I love a good vegetarian lasagna and zucchini squash is the perfect sub for regular lasagna noodles so I decided to make a low-carb, protein packed version using zucchini noodles and tofu.
The one thing about zucchini lasagna is that it can be a little watery, just form the zucchini releasing liquid while it cooks. To combat this a bit, I recommend cooking and patting the zucchini noodles dry before incorporating them into the lasagna. It works like a charm and you’ll end up with a flavorful lasagna that has a little moisture but isn’t super watery!
I will point out that the lasagna ingredients themselves aren’t what give this recipe the flavor — it’s all in the sauce. I made a homemade sauce using this 1-2-3 Pasta Sauce from Edible Perspective as a guide and it was delicious! You can follow the recipe to make your own or simply buy your favorite jarred version. Either way works. Just be sure if you do decide to buy one that you get a good one because having a flavorful sauce is key. My all-time favorite jarred sauce is Rao’s Homemade marinara.
Oh and the cheese… as you can tell, this zucchini lasagna is nice and cheesy thanks to protein-packed cottage cheese, parmesan and mozzarella.
I love large dishes like this because even after having it for dinner one evening (paired with a side salad), we still had enough left over for additional meals. It actually tasted even more flavorful the next day because all the sauce had been absorbed. And I don’t know if I’m the only one that likes leftover pizza and pasta dishes cold, but this tasted really good straight from the fridge to me. 🙂
24ozjar of your favorite store-bought sauce or homemade sauce, I love Rao’s Homemade
1cup1% cottage cheese, I used the Friendship Brand
1/2teaspoonsea salt + more to taste
1/4teaspoonground pepper + more to taste
1/4cupparmigiano reggiano/parmesean cheese, grated or shredded
1 16ozpackage of extra firm tofu, I love Twin Oaks Tofu
1cuppart-skim mozzarella cheese
Drain tofu and press to extract as much liquid as possible. If you don’t own a tofu press, you can use the DIY method. Simply wrap the tofu in 1-2 paper towels, the wrap an absorbent kitchen towel around it. Place on a cutting board and top with another cutting board, a plate or another flat surface. Place a heavy object, like cookbooks or canned food on top. You want something heavy so it really presses into the tofu and removes the excess moisture. Let the tofu sit like this for 30 minutes or up to a few hours. The longer you let it sit, the more liquid you’ll remove!
pray a large casserole dish (I’ve used a 3 1/2 quart casserole dish as well as a 9X13 baking dish ) with non-stick spray.
Chop off ends of the zucchini. Using a mandolin slicer, thinly slice lengthwise into 1/8 inch strips. If you don’t have a mandolin, simply slice them lengthwise and try to make sure they are similar in width. These strips will be your lasagna noodles.
Boil a pot of water, large enough to fit all your zucchini slices. Once boiling, place zucchini slices in the water and cook for about 4 minutes. Pour zucchini slices and water into a strainer and let the zucchini cool while draining off as much liquid as possible. Carefully place zucchini strips on paper towel or an absorbent kitchen towel to soak up any access liquid. The zucchini noodles will be hot and fragile so do this step carefully, but don’t skip it!
In a small bowl mix together the cottage cheese and egg whites. Add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper and mix well.
In another bowl or pot, crumble pressed tofu and add marinara sauce. Mix together and give the marinara a taste to see how flavorful it is. If needed, you can add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder or additional spices to give the marinara more flavor!
At this point you’ll want to preheat your oven to 425°F.
Start layering your ingredients: Spread a thin layer of the tofu marinara sauce (about 1/2 of your sauce) on the bottom of your greased baking dish, then add a layer of zucchini lasagna noodles to evenly cover the sauce. Next, evenly spread a layer of the cottage cheese mixture (half of your mixture) over the zucchini. Sprinkle on half of the parmesan cheese.
Top with another layer of tofu marinara sauce, then zucchini noodles. Top with another layer of the cottage cheese mixture then mozzarella cheese and remaining parmesan cheese. Sprinkle top of lasagna with additional salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20-25 more minutes, a total of 45-50 minutes. Lasagna is done when bubbly and all the cheese has melted and started to brown a little.
Remove from oven, let cool 5-10 minutes, cut and enjoy. Serve with passed parmesan cheese, if desired.