I’ve found one of the best things about having a toddler is the random things they say. More often than not, Mack is making up something silly or playing pretend. One of his more recent pretend play has involved food. He pretends to ‘pick’ food and it’s anything from broccoli to chocolate ice cream. I’ve decided that when I can, I’m going to turn his ideas into recipes.
Enter this zucchini lasagna. He picked ‘green lasagna’ and I took it upon myself to create a delicious, green lasagna. I’m not a big fan of using zucchini as noodles and would rather have it as a vegetable. However, you could replace the noodles for slices of zucchini- it’s up to you. There’s a lot of goodness packed into this zucchini lasagna!
Zucchini Pesto Lasagna
A filling summer lasagna using homemade kale pesto as the sauce and sliced zucchini to bulk up the recipe.
- 1/4 pound zucchini,cut into 1/4” thick rounds
- 1/4 cup minced scallions (through the greens)
- 1 cup whole milk Ricotta
- 2 cups packed kale leaves, stems removed (2 ounces)
- 1 cup packed basil (1 ounce)
- 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 sheets of cooked whole wheat lasagna noodles (see note)
- 2 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Slice the zucchini in ¼” thick rounds. Place in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon or so of salt. Toss to coat then let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse then pat dry.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and have an ice bath ready. Add the kale and basil to the boiling water and blanch for 60 seconds. Transfer to an ice bath. Once cool, remove and squeeze out all excess liquid. Place the kale/basil in a blender or food processor along with remaining ingredients for the pesto. Puree until mostly smooth.
- Get ready to assemble the lasagna. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Mix ⅓ of the pesto into the ricotta cheese. Of the remaining pesto, using ⅓ in the bottom of the pan. Layer a lasagna noodle over the pesto followed by ⅓ of the ricotta mixture, zucchini, and scallions.
- Repeat until you have only one noodle left. Lay the noodle on top and spread the remaining pesto over the noodle and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese to finish. Bake until the lasagna is bubbling and the cheese is browning, 30 or so minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
Tips & Tricks: The whole wheat lasagna noodles I buy are a big larger than the traditional store-bought lasagna. This is why I use a bread pan. Feel free to use a pan of a similar size that fits your noodles better.
Nutrition: see the information.
There’s a reason I included lasagna as a base recipe in The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen– it’s easy to adapt. With this zucchini lasagna, you could go back to a more traditional lasagna with marinara or stuff more vegetables into the mix- it’s up to you!
Marinara: For a more traditional lasagna, replace the pesto with marinara. You could also do this and still use a smaller amount of pesto still mixed into the ricotta.
Cheese: I usually keep my lasagna cheese fairly straight forward. However, you could use any type of cheese you might have on hand. Gouda, havarti, and fontina are a few of my favorites.
Pesto: I love this updated pesto that I’ve adapted from this recipe. You could easily use traditional pesto too.
I’ve always found the idea of ‘too much zucchini’ to be false in my kitchen- I can never have too much. I’ll happily take any or all of this summer produce and turn it into quick bread or fritters. Of course, that’s just the start. A few of my other favorite zucchini recipes: