Grilled Zucchini Low-Carb Lasagna with Italian Sausage, Tomato, and Basil Sauce
Grilled Zucchini Slices made into Lasagna for a low-carb and gluten-free treat! I love this method of making lasagna with thick slices of barely-grilled zucchini replacing the noodles, and this is a favorite zucchini dish I look forward to every fall. And this tasty Grilled Zucchini Lasagna is South Beach Diet friendly!
This recipe for Grilled Zucchini Low-Carb Lasagna
is for vegetable gardeners in the northern hemisphere who might be wondering how to use those huge zucchinis that suddenly seem to appear overnight when the garden is winding down. For years I’ve been making “lasagna” using zucchini in place of the lasagna noodles, and this is one of my favorite uses for those monster zucchinis that are inevitable if you have a garden. Now that I am temporarily without a garden, I buy giant zucchini at the farmers market to make this!
Grilling the zucchini removes some of the liquid that might otherwise make the lasagna too watery, and if you don’t have an outdoor grill you could certainly do this on a stove-top grill pan. Of course, using zucchini instead of pasta makes a version of lasagna that’s low-carb, gluten-free, and South Beach Diet friendly, (and could easily be vegetarian without the sausage in the sauce) but it’s delicious as well!
(Grilled Zucchini Low-Carb Lasagna was updated with better photos and instructions in September 2014 for Phase One Fridays where I feature Phase One Recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites.)
You can use round slices if your zucchini isn’t that straight, but I prefer lengthwise slices about 5/8 inch thick. Brush the zucchini slices on both sides with olive oil, adding a sprinkle of Italian Herb Blend if you’d like. Grill on the first side until you have nice grill marks, about 3-4 minutes. Then turn and cook a few minutes on the second side, until the zucchini is partially cooked but not completely soft.
While I was cooking the zucchini I simmered my Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce
so it would be really thick. (If you don’t want to make sauce from scratch, see the recipe below for an alternate. Spread the cooked zucchini out on a large cutting board and use a paper towel to press down and remove as much liquid as you can. Beat the eggs and then mix in the cottage cheese. (Don’t skip the eggs; they help hold this together.)
Spray the dish with olive oil or non-stick spray and then make a layer of the grilled zucchini. Cover that with half the sauce, about 1 1/2 cups of the thick sauce. Then make a layer with half the cottage cheese mixture, followed by a layer with half the cheese. (I used a low-fat Mozzarella blend from Costco that has a little bit of low-fat cheddar.)
Repeat to make another layer each of grilled zucchini, sauce, cottage cheese-egg mixture, and cheese. Bake at 400F/200C for 30-40 minutes, or until the lasagna is bubbling and the top is starting to brown. I baked mine uncovered, but you can cover with foil if it starts to look too brown. This will be juicier than regular lasagna, so let it sit at least 10-15 minutes before cutting.
Grilled Zucchini Low-Carb Lasagna (with Italian Sausage, Tomato, and Basil Sauce)
(Makes about 8 servings, recipe created by Kalyn.)
It’s important to use a dish that’s fairly deep for this recipe. The first time I made this I used a dish that was 9″ x 11″ and 3″ deep. This time I used my new lasagna pan that was 12.5″ x 10″ and 3″ deep, which worked a lot better. I would use the larger amounts of cottage cheese and egg for if you have a deep pan like this.)
2-4 large zucchini, cut into lengthwise or round slices about 5/8 inch thick (enough zucchini slices to make two layers, be careful not to cut too thin)
olive oil, for brushing lasagna slices
Italian Herb Blend, for sprinkling zucchini before grilling (optional)
4 cups Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce, reduced to make 3 cups. (See below for an option if you don’t have homemade sauce.)
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese (or use 1 1/2 cups for smaller dish size)
4 eggs (or use 3 eggs for smaller dish size)
2 cups grated low-fat Mozzarella cheese
1 cup coarsely grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
(or use about 3 cups of any type of white cheese that melts well)
Sauce Ingredients if You Don’t Have Homemade Sauce:
1 T olive oil
1 pkg. (19.5 oz.) hot or mild turkey Italian Sausage links
24 oz. jar tomato-basil sauce (choose the lowest sugar sauce you can find)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (optional, but use if available)
If you don’t have homemade sauce, heat one tablespoon olive oil in frying pan with high sides. Squeeze the turkey Italian sausage out of the links, and cook until it’s nicely browned, breaking apart with a turner or potato masher as it cooks. (Most turkey sausage will release some liquid; just cook until that evaporates.) When the sausage is brown, add the jar of sauce and rinse out the jar with about 1/2 cup water. Simmer until the sauce mixture is reduced to 3 cups, about 20 minutes, then stir in the chopped fresh basil if using.
Preheat oven to 400F. Brush grill or stove-top grill pan with olive oil or spray with grill spray and preheat to high heat. (You can only hold your hand there for a few seconds at that heat.) While grill heats, cut zucchini into slices about 5/8 inch thick. Brush both sides of zucchini lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian Herb Blend if using. Grill zucchini slices until they’re lightly browned on both sides, but not fully cooked, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the zucchini slices to a cutting board and press lightly with a paper towel to absorb some of the moisture. (Put zucchini between two pieces of paper towel if it seems especially juicy.)
Beat eggs in small bowl, then stir in cottage cheese. (If using homemade sauce, be sure it has reduced to 3 cups.)
Spray heavy ceramic or glass lasagna dish with non-stick spray or olive oil. Then make a layer of lasagna slices, a layer with half the sauce, a layer with half the cottage cheese-egg mixture, and a layer with half the cheese. Top with second layer of grilled lasagna slices, sauce, cottage cheese-egg mixture, and remaining cheese.
Bake 30-40 minutes, or until cheese is melted and browned on top and mixture is slightly bubbling. (I hate to cover it with foil because the cheese always sticks to the foil, but you can cover it for part of the time if you don’t want the top quite so brown.) Let sit at least 10-15 minutes before cutting, then cut into pieces and serve hot. (This will be a little juicier than regular lasagna, letting it sit for a few minutes will help with that.)
This keeps very well in the fridge for several days and it might even be better re-heated, because some of the juice absorbs into the zucchini when it’s refrigerated! I would not recommend freezing.
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South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:
For anyone who’s following the South Beach Diet
, this dish with zucchini instead of pasta and sauce made with turkey Italian Sausage is a much better choice than regular lasagna.
However, this does have a fairly generous amount of cheese, so even though this would be okay for any phase of the diet, it’s probably a “once in a while” treat for Phase One. It would be suitable for most other types of low-carb diet plans.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn’t have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count
, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly
, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.
More “Use Up the Zucchini” Ideas:
The BEST Slow Cooker Zucchini Recipes ~ Slow Cooker from Scratch
Zucchini-Crust Vegetarian Pizza Margherita ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Zucchini and Turkey Lasagna from A Good Appetite
Monster Zucchini and Basil Strata ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.