I love lasagna. Not as much as, say, Garfield but it is high on my list of comfort foods (with mashed potatoes still holding strong at #1). My life has been lacking in the lasagna department since I cut gluten, dairy and sugar out of my diet, so I was determined to create a delicious and nutritious version. This gluten free lasagna recipe uses thinly sliced zucchini in place of pasta noodles and goat cheese as an alternative to the ricotta and mozzarella cheese. The goat cheese adds a tangy kick to the dish and pairs unexpectedly well with the sauce. While I use meat sauce, this recipe can also easily be adapted to a meatless version for my vegetarian friends. Gluten free, no refined sugar, no cow dairy and a vegetarian option?! Sign me up!
I've had three favorite sources of lasagna in my life - my mom, my aunt and my friend, Jen C (formerly Jen T). While I dearly miss theirs I am thrilled to have this alternative. I am even more thrilled that Dave has recently become obsessed with this no noodle lasagna and would eat it every night if he could. I always feel productive when I can sneak some healthy veggies, vitamins and nutrients into a dish that tastes too rich and cheesy to be good for you. #feelingcheesy
Note: this recipe has been updated since it was originally posted. After making this twice in one week for two Christmas dinners with family, I have increased the serving size and added yellow squash to the mix. Despite the fact that its camera shy (or just incredibly stubborn) or its inability to be served in one, beautiful piece, it continues to be a crowdpleaser so you absolutely must try it. Just be sure to warn your guests that it tastes much better than it looks :) Mangia!
Serves: 6 to 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Fresh From the Market:
- 3 Large Zucchini
- 2 Large Yellow Squash
- 8 oz. Chevre (Goat Cheese)
- 18 slices Dutch Goat Cheese
For the Meat (or Meatless Option) Tomato Sauce:
- 2 c. Bolognese Sauce - refer to ingredients listed in my Bolognese Sauce Recipe
- Mandoline or Slicer
- Lasagna Baking Dish - Pyrex or Corningware
- Large Baking Sheet
Get ready to multitask! I will be honest - there is a bit of prep work but once you pop it in the oven to bake, the aroma and taste totally pay off!
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
- Next, follow the first 4 steps for the Bolognese Sauce (if you make the meatless option, only follow the 3rd and 4th steps). Tip: if you are able to plan ahead, it would be ideal to make the sauce ahead of time and freeze it.
- While the sauce is simmering (step 4), turn your attention to the yellow and green squash. As always, wash and dry your veggies.
- Set your mandoline to slice 1/8 in. pieces of the zucchini and squash. Any larger and it will be too thick to cut through with your fork. Any smaller and the zucchini will dry out. I highly suggest you use a mandoline or slice to not only make it easier, but to measure the slices precisely.
- Once the veggies are sliced, pop them on a baking sheet and set in the oven for 10 minutes. You will do this for two reasons. 1 - it will help drain some of the water from the squash so your lasagna is not too watery. 2 - it will give it some structure to act as strong as a pasta noodle.
- While the zucchini bakes, measure your chevre and Dutch goat cheese servings for quick and easy use. Put the chevre in a dish and mix it for easy application when layering.
- Once the zucchini is baked (or even grilled), blot each piece between two paper towels to take some of the water out.
- Measure the 2 c. of bolognese or meatless sauce. Then stash the rest in a mason jar for the fridge or freezer and have it over gluten free quinoa pasta for another tasty, simple dish.
- Now get ready to layer your lasagna! Don't forget to cover the bottom of the dish with bolognese or tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish to avoid a sticky, burnt mess.
- Start with a layer of zucchini. Gently spread the chevre across the zucchini with a rubber spatula. The cheese can stick to the zucchini and cause it to shift around so navigate this step carefully. Spoon the sauce over the chevre until it is completely covered. Top with 6 slices of Dutch goat cheese.
- Repeat 2x for a delicious 3 layer tower of lasagna. For the second layer, swap in the yellow squash.
- Pop this baby in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your oven's temperament. Mine is stubborn and tends to take longer. Check on it periodically and remove some excess water with a turkey baster or a spoon, if needed. You will see it rise up on the sides of the dish.
- You will know when it is ready! The smell of goat cheese will fill your kitchen and the sides of the dish will start to look a little burnt. Note that the Dutch goat cheese slices don't melt and burn the same way mozzarella cheese does so be careful not to burn the entire zucchini lasagna!
- Take it out and let it sit for 5 minutes. Carefully slice and serve, though I will warn you - it will most likely fall apart anyway (as proven by my pictures)! Lasagna is messy, whether you make it with pasta or zucchini :)
Oh, and this is obviously Holly Approved.
Have leftover zucchini? Make some Gluten Free Baked Zucchini Sticks for a fun football, kid-friendly or weekend brunch snack.