. Press another paper towel on top and gently extract all the water from the zucchinis.
Your noodles are now ready to be used, set aside on a plate.
Making The Ricotta Cheese Sauce
This lasagna recipe is perfect for people on a keto diet because it doesn’t use a regular white sauce that contains wheat flour, milk, and lots of carbs.
Instead, the white sauce is made with two cheese varieties: ricotta and parmesan.
Make the ricotta mixture by combining the cheese with the egg in a saucepan over medium high heat until it has melted and thickened.
Assembling Zucchini Lasagna
As for regular noodle lasagna, you will assemble layers of ingredients until you fill your 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish.
This recipe makes 3 layers of veggies, which means that for each layer, you will use about 1/3 of the total amount of each ingredient: meat sauce, white sauce, and zucchini noodles.
Since the shredded mozzarella cheese is also used on top of the dish, you will use only 1/4 of the total amount per layer.
Like any other lasagna dish, it doesn’t have to be overly precise.
Do your best to add a similar amount of each sauce between the zucchini pasta layers to make the dish balanced.
However, it would still taste good if you did not. If you want to reduce saturated fat in this dish, you can use some low-fat shredded mozzarella.
- Add about 1/2 cup of meat sauce to the bottom of the baking dish.
- Top with zucchini slices to fully cover the pan, don’t overlap the zucchini strips but place them side by side until you can’t see the bottom of the pan or the meat tomato sauce.
- Sprinkle 1/4 of the amount of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the zucchini layers.
- Add more meat sauce (about 1/3 of the amount of the remaining sauce).
- Add dollops of ricotta cheese sauce, about 1/3 of the amount.
- Top with zucchini ribbons, as before don’t overlap, place them side by side until it fully hides the layer of meat/ricotta created under it.
- Repeat these steps until the dish is full and finish with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.
Baking Zucchini Lasagna
Bake the dish at 400°F (200°C) for about 20 to 30 minutes.
You know it’s ready when bubbles form on the sides of the baking dish, and the baked zucchinis are soft but still tender if you insert a knife into the dish.
Cool Down To Avoid Watery Servings
Zucchini lasagna can look unappealing even though they are extremely tasty!
In fact, even if you successfully extracted all the water from the zucchini, the dish can still be slightly more watery than regular lasagna simply because it consists of mostly liquid layers.
However, the longer the dish cools down, the less watery/soupy the lasagna will be.
If you really want to serve beautiful zucchini lasagna, make the dish ahead, and store it in the fridge overnight. Slice them cold the next day and rewarm in the microwave or oven on a single-serve dish/plate.
Honestly, I care about taste more than presentation when it comes to lasagna, so I usually only cool the dish for 15 minutes at room temperature.
Zucchini lasagnas are juicy, and there is nothing better than a piece of keto bread to dip in the meat marinara sauce!
This zucchini lasagna is even better the next day.
Store them in the fridge, directly in the pasta dish, covered with plastic wrapping to prevent the top of the dish from drying out.
Keep it there for up to 4 days or freeze the zucchini lasagna in individual containers.
Defrost the fridge the day before. Rewarm them in a saucepan or microwave.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ricotta and Parmesan are among the lowest-carb cheese, with respectively 1.7 grams and 0.9 grams of net carbs per ounce.
Very much so! Zucchini lasagna have a texture extremely similar to regular lasagna.
The sauce is rich and creamy, the meat brings its flavor, and the cheese tops it up.
There are other veggies you can use to replace the pasta such as eggplants, mushrooms, or spinach but none will quite make it taste like classic lasagna as well as zucchinis.
If you don’t like beef, you can replace it with ground chicken, ground turkey, or even plant-based alternative meats.
Zucchinis are full of water. 95% of their weight is water. So to prevent a zucchini lasagna from being watery, it’s essential to dry the zucchini slices as much as possible.
You can also roast the zucchini noodles for a few minutes in the oven or use a food desiccator.
The best way to slice zucchini lengthwise safely is to use a mandolin or food slicer.
Using a knife to do it can be dangerous!
More Zucchini Recipes
If you love this recipe, I have plenty more zucchini recipes for you to try, all are gluten-free!
Did You Like This Recipe?
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