Finally, lasagna that's both delicious AND healthy! Zucchini Lasagna Rolls feature zucchini in place of pasta, homemade tofu ricotta, and low sodium marinara sauce that's full of flavor, all baked to perfection and topped with fresh basil.
Lasagna is one of those things - it's comforting and delicious, and it's a "stick-to-your-ribs" kind of meal. But traditional lasagna is not something we should eat all the time. It's high in sodium, thanks to the cheese and sauce, often high in saturated fat (due to the cheese and ground beef), and low in fiber.
My Zucchini Lasagna Rolls are a fun take on the classic dish, that also takes the nutrition up several notches! In my version, I've replaced the traditional lasagna noodles with slices of zucchini. Both noodles and zucchini have a more neutral flavor, so it's a substitution that doesn't change the flavor a lot. Zucchini adds much needed fiber to the dish, as well as cuts the carbohydrate amount (a heart healthy diet isn't inherently a low carb diet, but should be low in refined carbs - like white pasta).
Another important difference I've made is to replace the cheese with a homemade tofu ricotta. It's easy to make, and cuts the sodium and saturated fat considerably, while still keeping it high in protein. We use a variety of herbs with nutritional yeast to keep the flavor of the cheese, and tofu is a dead ringer for ricotta cheese with a quick blitz in the food processor! I also made a Low Sodium Marinara Sauce from scratch to go with this. It's easy to make, and only takes about 15 minutes, but if you want to use a store bought sauce, the linked recipe article also lists some name brands that are low in sodium.
Tips and Substitutions
Sure. Look for whole grain noodles, and cook them according to the package directions before rolling them with the filling.
Absolutely! In the post Low Sodium Spaghetti Sauce, I name specific brands that are lower in sodium and healthier than the majority on the market!
Nutritional yeast can be found in most larger grocery stores, and specialty stores. It's typical found in the baking aisle or wherever your store keeps the Bob's Red Mill products. There are many different brands available. Online retailers (like Amazon) also carry it. It adds a delicious cheesy flavor to this dish, but is optional if you can't find it.
I tried this, and the short answer is yes. You can use the zucchini raw, but the cooking time isn't enough to cook the zucchini all the way through, so it ends up being a bit crunchy. If you like it that way, great! But to make it more similar to actual lasagna, you'll want to cook it a bit. I did it in the microwave in the casserole dish to reduce the amount of pots and pans to wash, but you could also boil it in water for a few minutes until it's soft.
I recommend using a mandolin slicer to get the zucchini uniformly thin. If you don't have one, use a sharp knife, and cut carefully and slowly. You may end up with slices that aren't quite as thin or uniform, but it will still taste great!
If you make Zucchini Lasagna Rolls, be sure to tell me in the comments!
I recommend pairing this with my Deconstructed Pesto Herb Salad!
Zucchini Lasagna Rolls (dairy free)
Finally, lasagna that's both delicious AND healthy! This version features zucchini in place of pasta, a homemade tofu ricotta, and low sodium marinara sauce that's full of flavor, all baked to perfection and topped with fresh basil.
- 1 medium Zucchini, sliced lengthwise into at least 10 thin strips, about ⅛ inch thick
- 2 teaspoon Olive Oil
- ½ large Onion, yellow or red, chopped small
- 1 Garlic clove, minced
- ¼ teaspoon each Salt and Pepper
- 14 oz Firm or Extra Firm Tofu
- 3 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
- 2 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Recipe Marinara Sauce (or jarred sauce of choice)
- Fresh Basil, sliced thin, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Layer zucchini slices in 9x13 baking dish (not metal) and cover with water. Microwave on high about 10 minutes or until softened, but not mushy.
Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoon olive oil in a small skillet, and saute onion, garlic, salt and pepper until they begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes.
Crumble tofu into a food processor, and add nutritional yeast, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, olive oil, and sauteed onion/garlic mixture.
Pulse until the mixture resembles ricotta cheese.
Remove the now-softened zucchini from the water, carefully, and discard water.
Pour 1 cup Marinara sauce into the bottom of the baking dish.
Assemble the lasagna rolls, by scooping 2-3 Tablespoons of tofu filling onto each zucchini slice. Spread to cover. Gently roll the zucchini and place into baking dish with the seam side down.
Repeat with remaining zucchini slices.
Pour ½ - ⅔ of remaining sauce over the zucchini rolls.
Bake, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, until the tofu filling begins to brown.
Serve hot, with sliced basil and extra sauce.
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