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Zucchini Lasagna for Summer: Easy-Breezy, Paleo and Gluten Free

5.0 from 1 vote

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.

Zucchini Lasagna for Summer: Easy-Breezy, Paleo and Gluten Free

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.

Why This Recipe Works

This recipe is hands down my favorite lasagna, because it’s both filling and delicious. And I use a few shortcuts here to make life easier: 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.

Why Zucchini?

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!

zucchini lasagna: easy-breezy, paleo gluten-free

The Ingredients

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!

Zucchini Lasagna for Summer: Easy-Breezy, Paleo and Gluten Free

5.0 from 1 vote
Recipe by Alessandra Macaluso Course: Dinner
Servings

4-6

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

35

minutes
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 lbs grass-fed ground beef

  • 3 cups (one 24 oz. jar) red sauce, jarred or homemade sauce

  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

  • 5 medium zucchini and/or yellow squash, sliced thin lengthwise

  • 1 15 oz. package cashew ricotta

  • 1 8 oz. package cashew mozzarella, sliced

  • salt & pepper

  • handful fresh basil, for garnish

  • optional: 1 box of gluten-free lasagna noodles, Capello brand*

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. *If you are using the gluten-free noodles (optional), remove them from the freezer now and place on the counter to defrost.
  • Place a medium saucepan or deep skillet over medium heat. Once warm, add the olive oil followed by the beef. Add the ground beef and sauté, breaking it apart with a spatula, until lightly browned and no longer pink.
  • Pour the sauce on top of the beef, add the cinnamon, and stir. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes until warm, then remove from heat.
  • Spread about 1/2 cup of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch casserole dish. Next, add slices of zucchini in a single layer, side by side.
  • Add about 1/2 of the package of ricotta on top of the zucchini noodles, followed by another 1/2 cup of the meat sauce. Swirl with the back of a spoon so it is spread evenly.
  • Repeat this process, and if you are using the gluten-free lasagna noodles, use them for this center layer.
  • Add a final layer of zucchini and top with the sliced mozzarella. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until cheese is brown and bubbling. (You may also choose to broil for 2 minutes a the end to get that brown, crispy topping.) Remove from oven, allow to sit for 5 minutes, then top with fresh basil and serve and enjoy.

Notes

  • You do not need to use the Capello lasagna noodles, however, if you like a more heartier lasagna, it’s a nice addition. We don’t always use it.

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Paesana Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
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La Tourangelle, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Alessandra Macaluso is the author of What a Good Eater! , Lucy the Bee and the Healing Honey, and The Real-Deal Bridal Bible. She’s also a Qigong and Tai Chi instructor, and overall wellness advocate. Her work has been featured in several anthologies which can all be found on her Amazon author page, and she has contributed to The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, TODAY Parents, and many other online publications.

Alessandra is a northerner-turned-southerner, enjoying the south with her children, Penelope and Ciro, and her husband, Greg.

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