Layers of pasta, zucchini, creamy pesto ricotta, tomato sauce and melty cheese. Move over Stouffer's, we are here to take your spot on the weeknight menu. Homemade, easy Zucchini Lasagna with flavorful pesto is hearty, robust and delicious. An easy, healthy dinner the whole family is bound to love. Plus, talk about a fabulous way to sneak in extra veggies for your pickiest of eaters!
Is Lasagna a Summer Recipe?
Now if you are like me, lasagna isn’t the first summer recipe to roll into your mind. But this recipe is going to give every one of your summer recipes a run for its money. And not to mention it is the perfect way to use up all that summer produce you have on hand.
And if looking for a healthier option to traditional meat lasagna, Zucchini Pesto Lasagna is just what you need. A handful of fresh ingredients and you are on your way to a delicious meal. A step away from what is sure to be a weeknight family favorite.
Pesto AND Tomato Sauce ... Really?
You might think its overkill to combine two classic Italian flavors in one dish. One Italian classic is enough right? No. I tell you after enjoying this revolutionary lasagna, no it is not, more flavor is ALWAYS better!
Question its necessity, but I promise you, using fresh pesto and a savory marinara sauce together is pure perfection. You will fall in love after your first bite, sure to never want to eat lasagna any other way.
Especially if you use my not-so-secret Pesto recipe right HERE. With 5 ingredients and 5 minutes you will have the world's best pesto. Just add your ricotta and plain non-fat yogurt and get to cooking!
Layers, Layers, Layers
The best of things come in layers, am I right? Cakes, pizza, trifles, parfait, onions, ogres ... and LASAGNA! Who doesn't love melty cheeses, on top of a robust and flavorful tomato sauce? Combined with a creamy pesto ricotta filling, spread between layers of tender zucchini and noodles ... mmmmhmmm! This light, healthy yet hearty meatless lasagna is sure to surprise everyone.
The perfect meal for holiday dinners, family or taking to a friend in need of a little comfort food. Lasagna is the best kind of loving pick me up in my book. I mean they really should make Italian food the sixth love language.
I especially love that this is a dish that keeps and reheats well throughout the week. In fact, some times I double the recipe and make two casseroles. Serve one for dinner and freeze the second for a night down the road. It only takes a few extra minutes. And I mean ... I am already in the kitchen. And it is so worth the little additional effort to come out with a two-for-one meal in the end.
Pro Chef - Mom Hack
Ideally, this one I would make on the weekend when I have extra time and help on my hands. With essentially three steps this recipe is a bit of, a labor of love. But I promise it is worth it, oh so worth it.
Prepare this dish on the weekend. Pop it in the fridge or freezer. Pull it out to cook when in need of a hot meal in half an hour, and they will all be calling you Super Woman or Super Man.
- Re-heating from Fridge: Cover with foil and reheat at 375° for 20 minutes.
- Freezing: Prepare lasagna in an aluminum 9x13 dish as normal. Spray a piece of cling wrap with non-stick spray. Press cling wrap against the surface of the casserole and cover the whole dish with aluminum foil. Can be kept in freezer for up to 3 months.
- Cook from Thawed: Remove from the freezer and thaw completely in the fridge overnight. Uncover the casserole, remove the cling wrap. Recover with aluminum foil and cook at 400° for 25 minutes. Remove foil and let cook for 10 more minutes or until golden.
- Cook from Frozen: Remove from the freezer. Uncover the casserole, remove the cling wrap. Recover with aluminum foil and cook at 400° degrees for 70 minutes. Or until hot all the way through and bubbling along the edges. Remove foil and let cook for 10 more minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- 12 ounces oven ready lasagna noodles
- 1 cup pesto sauce
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese
- ½ cup plain non-fat yogurt
- 2-4 zucchini
- 2 cans crushed Italian tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 8 fresh basil leaves, cut julienne
- salt and pepper to taste
- Sauté garlic in olive oil. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to the pan.
- Simmer the sauce partially covered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. (While sauce is simmering go ahead and prepare the zucchini and pesto ricotta.)
- Blanch the zucchini in a large pot with generously salted, boiling water. 6 minutes if smaller zucchini and 8 minutes if larger.
- Immediately submerge zucchini in ice cold water for 4 minutes.
- Slice zucchini lengthwise with a potato peeler and place strips on a paper towel so excess water can be absorbed.
- In separate bowl combine pesto, ricotta and yogurt. Stir well.
- In a 9x13 casserole dish spread a small amount of the tomato sauce over the bottom so it is covered.
- Begin layering ingredients starting first with the lasagna noodles, then spread ½ of the pesto-ricotta mixture, zucchini strips, spread tomato sauce. Repeat layers.
- Top the casserole with final layer of lasagna noodles and spread with tomato sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400° for 25 minutes.
- Remove foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown on top.
- Let casserole dish stand for 10 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with remaining grated cheese and julienned basil alongside remaining tomato sauce.
- We use oven ready noodles for ease but you can defintiely use regular noodles and par-cook prior to layering.
- If preferred you can use a pre-made tomato sauce or marinara. Just skip to step 3.
- Perfect meal for freezing or reheating. See post for directions.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 256Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 185mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 10g
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