This past Monday evening, the Ethan Allen Homestead group had the pleasure of hosting Lea Scott from the UVM Farmer Training Program for a discussion on utilizng plant scraps in culinary ventures. Midst the conversation, the idea of lasagna made with zucchini rather than traditional noodles was brought up by one of the students. Joanne, a second-year student, was inspired to do some recipe hunting in order to find a dish that she could use her zucchini harvest with while also abiding by her gluten-free diet. The ‘No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna’ below is the answer that Joanne found, and here it is for all of you to experiment with!
No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna
Makes 1- 9×13 inch baking dish
- 2 large zucchini
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 lb ground beef (may be omitted for vegetarian option)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 cup tomato paste (fresh tomatoes may be used if available!)
- 1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 egg
- 1 (15 oz) container low fat ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 (16 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- May substitute with fresh spinach, use a 2:1 ratio for fresh to frozen
- 1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8 oz grated Parmesan cheese
- hot water as needed
- Preheat oven to 325˚ F. Grease a deep 9×13 inch baking pan
- Slice zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices. Sprinkle slices lightly with salt; set aside to drain in a colander (salt will draw out natural moisture)
- To prepare the meat sauce (can be done vegetarian style), cook and stir ground beef and black pepper in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add in green pepper and onion; cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. Stir in tomato paste, tomato sauce, wine, basil, and oregano, adding a small amount of hot water if sauce is too thick. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer sauce for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Meanwhile, stir egg, ricotta, and parsley together in a bowl until well combined.
- To assemble lasagna, spread 1/2 of the meat sauce into the bottom of prepared pan. Then layer 1/2 zucchini slices, 1/2 the ricotta mixture, all of the spinach, followed by all of the mushrooms, then 1/2 the mozzarella cheese. Repeat by layering the remaining meat sauce, zucchini slices, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella. Spread Parmesan cheese evenly over the top; cover with foil.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil; raise oven temperature to 350˚ F, and back an additional 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving
Feel free to experiment by adding some garlic and/or some of your other favorite veggies!