Summertiiiiiiiime, and the cookin’s easy… I made this Zucchini Lasagna specifically for summer, because it’s easy, paleo, and gluten-free. It’s also enough to eat as a full meal, and our whole family loooooves it.
I like to use seasonal ingredients and since it’s summer, zucchini is abundant! We are growing it on our tower garden and it’s doing amazing. Basil is another seasonal ingredient I used here, which looks beautiful and tastes great.
I make a lot of things from scratch because I like to keep ingredients clean and simple, but I do take shortcuts sometimes – especially when I find a great product that’s organic and not full of preservatives. Because shortcuts are a must when you’re busy and/or have kids, and just need a good meal on the fly.
We needed a dish for an easy and fresh weeknight dinner that would leave us feeling nourished and full, and I also didn’t want to spend too much time over a stove.
And that’s how this lasagna was born.
I used store-bought ricotta in this recipe (cashew-based so that it is dairy-free). I use dairy-free mozzarella as well. You can also make your own dairy-free ricotta using my Two-Ingredient Cashew Ricotta recipe.
I also used jarred red sauce, which – GASP! – I realize sounds questionable for an Italian. But I swear by this delicious, simple, and clean brand I found (which I add a key ingredient to), and I always keep a few jars in my pantry for those nights I need a quick and easy dinner.
I love zucchini and yellow squash because they are high in antioxidants like vitamins A and C, as well as nutrients like potassium and manganese. They’re a good source of fiber, and the seeds hold phytonutrients to help fight inflammation and oxidative stress. And they are light, so you can eat this lasagna without the “heavy” feeling you would get from a traditional lasagna with gluten-based noodles.
I love zucchini in particular in the summertime because it’s so abundant. In traditional Chinese medicine zucchini is considered a “cooling” food, known to clear excess heat from the body, which is exactly what we want in summertime. So get your zucchini fill when it’s most abundant and freshest – which is now!
This lasagna, as I mentioned, uses simple, clean, ingredients and comes together quickly. The zucchini is the star of the show, of course, which I like to slice very thin. You could use yellow squash as well, so whatever you find at the market or grocery store will do.
As an optional ingredient, you can layer in gluten-free lasagna noodles. You don’t have to do this but if you’re craving that true lasagna texture with noodles, this is your best bet. The Capello brand makes frozen gluten-free lasagna noodles that don’t require you to pre-cook anything; you just remove them from the freezer as you’re prepping your other ingredients and they will be good to go when you’re ready to layer them in. Again, totally optional! We’ve made ours both ways, and no matter what, it comes out delicious.
The red sauce I mentioned above that I use as a shortcut is the Paesana Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce, which you can buy on Amazon or at your local Costco. I add a key ingredient to my sauce – cinnamon – which gives it a nice velvety flavor.
I use store-bought ricotta as another shortcut, and to make it dairy-free we use the cashew-based kind (Kite Hill brand). I also used the cashew “mozzarella” (Mykonos brand).
The remaining ingredients are grass-fed beef, which is a nutritional powerhouse in its own right, along with fresh basil, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. It takes just a few steps to pull these ingredients together, and you’re done!
I hope you enjoy this fresh, seasonal, healthy summer recipe. Let me know if you make it!
And, if you have an abundance of zucchini in your garden or have picked some up from your seasonal market, try my Zucchini Cocoa Berry Smoothie and my Fried Squash Blossoms, which use the edible flowers from the zucchini plant. Trust me when I tell you, they are delicious!