What’s better than cozying up with a warm bowl of comfort food during the cooler time of the year? Nothing. Which is exactly why you need to try this oozy, cheesy and delicious gluten-free zucchini lasagna! Ribbons of zucchini replace starchy noodles for a light and fresh alternative. I only use a ½-pound of ground beef because I like to ease up on the meat to make the dish healthier (but if you’re a meat lover, just add more!). Vegetarian? Omit the ground beef and add extra veggies in your sauté. If you have some red peppers available, consider adding some rings between the layers. I also like to use fresh bocconcini cheese, but if you prefer mozzarella, use that. The key here is to make it your own! —Erin Sousa
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- 2 stocks celery
- 1 large carrot
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ½ lb ground beef (organic if you can)
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup cottage or ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 large zucchini or 2 small zucchinis
- 2 cups bocconcini cheese
- salt, pepper and crushed chili flakes to taste
WHAT YOU’LL DO
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large sauté pan, sauté the onion, carrot and celery (this threesome combo is called a Mirepoix) until soft and then add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Add ground beef and let it cook through. Pour in your can of crushed tomatoes and a squeeze of tomato paste (this gives a beautiful richness). Reduce to low heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the cottage cheese or ricotta and egg, seasoning with salt and pepper. Using a mandolin, cut your ribbons of zucchini—if you don’t have a mandolin, use a knife and cut the zucchini lengthwise. We’re going for thin, ¼-inch thick ribbons.
Now, you’re ready to assemble! Spread a ½ cup of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13×2½-inch baking dish. Layer the zucchini ribbons over the sauce and then spread a ½ cup of the cottage cheese or ricotta mixture over the zucchini. Next, sprinkle with 1 cup of the bocconcini and flaked sea salt and crushed red pepper chili flakes to taste. Repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients for a total of three layers, finishing with the meat sauce and bocconcini.
Place the dish, uncovered, into your 375-degree oven and cook for approximately 45 minutes, or until the cheese on top is bubbly and golden. Note: the zucchini contains a lot of water, so allow the dish to cool and set for 20 to 30 minutes before you cut into it to serve. Finish with fresh curls of parmesan cheese and enjoy!