I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love lasagna. Layers of pasta, savory tomato sauce, seasoned meat, melted cheese – what’s not to like?
I do, however, know many people like myself who look for ways to lighten up their favorite comfort food dishes like lasagna. There are so many ways to do this, and my favorite method is to use a vegetable base as a swap for the pasta. My Loaded Portabello Pizzas, Zucchini Skillet Lasagna, and Spicy Fusilli Pasta with Tomato + Cream all support this! Is this exactly like a traditional lasagna? No, of course not. Is it delicious and satisfying in it’s own right, feeding my craving? Yes.
One of the most important parts of this recipe is salting the zucchini ahead of time to draw out the moisture. Zucchini is full of water, and releasing some of that prior to baking will give you a sturdy yet tender base rather than a zucchini boat and watered down sauce. Don’t skip this step!
“what else can I use?”
I sometimes use ground dark meat turkey here instead of beef, and have omitted the meat altogether for a vegetarian option.
- Zucchini or yellow squash works well for these boats, as would eggplant. Again, just be sure to salt it ahead of time.
Zucchini Lasagna Boats (Low Carb, Gluten Free)
- Large saute pan
- Large rimmed baking sheet
- 4 medium zucchini, quartered
- 1 lb ground beef (ground turkey can be substituted)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 4-6 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 cups tomato sauce (homemade or jarred)
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Scoop out the interior of the zucchini quarters with a small spoon.
- Using 1 Tbsp of salt, salt the cut sides of the zucchini and place cut side down. Set aside while you continue with the recipe.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
- When hot, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, garlic and oregano and cook, stirring, for one minute.
- Add ground beef and cook, stirring only occasionally, for 5-7 minutes under nicely browned and no longer pink. Salt with 1-2 teaspoons of salt. Taste it and see how much you want.
- Add tomato sauce, mix together, and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.
- Pat zucchini quarters dry with a paper towel on all sides. The salt will have drawn out some of the moisture. Rub the zucchini all over with the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil.
- Fill each zucchini boat with a few tablespoons of the meat mixture and place on large, lined baking sheets.. Be generous.
- Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Cover the baking sheets with tin foil and bake for 30-40 minutes until the zucchini is soft and stuffing is bubbling.
- Remove the tin foil cover, turn the oven to broil, and broil for 5 minutes to brown the cheese.
- Remove from oven, top with fresh basil, and allow zucchini to sit for 10 minutes before serving.