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Happy zucchini season! I have to admit, I’ve kind of been waiting all year to share this keto zucchini lasagna recipe with meat. I first made it shortly after my eggplant lasagna last summer, but haven’t had the chance to share until now.
You’re going to love this version of low carb zucchini lasagna. It’s made with pesto for a slightly different twist! And as always, I have tips and tricks to make this easy zucchini lasagna recipe a staple in your dinner rotation.
Ingredients for Easy Keto Zucchini Lasagna
The ingredients for keto zucchini lasagna are super simple:
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Ground beef
- Basil pesto
- Ricotta cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
They are very similar to my eggplant lasagna recipe, and even lasagna stuffed spaghetti squash boats. But unlike those, and probably most zucchini lasagna recipes, I used pesto instead of marinara.
I haven’t quite decided which sauce makes the best zucchini lasagna, as both are awesome. Feel free to use either one that you like!
If you are using pesto, you can make your own macadamia nut pesto in only 2 minutes, or just buy any pesto you like. Just watch out for fillers like flour and potato flakes if you want to stick to a low carb zucchini lasagna.
Some versions of zucchini lasagna recipes are really just regular pasta lasagna that has zucchini in the filling. That’s not what this is – we’re going for a low carb zucchini lasagna with meat!
So, you want to make the lasagna with zucchini noodles instead of pasta. And, I truly don’t miss the pasta in this one, because it has all the same flavors without the carbs.
I tried this easy zucchini lasagna recipe with and without egg. Both ways work, but the egg really helps to hold the ricotta and parmesan mixture together.
How To Make Zucchini Lasagna Noodles
If you’re not sure how to make zucchini lasagna noodles, it’s super easy! Just use a mandoline slicer. I have a different one that is hard to find now, but they all work similarly. If I were to purchase one now, I’d get a multi-purpose mandoline slicer like this.
To use the mandoline, place the zucchini length wise along the mandoline, then skewer the slicing guard into it. This will ensure that you don’t cut yourself.
Then, place the mandoline so that the taller side is near you and the tool goes outward away from you. Holding onto the slicing guard, run the zucchini in an outward motion away from you, toward the blade.
The thin zucchini lasagna noodles will fall down below. Move them out of the way if the area gets too crowded.
Tips For How To Make Zucchini Lasagna
Other than making lasagna noodles, the process for keto zucchini lasagna is not too different from any other lasagna. Except that, of course, lasagna made with zucchini is much more nutritious and healthy than its pasta counterpart.
For preparation, the main difference is that you have to roast the zucchini slices first. This ensures that they will be cooked through, and also helps get rid of moisture. You don’t want a watery end result.
You can brown the beef and make the meat sauce while the zucchini is roasting. Then, assemble the layers and bake to finish. It takes several steps, but they are all easy!
Here are a few tips that can help with this particular low carb zucchini lasagna recipe…
1. Don’t overdo the olive oil on the zucchini noodles.
We want them to somewhat dry out during the roasting process, so that the zucchini lasagna doesn’t end up wet. If there is too much oil, the water doesn’t escape as well from the zucchini. Just a light amount of oil is fine.
2. Arrange the zucchini in a single layer.
Make sure the pieces don’t overlap, because this will trap moisture. And, don’t forget to pat them dry at the end. Here they are after roasting and drying:
3. Don’t salt the beef.
This is different from almost every other recipe that required cooked ground beef. Pesto and cheeses are all already salty, plus we are salting the zucchini lightly to help get rid of moisture during roasting. The meat doesn’t need extra salt.
4. Dollop the ricotta/parmesan mixture in small pieces.
This part can be a little challenging to spread, so small pieces make it easier. If you dump it all in one spot in the center, it will be more difficult. The mixture does go into the ground beef below a little as you spread, which is okay. It should look like this before adding the shredded mozzarella:
Make Ahead Low Carb Zucchini Lasagna
There are two ways to make this keto zucchini lasagna recipe ahead of time. Either keep it in the fridge for a few days ahead, or freeze for longer.
Whether you want to just meal prep this for the week ahead or freeze for sometime further in the future, the process is the same. Follow the instructions for how to make zucchini lasagna on the recipe card below.
The only step that you will not do is the final fifteen minutes in the oven at the end. Instead, cover the casserole dish with foil, and place in either the fridge or freezer.
When you are ready to heat the gluten-free zucchini lasagna from the fridge or freezer, it can go straight into the oven. You’ll want to do it at 350 degrees instead of 400, so that the entire dish has the chance to heat through before the cheese on top browns.
Your low carb zucchini lasagna ready when it’s hot, but if the cheese hasn’t browned by then, you can place it under the broiler for a couple of minutes if you’d like. Alternatively, if your cheese starts to brown but the bottom is still cold, loosely tent the top with foil and continue baking until it’s hot enough.
Low Carb Keto Zucchini Lasagna Recipe with Meat and Pesto:
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More Low Carb Recipes To Love
Low Carb Keto Zucchini Lasagna Recipe with Meat & Pesto - No Noodles
Delicious low carb keto zucchini lasagna with meat & pesto! This easy zucchini lasagna recipe includes lots of TIPS, plus freezing & make ahead instructions. No noodles needed!
RECIPE VIDEOClick or tap on the image below to play the video. It's the easiest way to learn how to make this recipe!
Click underlined ingredients to buy them!
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- 1 lb Zucchini (about 3 medium)
- 3 tbsp Olive oil (divided into 2 tbsp and 1 tbsp)
- Sea salt
- 4 cloves Garlic (minced)
- 2 lb Ground beef
- 2 cup Basil pesto (use a nut-free one for a nut-free dish)
- 12 oz Ricotta cheese (full-fat)
- 1/2 cup Grated parmesan cheese
- 3 cup Mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 1 large Egg
RECIPE TIPS + VIDEO in the post above, nutrition info + recipe notes below!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Use a mandolin to slice zucchini lengthwise into thin sheets, about 1/4 inch thick.
Arrange the zucchini on the lined baking sheet, in a single layer. Brush both sides with olive oil (use about 2 tablespoons), then sprinkle both sides lightly with sea salt.
Roast the zucchini slices in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until soft and mostly dry.
When done, remove the zucchini from the oven but leave it on at 400. Pat the zucchini with paper towels to soak up any extra water or oil.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a saute pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for 30-60 seconds, until fragrant.
Add the ground beef. Cook for about 10 minutes, until browned. Stir in the pesto sauce and remove from heat. Taste and adjust salt/pepper if needed. (Depending on the pesto you use, it may be enough as is.)
Meanwhile, stir together the ricotta and parmesan cheeses. Stir in the egg.
Arrange a layer of zucchini slices at the bottom of a 9x13 glass casserole dish. Top with half of the meat sauce. Dollop small pieces of the ricotta cheese mixture, (using half of the total amount), then spread. Finally top with half of the shredded mozzarella. Repeat the layers a second time, with shredded mozzarella last on top.
Bake for 15 minutes, until the cheese on top is melted and golden. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.
Serving size: 1/12 of the large casserole dish (1/12 of entire recipe)
- Nutrition info is based on this macadamia nut basil pesto and will vary depending on which one you use.
Video Showing How To Make Zucchini Lasagna:
Don't miss the VIDEO above - it's the easiest way to learn how to make Zucchini Lasagna!
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Carb count excludes sugar alcohols. Net carb count excludes both fiber and sugar alcohols, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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