I’ve been eating entirely too much pasta lately. Like, it’s out of control. Much of it has to do with being on the go, but there’s still no real excuse to carb out for multiple days in a row like that. A friend mentioned their love of lasagne a few weeks back, and I thought, is there any possible way to make that even remotely healthy without sacrificing taste? Enter zucchini. Sturdy, meaty and mainly water, zucchini serves as a great pasta replacement - a julienne peeler can make the squash mimic spaghetti, and thick slices of the veggie can be fried to make a chip healthier and tastier than its potato counterpart. The possibilities are endless!
No lasagne is complete without a proper stuffing, so I incorporated swiss chard for fiber and mushrooms for meatiness. As for the sauce, I used Trader Joe’s Tomato and Basil Marinara, but I recommend using any flavored tomato-based pasta sauce - if it’s already flavored, the dish will require less ingredients! Since this is practically a complete meal in one, you don’t really need a side - maybe a light salad to add some crunch.
As I mentioned before, zucchini is mostly water. This means that it will also get super watery when hit with any sort of seasoning. A lot of recipes recommend blanching or baking the zucchini, but double-cooking it removes double the nutrients, so I salted them beforehand and let them render their own moisture.
This dish serves 2 really hungry diners or 4 people who “could use a bite.” That is to say, I ate a square while the BF ate practically the whole pan, so it’s a bit difficult to gauge. Ha.
2 medium zucchinis, sliced lengthwise into 1/4” pieces
heaping 2c. swiss chard, roughly torn
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
5 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 c. + 2 tbsp. marinara
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 c. fat-free ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 c. grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
3/4 c. grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp. butter + 2 tbsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lay zucchini slices on a plate or cooling rack and sprinkle on both sides with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to render excess water, then pat dry with a towel. In the meantime, add butter and olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute until tender, another 3 minutes. Add chard and saute until wilted and excess water has evaporated, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 c. marinara.
- In a separate bowl, combine beaten egg, ricotta, pecorino, herbs and spices.
- Spread remaining 2 tbsp. marinara in the bottom of a small, oven-safe pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with zucchini slices. Spread 1/2 c. ricotta mixture over zucchini. Top with a layer of marinara mixture. Repeat this step once. Top last layer of zucchini with dollops of remaining ricotta mixture and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese is brown and bubbling. Let rest for 15 minutes and serve.