Grilled Zucchini Low-Carb Lasagna with Italian Sausage, Tomato, and Basil Sauce
Grilled Zucchini Low-Carb Lasagna uses thick slices of barely-grilled zucchini to replace the noodles for a lower-carb and gluten-free version of lasagna! I love these flavors, and this is a favorite zucchini dish I look forward to every fall. Check out Zucchini Recipes for more ideas to use that zucchini!
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 no longer have room in my garden for zucchini plants, 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 lower in carbs, gluten-free, and South Beach Diet friendly, and could easily be vegetarian, and it’s delicious as well! If you’re not making homemade sauce, be sure to use lowest-sugar tomato-basil sauce you can find.
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 Mozzarella blend from Costco that has a little bit of 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 so water would evaporate, but you can cover with foil towards the end of the cooking time 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.
More “Use Up the Zucchini” Ideas:
The BEST Slow Cooker Zucchini Recipes ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Zucchini-Crust Vegetarian Pizza Margherita ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Zucchini and Turkey Lasagna ~ A Good Appetite
Monster Zucchini and Basil Strata ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Weekend Food Prep:
This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!
Grilled Zucchini Low-Carb Lasagna with Italian Sausage, Tomato, and Basil Sauce
Thick slices of barely-grilled zucchini replace the noodles in this Grilled Zucchini Low-Carb Lasagna.
- 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 the low-sugar sauce I use and an option if you don’t have homemade sauce.)
- 2 cups 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 Mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup coarsely grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
- (or use about 3 cups of any type of white cheese that melts well to replace the cheeses listed here)
Sauce Ingredients If You Don’t Have Homemade Sauce:
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 pkg. (19.5 oz.) hot or mild turkey or pork 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 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 leave it uncovered so some liquid can evaporate, but you can cover it for the last part of the cooking 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.
Pasta Sauce Options: I use my Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce to make the sauce for this lasagna. If you want to make a sauce using purchased sauce as a base, Newman’s Own Common Good Pasta Sauce is lower in sugar than most other brands.
Equipment: 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 if you have a deep pan like this.
This recipe created by Kalyn.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Grilled Zucchini Low-Carb Lasagna with Italian Sausage, Tomato, and Basil Sauce will be much lower in carbs than traditional lasagna when it’s made with low-sugar pasta sauce. However even low-sugar sauce has some carbs and there are carbs in the cottage cheese, so this recipe can’t ever be Keto. For anyone who’s following the South Beach Diet, this should be made with turkey Italian Sausage and reduced fat dairy products for South Beach. This does have a fairly generous amount of cheese, so even though this would be okay for any phase of South Beach, it’s probably a “once in a while” treat for Phase One.
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