If you live anywhere even slightly cold, the one thing you love about winter is probably the delicious food that it brings. And when it comes to dinners, who doesn’t love hearty casseroles or steaming soups?
Last night, I treated my family to something hearty and healthy: zucchini lasagna. Many of you have probably already tried some type of zucchini-rendition of a pasta, as gluten-free meals have become increasingly more popular. If you still haven’t jumped on the zucchini bandwagon, I’d recommend starting now, with this recipe. With the right types and proportions of cheese, herbs, and tomatoes, you can hardly even tell that there isn’t any real pasta in this dish. This is a filling and healthy way to sneak veggies into your meal!
The idea for this recipe came from The Soup Club Cookbook. I know, my sister couldn’t believe it either, that I didn’t choose a soup recipe from this book. The truth is this book contains so much more than just soups, unlike the title suggests. The soup recipes in the book do seem amazing (I already bookmarked more than a dozen), but there’re also recipes for salads, snacks, vegetables, etc. (the only section it’s missing is one for desserts).
The photos are very vivid and vibrant and there are even hand-drawn sketches thrown in there. Normally I hate when cookbooks don’t have a photo for every recipe, but in this one I didn’t mind. Most of the recipes are pretty easy and straight-forward (it is mostly just soup) and the format is colorful and aesthetically pleasing, so more additional photos really aren’t necessary.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone trying to cook healthily. And there are more than just vegetarian recipes, so all you meat-lovers out there have plenty of options. So try this recipe, then go out and buy the book!
- 5-6 medium sized zucchini
- 15 oz whole-milk ricotta
- 4 oz shredded parmesan cheese
- pepper, to taste
- 1 egg
- about 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 8-oz can sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped*
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves*
- 3/4 cup fresh spinach
- *If it’s still winter and you’re having trouble finding fresh spices, just use dried. Add more spinach to replace the basil.
- Prepare the zucchini: Either with a sharp knife or with a mandolin, thinly slice the zucchini. Having a baking tray and paper towels ready. As you slice the zucchini, lay the slices out on a paper towel on top of the tray. Sprinkle a small amount of salt over each layer. Make sure there are papers towels between each layer. Allow the zucchini to drain for about 25 minutes.
- Prepare the ricotta: Place the ricotta in a medium bowl with the parmesan pepper and egg. Mix until combined.
- Make the sauce: Preheat the oven to 375ºF. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil on the stove in a saucepan. Once heated, add the garlic. Cook just until slightly toasty, about 2 minutes. Slightly drain the two types of canned tomatoes, then add them to the saucepan. Add the oregano. Allow to simmer for about 8 minutes. With a handheld blender, puree the mixture.
- Assemble: By this time, the zucchini should have sufficiently drained. With fresh paper towels, wipe excess salt and water off of the zucchini. Get a 9x13 inch baking pan and begin assembling. Start with a thin layer of sauce. Next add the zucchini, then mozzarella. The next layer should be zucchini, sauce, ricotta, basil and spinach. Then zucchini and mozzarella. You can be creative with how you layer the ingredients, but top with mozzarella.
- Bake: Bake for about 35 minutes, covered with foil (use toothpicks if it looks like the foil will be touching the mozzarella). Take off the foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until the mozzarella has sufficiently browned. Enjoy fresh!