I haven’t talked about it a lot yet, but in recent history I have been on a new journey when it comes to my health. I have been seeing a functional nutrition doctor, and he’s put me on a supplemental regimen and has suggested areas where I needed to change my diet in order to improve my overall health. I will definitely share more about my functional health journey as I go along.

One of the areas where I needed to make a change was sugars. Not sugars from sweets, because I really don’t eat a lot of sweets or junk food. The sugars that were causing my body harm were sugars from carbs. Breads and pastas.

I thought this would be really hard. I love pasta. And I love bread. Or, I did, rather. But its funny how once you set your mind to something, you really can do it. It wasn’t hard at all. And it’s enabled me to explore and be more creative in my cooking. For example, when we were hosting family members for dinner the other night and I decided to challenge myself with this lasagna…. with no noodles.

What?!, you say? No, seriously. I didn’t use noodles. Well, I did use noodles but not the kind you’re thinking. I used zucchini noodles! I’ve made other recipes in the past with zucchini noodles, so I was kind of excited about trying this, and plan to do more recipes with them in the future!

This recipe was a lot of work up front, but it was absolutely delicious, and there was nothing left!

I found the concept for this recipe on Healthy Recipes Blog. I used most of it as directed, but I did make some of my own changes. First of all, believe it or not I did NOT use ricotta cheese. I actually just used our favorite cheese from Aldi. We take blocks of their cheese and shred our own. (We do not buy shredded cheese anymore, and I will share more about this in an upcoming post.) In between the layers, where I was supposed to add the ricotta layer, I shredded the cheese right on there and continued with the meat and zucchini layers. There was no real reason for this except that ricotta is not one of my favorite cheeses. And as you can see in the photo of the empty dish above, this recipe was an absolute success without the ricotta, so the experiment was totally worth it!

It should be noted, as it was in the original recipe that I based this off of, that zucchini is very watery, so do go through the extra step of grilling the slices before assembling the dish. Grilling will help dry them off and remove some of the water. Otherwise, they will release their water into the lasagna as it bakes.

Grilling works best to remove the water. But as an alternative to grilling, you can bake the zucchini slices in a 500F oven until golden for about 5 minutes on each side.

I grilled mine. On my stove top, with my Lodge skillet, it worked just fine that way:

All right, on to the recipe. Any other revisions I made, I put in italics and bold.


For the zucchini layer:

  • 5 medium zucchinis (2 lb. total weight)
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided (I used Real Salt instead)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning – I added this for a little more flavor

For the beef layer:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 ⅓ cup marinara sauce divided (I used a Trader Joe’s sauce that we love)

For the ricotta layer:

  • 15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil packed (1 oz)


  • 8 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • I also added some grated parmesan  cheese to the top!


Grill the zucchini slices:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and heat your grill to medium. Slice the zucchinis lengthwise, into ¼-inch-thick strips, getting 6 slices out of each zucchini and discarding the ends.
  • Spray the zucchini slices with olive oil and sprinkle them with ½ teaspoon Kosher salt, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, and ½ teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Grill the zucchini slices, in batches, 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden and firm – not browned and crisp. Spread them on clean kitchen towels to soak up more moisture.

Cook the beef:

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Add the meat, the minced garlic, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
  • Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the meat, until the meat is no longer raw, about 5 minutes. Drain into a colander, then return the meat to the pot and mix in 1 cup of the marinara sauce. Turn the heat off and set aside.

Prepare the ricotta layer: (see my note above for my alternative to this layer!)

  • In a medium bowl, with a fork, mix together the ricotta, eggs, basil, and the remaining kosher salt and black pepper.

Assemble the lasagna:

  • Spread the remaining ⅓ cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9 X 13 baking dish. You can also use a slightly smaller baking dish such as a dish that measures 11 X 7 inches.
  • Top the marinara sauce with a layer of zucchini, then a third of the ricotta mixture, a third of the meat mixture, and a third of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Repeat, arranging the zucchini slices in the opposite direction: zucchini, ⅓ ricotta, ⅓ meat mixture, ⅓ mozzarella.
  • Repeat one last time, adding one extra layer of zucchini: zucchini, ricotta, meat mixture, more zucchini, and mozzarella.

Bake the lasagna:

  • Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is golden, about 30 minutes. You can finish by broiling for 1-2 minutes on high to brown the cheese, if you wish and if your dish is broiler-safe. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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