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Eating Well: Zucchini Lasagna packs a satisfying Italian punch

Zucchini Lasagna

Looking for a low-carb dinner to satisfy your Italian food craving?

Look no further! Thin slices of zucchini stand in for noodles in this lasagna. It is a perfect comforting meal for your left-over garden-fresh veggies and herbs and you won’t even miss the noodles.

Carrie Snyder, staff photographer full time, and cook extraordinaire during her down time hours recently shared the recipe and a huge delicious piece of this Zucchini Lasagna.

There is no doubt you have to be a veggie lover to enjoy this dish, but if you are, you will find it amazingly enjoyable.

The rich, hearty tomato sauce comingled with the meat, cheese, veggies and herbs are the perfect accent to the ample zucchini starring in the recipe.

Carrie noted that the dish does take a little bit longer to prepare, but quickly added that it is well worth the effort. After tasting the end result, I couldn’t agree with her more and am anxious to try it myself.

Since zucchini is a super moist vegetable she pointed out the importance of draining it well to avoid excess liquid as the lasagna bakes. Also, if you don’t have fresh herbs the dried ones can be substituted.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking!

Zucchini Lasagna

2 large zucchini

1 tbsp. salt

1 pound ground beef

1 ½ tsp. ground pepper

1 small green bell pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

1 cup tomato paste

1 16-ounce can tomato sauce

¼ cup red wine

2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil

1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano

Hot water as needed

1 egg

1 15-ounce container low-fat ricotta cheese

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 16-ounce package chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

8 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a deep 9x13 inch baking pan.

Slice zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices. Sprinkle slices lightly with salt; set aside to drain in colander.

To prepare the meat sauce, cook and stir ground beef and black pepper in a large skillet over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Stir in green pepper and onion; cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. Stir in tomato paste, tomato sauce, wine, basil, and oregano, adding a small amount of hot water if sauce is too thick. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, stir egg, ricotta, and parsley together in a bowl until well combined.

To assemble lasagna, spread half of the meat sauce into the bottom of prepared pan. Then layer half the zucchini slices, half the ricotta mixture, all the spinach, followed by all the mushrooms, then half the mozzarella cheese. Repeat by layering the remaining meat sauce, zucchini slices, ricotta mixture and mozzarella. Spread the Parmesan cheese evenly over the top; cover with foil.

Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil; raise oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.