This keto Zucchini Lasagna recipe is an absolutely delicious, low-carb alternative to the traditional pasta version. Healthy zucchini, ground meat, hearty marinara sauce, creamy ricotta, Mozzarella, and Parmesan is everything you need for this kid-friendly meal. Once you know how to make this dish, it just might become your new favorite dinner!

A single serving of zucchini lasagna is scooped out of the dish.

Sometimes the craving for lasagna hits SO strong there’s no way you can deny it. 

With its hearty tomato-based meat sauce, layers of ricotta and mozzarella cheese, and tons of Italian seasonings. 

But did you ever stop to think that the pasta actually doesn’t have much flavor at all?

In fact, your taste buds will think they’re eating the classic but will indeed be eating a zucchini lasagna instead!

But wait! Won’t it end up in a soggy mess?

Whether you’ve tried making one before, or have just heard horror stories, most recipes end up with a watery pile of something that only vaguely resembles a lasagna. 

After quite a few rounds of recipe testing I’ve learned a few key things that will prevent your dish from becoming too liquidy.  I’ll go over all of those with you in greater detail below. 

(And if you want an even fancier presentation with the same flavors, check out these Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups!)

Zucchini, pasta sauce, ground meat, ricotta cheese, and seasoning are the ingredients for zucchini lasagna.
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Ingredients

To make this Zucchini Lasagna recipe you need:

  • Zucchini. You need about 4-5 medium-sized squash. Look for pieces that are about the same length so it makes layering the lasagna easier.
  • Ground meat. You can use beef, turkey, Italian sausage, or a mixture. Choose a variety with at least a 90/10 leanness, or make sure to drain out any excess fat after cooking. This extra liquid can make the lasagna very watery!
  • Onion. Sweet was used and is a perfect balance to the earthy flavors, but white or red can also be subbed.
  • Garlic. Fresh, finely minced garlic adds so much flavor, but ¼ teaspoon garlic powder can be used.
  • Sauce. Your choice of marinara or any other type of tomato-based spaghetti sauce. Choose one you like the taste of since this is a big part of the dish. This homemade Pomodoro Sauce is delicious!
  • Ricotta. A whole milk version is preferred. A part-skim one will have excess liquid that can contribute to a watery result.
  • Seasoning. Either store-bought or a homemade Italian Seasoning will work. Or, you can also use a mix of oregano, parsley, basil, rosemary, and thyme.
  • Parmesan. Freshly grated adds the most flavor and creates a smooth texture when melted. You can also use shredded if that’s what you have.
  • Mozzarella. Look for shredded whole milk or part-skim to sprinkle evenly.

How to Make Zucchini Lasagna

The basic steps for making Zucchini Lasagna are simple to follow:

Cut Zucchini into “Noodles”

First trim and remove the ends from all of the zucchini.

Then, use a very sharp knife to cut each one lengthwise. You should get about 4-5 slices that are about ¼-inch thick. If you cut them much thinner than this, they get too soggy while baking.

Avoid using vegetable peeler, as the veggies won’t hold their shape. If you use a mandolin, be sure it is on a thick setting.

Sprinkle with Salt

Lay the zucchini flat on the cutting board and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt.

Let it sit for 20-30 minutes and watch as the magic happens. The salt will draw out the moisture from the zucchini which you can then dab off with paper towels.

Try to do this at least every 5-10 minutes to ensure to remove as much as you can.

Sauté Onion and Meat

While the zucchini strips are resting, it’s time to start on the ground meat and tomato sauce.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add 1 cup of finely diced sweet onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion becomes tender.

Add 3 cloves of finely minced garlic and continue sautéing for an additional 30 seconds.

Push the onion and garlic to the side of the pan. Add 1 pound of ground meat. Remember, the lower the fat content the less liquid that will remain in the sauce.

Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Drain off any excess liquid, if needed. Using a potato masher, mash the meat until it forms fine crumbles.

Simmer the Sauce

Pour in 2 cups of marinara sauce, or a 16 oz. jar, along with salt, black pepper, and a pinch or two of nutmeg. This spice is my secret recipe, it’s so subtle but will give the sauce a lovely depth of flavor.

Stir it all together until it’s well mixed.

It’s really important to allow the sauce to simmer long enough that any excess liquid is cooked off. Otherwise, the lasagna will be watery.

Another option for sauce is this dynamite Bolognese Sauce!

Layer it Up

Once the sauce is done cooking it’s time to layer everything.

Spray a large 9×13 inch baking dish with a bit of non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Use a fork to thoroughly stir everything together.

Pour in a few spoonfuls of the meat sauce onto the bottom of the pan and then layer half of the zucchini slices on top. It’s ok if a few of them overlap.

Spread half of the ricotta mixture over the slices and then top with half of the meat sauce.

Repeat the layers one more time. Zucchini slices, ricotta cheese, and ending with the meat sauce.

Sprinkle a couple of cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese on top.

Bake in the Oven

Cook the uncovered zucchini noodle lasagna in a preheated 375℉ oven for 35-40 minutes. It is done when the vegetables are tender, and the cheese is lightly golden.

