One of my favorite comfort foods is lasagna – layers of pasta filled with cheese on cheese on more cheese. But because of how rich and decadent I like my lasagna, it’s usually more of a special occasion treat than a typical weeknight meal. Last night I found myself wanting the flavors of lasagna but in something a bit lighter. The result was Zucchini Lasagna Roll-ups, and they were delicious. Usually I add meat, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I made a vegetarian version. But I wasn’t the least bit disappointed, and if you’re a meat eater, I promise you won’t be either!
- 2 large zucchini or 4 small zucchini
- 2 cups spinach, finely chopped (measure before chopping)
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped (if using dry, use 1 tbsp)
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 32 oz marinara sauce
- For topping: 1/2 cup ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup parmesan
- Salt and pepper
- Crushed red pepper (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Spread a thin layer of marinara on the bottom of an 8 x 8 pan. (You can use a larger pan – you’ll just have some extra room left.)
- Slice zucchini length-wise into about 1/8-inch slices (preferably with a mandolin). Mine mandolin’s currently in storage, so I just used a knife.
- Lay zucchini slices out paper plates, cooling rack or towels. Sprinkle with salt, let rest for 20 minutes, and repeat on other side. Occasionally pat dry with paper towels. This process will get rid of excess moisture and also make the zucchini more pliable for when you roll them.
- In large bowl, mix ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, spinach, basil, egg, crushed red pepper (optional), salt and pepper, and mix until combined.
- Now you can start the rolling process! Take a slice of zucchini, and spread a thin layer of cheese mixture from edge to edge. Pat down gently. Spoon a thin layer of marinara on top of cheese mixture.
- Very carefully, roll the zucchini as tightly as you can without squeezing too much of the filling out of the sides. (Some of the filling will come out, and that’s perfectly fine!)
- Place the zucchini roll-up vertically in the pan; make sure the seam of the roll-up is pushed up against the edge of the pan or against another roll-up. Sprinkle any of the filling that fell out on top.
- Repeat the process until you’ve rolled up all your zucchini slices. Note: Make sure all the roll-ups are packed together; if not, they won’t keep their shape when baking.
- Sprinkle cheese topping and any remaining marinara on top of the roll-ups, and bake uncovered for 45 minutes.
- Let cool for 10-15 minutes, and serve!
Before shown above
Finished product shown above