Spicy Zucchini Lasagne

Another holiday is among us that has all food lovers rejoicing. Yes, today is National Lasagna Day!  There is only one way to celebrate this holiday by to enjoying one of the best casserole type meals there is (sorry to shepard’s pie).


It’s still swimsuit season so I’d thought it would be fun to whip up a more-waistline friendly version of this otherwise gut busting meal.  Simple swap outs such as zucchini for noodles, ground turkey for beef & skim-milk cheese reduce the calories, leaving behind all of the flavor and joy that comes with LASAGNE. Of course if you don’t care for all that health junk,  just use regular ol’ lasagne noodles.

My mom has always made her lasagne with spinach mixed in with the ricotta mixture, and occasionally makes the pasta sauce a little bit spicy. Maybe I was spoiled growing up, but I wouldn’t dream of making my lasagne any other way. It’s gotta have a little kick to it.

*Tip: If you’re really crunched for time, or just a bit lazy, you can buy a jar of arribiatta pasta sauce as a substitute for steps (5 & 6).  Just add to the cooked turkey & wine mixture.

RECIPE OVERVIEW


In a large saucepan over medium high heat, sauté onions in the olive oil, cooking until slightly translucent.

Add in ground turkey & minced garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Spicy Zucchini Lasagne

Once the turkey meat has browned, add in red pepper flakes, sugar, basil & tomato paste.

Spicy Zucchini Lasagne

Pour in wine, then the crushed tomatoes. Cook until sauce is thick and fragrant. (aprox. 15 minutes).  Adjust the seasoning (mainly salt if needed).

pour in the wine for Spicy Zucchini Lasagne

In a medium sized bowl combine the ricotta, spinach, egg, & parmesan. Season with a pinch of salt & pepper.

*Tip: For either defrosted or steamed spinach, be sure to squeeze out any extra liquid BEFORE adding to the ricotta mixture.

Ricotta Mixture for Spicy Zucchini Lasagne

Layer the lasagne starting with 1 cup of sauce to cover the bottom, then add the 1st layer of zucchini.

1st zucchini layer for Spicy Zucchini Lasagne

Follow with half of the ricotta mix, then 1 (~ 1 1/4) cups of sauce.  Add the 2nd zucchini layer and repeat this step using the remainder of the ricotta.

*Tip: Use a rubber spatula to spread the the cheese in order not to mess up the layers.

ricotta layer for Spicy Zucchini Lasagne

For the final layer, lay the remainder of zucchini, followed by the remainder of the sauce.

Arrange the mozzarella & cherry tomatoes.  Loosely cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

cheese & tomatoes for Spicy Zucchini Lasagne

Remove the foil and allow to cook for and additional 5-7 minutes until the top is lightly browned and bubbly.

Once removed from the oven, immediately garnish with a few small basil leaves.

 

Buon Appetito!

 

Spicy Zucchini Lasagne
Recipe TypeMains
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Uwale Kiano Moju
Ingredients
  • 3 zucchini, trimmed of ends cut into thin ribbons, seasoned with a pinch of salt
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups fresh spinach (measured, then steam or sauté) (2 cups frozen)
  • 1 egg
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 12 oz low-moisture mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1- 24 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes (depends on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, sauté onions in the olive oil, cooking until slightly translucent.
  3. Add in ground turkey & minced garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Once the turkey meat has browned, add in red pepper flakes, sugar, basil & tomato paste.
  5. Pour in wine, then the crushed tomatoes.
  6. Cook until sauce is thick and fragrant. (aprox. 15 minutes). Adjust the seasoning (mainly salt if needed).
  7. In a medium sized bowl combine the ricotta, spinach, egg, & parmesan. Season with a pinch of salt & pepper.
  8. *Tip: For either defrosted or steamed spinach, be sure to squeeze out any extra liquid BEFORE adding to the ricotta mixture.
  9. Layer the lasagne starting with 1 cup of sauce to cover the bottom, then add the 1st layer of zucchini.
  10. Follow with half of the ricotta mix, then 1 (~ 1 1/4) cups of sauce. Add the 2nd zucchini layer and repeat this step using the remainder of the ricotta.
  11. For the final layer, lay the remainder of zucchini, followed by the remainder of the sauce.
  12. Arrange the mozzarella & cherry tomatoes. Loosely cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  13. Remove the foil and allow to cook for and additional 10-15 minutes until the top is lightly browned and bubbly.
  14. Once removed from the oven, immediately garnish with a few small basil leaves.

 

Kiano Moju

Founder

Founder of Culinary Inspo. Kiano is a California raised foodie with a big travel bug and even bigger appetite to explore the world's food and cultures.

12 Comments
  1. Looks fabulous, and I love the way you present the mozzarella and tomatoes on top, but now I’m craving lasagna. I should never comment on stuff before I eat.

    1. I feel the same way about looking at any food that I currently can’t have. The internet is full of food torture.

  2. Kiano,
    I think your photo of egg/spinach/cheese is a work of art–and that’s just an ingredient shot. Wow! The lasagna sounds delicious, but it begs the question–what weirdo designated a hot summer day Lasagna Day? Ought to be in February if you ask me!

    1. Thats Kirsten! It is a weirdly placed holiday. It seems like it would be considered a fall/winter time comfort food

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