Zucchini lasagna is my take on a vegetarian lasagna that you’ll want to make all year long!Jump to Recipe
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Zucchini are one of the few vegetables in Italy that you can find year-round, so it’s the obvious choice for a vegetarian lasagna!
To be clear, this isn’t a lasagna with zucchini instead of pasta noodles. It has both because we can love both vegetables AND pasta. I don’t believe in depriving myself.
Like my white lasagna, this uses a bechamel sauce rather than layers of ricotta. This is the more traditional Italian preparation, and I think it tastes a million times better! Plus the creamy texture makes the dish. Try it once, and you may be like me and never go back to ricotta as the creamy element.
Don’t let the idea of lasagna intimidate you – this one comes together in about an hour, including baking time. So it’s not necessarily a weeknight dish, but it’s not like it takes a whole day to make. Give yourself 10 minutes for the bechamel, then layer and bake!
You can cut the zucchini by hand if you want, but a mandoline makes the job a breeze. It also ensures that the slices are the same thickness, which is crucial for getting them to cook evenly. I cut the zucchini to
I make lasagna with fresh pasta sheets. If you can find them, use them – I think you can tell a difference in the texture. But if you can’t, grab a box and follow the package instructions as to whether they need to be pre-boiled or not.
You may notice that I’ve included sausage as an optional ingredient. Ergo, not quite vegetarian lasagna. But the sausage is optional – I’ve had it both ways and each are filling and delicious, so do whatever sounds best to you! Either way, the sausage is more of a flavor addition than a major ingredient. If you skip the sausage, add more salt to the bechamel (noted in the recipe below).
This recipe makes enough for 6-8 servings. I make it in a 6×9 inch baking dish, but you can really use whatever you have on hand. I like this size for lasagna because it makes plenty of leftovers but not so much that you get tired of eating long before it’s gone.
First, make the bechamel and brown sausage if you’re using it.
Have all the layers ready before you begin!
Tools you’ll need: mandoline, 6×9 inch baking dish, saucepan, and grater.
For the bechamel sauce (besciamella)
- 7 Tbsp unsalted butter (100 g)
- 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 tsp salt (more if not using sausage)
- 2 dashes white pepper
For the lasagna
- 10 oz lasagna noodles (280 g)
- 9 oz mozzarella (255 g)
- 8 oz sausage (225 g) optional
- 3 medium zucchini
- 2 oz parmesan (50 g)
- First, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
For the bechamel sauce:
- Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a medium pot. When it’s frothy, add the flour.
- Stir until thickened, then add milk. Stir gently but continuously until it's thickened, between 5-10 minutes. Don't turn the heat too high so it doesn't burn the bottom of the pan.
- When it's beginning to thicken, add the salt and pepper. (If you're not using sausage, add an extra ½ teaspoon of salt.) Stir to combine and remove from heat.
For the lasagna:
- Prep your ingredients: prep the lasagna sheets according to package instructions. Brown the sausage and break up into small bits.
- Slice the zucchini into ⅛ inch strips lengthwise using a mandolin. Shred the parmesan. If using fresh mozzarella balls, dice. If using a block, shred.
- Build your lasagna: cover the bottom of a dish with a layer of bechamel.
- Add a layer of lasagna noodles, bechamel, mozzarella, sausage, and zucchini. Repeat 4-5 times.
- To finish it, add another layer of bechamel, then top with mozzarella and parmesan.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then switch the oven to broil and cook 5-8 minutes more. When the top looks browned and bubbly, it's done!
If you want more Italian pasta dishes, try carbonara, zucchini pasta, creamy lemon pasta, or Tuscan sausage soup!