Updated: May 23
Baked Lasagna with Beef, Zucchini and Cheese
Lasagna just screams comfort food and lately, I have been craving alllllll of the comfort food. Isn't it interesting how food isn't just fuel - it's tradition, connection, passion and love? Certainly all things that I'm craving over 2 months into this quarantine! Of course, I love my veggies, so even in a classic lasagna dish, I like to add those veggies! I've been going to a local farm to get frozen, pasture-raised ground beef, local cheese and veggies and this has been such a pleasant option compared to the stressful grocery stores at the moment. Not to mention, less crowded! So, that is what prompted me to make this comforting, hearty lasagna which is every bit nutritious as it is delicious! Along with some no-boil noodles (because I choose to take things easy in the kitchen!) and tomato sauce, this dish was the perfect meal to create with a mix of fresh and shelf-stable ingredients during this quarantine! Plus, you can easily swap the noodles for a gluten free option, if needed, to make this dish gluten free and I provided some low FODMAP swaps below if you would like to make this dish suitable for a low FODMAP diet. I hope you love this dish as much as we have been loving it in our house. It's the perfect dish to, as I always say, "make once, eat a bunch!"
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Equipment Needed: stovetop, oven
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Ingredients (yields 9 servings):
16 oz ground beef
2 Tbsp oil
1 medium zucchini, sliced into rounds
~5 oz lasagna noodles* (I used 8 sheets of the 365 No Boil Lasagna Noodles out of a box that contains 27 sheets. If you prefer to use lasagna noodles that need to be boiled, cook the pasta according to package directions so you have cooked noodles prepared for the recipe)
25 oz (about 3 C) tomato sauce (you can use my homemade tomato sauce recipe or a brand that you prefer!)
1 C ricotta cheese
8 oz fresh mozzarella
*This recipe can be made to be gluten free if you swap the traditional wheat lasagna noodles for a suitable gluten free variety. I recommend using certified GF products if all potential sources of cross contact need to be minimized, such as in the case of celiac disease.
*This recipe can be made to be suitable for a low FODMAP diet if you swap the lasagna noodles for a suitable gluten free, low FODMAP option (such as brown rice noodles) and swap the tomato sauce for an onion/garlic-free, low FODMAP alternative (such as Fody Foods brand). While this recipe contains ricotta cheese and zucchini, the amounts used per serving are considered low FODMAP. However, it is important to stick to the recommended serving size to keep this recipe low FODMAP and suitable for the elimination phase.
Warm 2 Tbsp oil in a medium skillet. Add ground beef and cook for approximately 10 minutes, breaking up the meat and mixing occasionally.
Add ~1/4 C sauce to the beef, mix and finish cooking until meat is cooked through (I cooked mine for another ~7-10 minutes). Once cooked, remove from heat, drain the fat from the meat set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spray an 8x8 casserole dish with nonstick spray. Place about 1/2 C sauce in casserole dish and spread with a spoon, so the sauce coats the bottom of the dish.
Place 2 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce (I used the no boil noodles, so they were uncooked. However, if you're using traditional lasagna noodles, make sure to boil the noodles prior to this step and then place the cooked noodles in the casserole dish.)
Place 1/2 C ricotta cheese over the noodles and spread evenly with a spoon. Layer ~6-7 zucchini slices on top of the ricotta cheese (about 1/3-1/2 zucchini), so they cover the ricotta with a single layer. Later 2 lasagna noodles on top of the zucchini.
Place about half of the meat over the noodles and distribute evenly with a spoon. Add another ~1/4 C sauce over the meat and spread evenly with a spoon.
Layer a few slices of fresh mozzarella over the sauce (I used 4 slices ). Then layer another 2 noodles over the mozzarella.
Repeat steps 6 and 7 again one more time, using the remaining half of the meat.
Layer 2 more noodles on top of the meat and sauce. Then add the remaining sauce and top with fresh mozzarella (I used about 9 slices to cover the pan with a cheese topping).
Cover lasagna (I used aluminum foil to cover mine) and bake in the oven at 375 Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes. Then, remove the cover and bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes. Divide the lasagna into 9 pieces (3x3 squares) to yield 9 servings. Enjoy! *Oven times may vary. If you are using boiled, cooked lasagna noodles, you will likely need to cook the lasagna for less time.
Nutritional Analysis Per Serving (1 serving = 1/9th lasagna)
Calories 301 calories, Total Fat 15 g, Saturated Fat 7 g, Cholesterol 32 mg, Carbohydrates 19 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 22 g, Sodium 386 mg, Calcium 236 mg
*Nutrient Analysis uses 93%/7% lean beef, whole milk ricotta and mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce from a jar that has 410 mg sodium per 1/2 C serving. Nutrient analysis will vary depending on the fat content of these products and specific brands used.