Be sure to let it rest at least 10-15 minutes before slicing into it. After cooling slightly, the layers will hold their shape better.

A casserole dish full of zucchini lasagna next to a blue napkin.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: You can make the meat sauce up to one day beforehand. If needed, slice the zucchini into noodles a couple of hours before using and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready.
  • To Store: If there are any leftovers, place them in an air-tight container and leave them in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
  • To Freeze: If you freeze this dish, the texture will be very different upon thawing. It is not recommended.
  • To Reheat: Place lasagna back into a 350℉ oven for 15 minutes until warmed through, or heat individual servings up in the microwave.

Dietary Modifications

The recipe you’ll find below is already low-carb as written.  Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:

  • Gluten-free – Be sure the seasoning mix and pasta sauce you use is gluten-free.
  • Dairy-free – Opt for dairy-free cheese varieties.
You can see healthy layers of zucchini, meat sauce, and cheese.

FAQs

How do you keep zucchini lasagna from being watery?

Before baking, be sure to sprinkle salt on the zucchini noodles. Then, let them rest for about 20 minutes, dabbing away excess moisture.

What do you use to cut zucchini for lasagna?

It is best to use a sharp knife to cut the zucchini. Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler may create pieces that are too thin, resulting in a watery lasagna.

Do you bake zucchini lasagna covered or uncovered?

Traditional lasagna is cooked covered to keep the noodles from drying out. However, there is so much moisture in zucchini noodles that baking the dish uncovered is best.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Same size. Choose zucchini squash that are the same length. This will make layering the lasagna easier and prettier.
  • Use a knife. A sharp knife is the best option for cutting the noodles.
  • Sprinkle it. Pour a little bit of salt on the zucchini slices and let them sit so extra moisture can seep out.
  • Let it simmer. After you make the sauce, cook it on low for an additional 10 minutes until it thickens up.
  • Give it a rest. Before you cut into the baked lasagna, let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
Zucchini lasagna has layers of meat sauce, zucchini, and cheese.

What to Serve with Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna is delicious with any of these side dish options:

More Zucchini Recipes

If you like this zucchini recipe, try one of these options next:

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 3 votes

Zucchini Lasagna (Not Watery)

This Zucchini Lasagna is one of my favorite ways to sneak in extra veggies while still enjoying the cozy, classic Italian flavors we all know and love! With a secret salt trick that ensures you don't end up with a watery mess, and a homemade Italian seasoning mix with SO much flavor — this will soon become a weeknight dinner winner of a dish!
Yield 6 servings
Prep 35 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Total 1 hour 15 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds zucchini about 4-5 medium-sized
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt divided
  • 1 tablespoon oil avocado or olive
  • 1 cup sweet onion finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 pound 90/10 ground beef
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 (16-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg whisked
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh parsley and basil chopped

Instructions 

  • Cut and remove the ends from all of the zucchini. Then, cut each one lengthwise into 4-5 slices about ¼”-thick. Lay the zucchini flat on the cutting board and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. Dab the excess liquid with a paper towel every 5-10 minutes to remove it.
  • In a large skillet add the oil and onion. Sauté over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion becomes tender. Add the garlic and continue sautéing for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Push the onion and garlic to the side of the skillet and add the ground beef. Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Drain off any excess liquid, if needed. Using a potato masher, mash the meat until it forms fine crumbles.
  • Pour in the marinara sauce along with the nutmeg, ¾ teaspoon of salt, and black pepper. Stir together, and then bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While the sauce is simmering, mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Spray a large 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour in a few spoonfuls of the meat sauce and then layer half of the zucchini slices on top. It’s ok if a few of them overlap.
  • Spread the ricotta cheese mixture over the slices and then top with half of the meat sauce. Repeat the layers: zucchini slices, ricotta cheese, ending with the meat sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, uncovered, or until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is lightly golden.
  • Let sit for at least 10-15 minutes before serving with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or basil and enjoy!
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 3 votes

Video

Notes

  • Italian seasoning: this homemade spice blend was used when testing this recipe.
  • Salt: If your seasoning blend has added salt, you may need to adjust the amount of salt used.
  • Slicing: The quickest and easiest way to get even slices is to use a mandoline. If you’re slicing the zucchini by hand, trim one side to create a flat edge, place it flat-side down on the cutting board, and then cut the rest into uniform slices.
  • Removing Moisture: Allow adequate time for the salt to extract as much water as possible. Dab the zucchini multiple times while it sits to ensure a less liquidy, firmer finished product.
  • Storage: These lasagna roll-ups will keep well for up to 3-4 days when stored in the refrigerator. It is not recommended to freeze as you will likely end up with excess moisture upon thawing.

Nutrition

Calories: 492kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 137mg, Sodium: 1187mg, Potassium: 1018mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1221IU, Vitamin C: 35mg, Calcium: 390mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. 5 stars
    I must say this was BETTER than the usual pasta recipe! And using zuccini is so good for you! Thank you so much!

    1. It totally IS so good for you! Honestly, I never even miss the pasta in this one! I just re-tested/photographed this recipe for a cookbook I’m creating that’s coming out in a few months and was still in awe of how delicious it is 🙂