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white pan with lasagna and basil on top.

Zucchini Lasagna with Turkey (and cottage cheese!)

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  • Author: Alexis Joseph, MS, RD
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Meals
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Italian-Inspired
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Knock-your-socks-off good no noodle lasagna with fresh zucchini. Dreamy layers of melty mozzarella, turkey marinara, and creamy cottage cheese instead of ricotta. Think of this as lightened up summer lasagna! Leftovers taste incredible but I doubt there will be any...


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey (I use 93%)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt, divided (plus freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1 24oz jar high-quality marinara sauce, like Rao's
  • 1 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped basil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line an extra large baking sheet (ideally an extra large one) with parchment paper. Place cottage cheese in a fine mesh sieve and and tap it to drain (this helps avoid watery lasagna) while you prep.
  2. Prep zucchini: Chop ends off zucchini and thinly slice into very thin slices, about 1/8 inch. I did this by hand and they were definitely not even, that's ok! The thinner the zucchini, the more tender it'll be. Place on baking sheet in a single layer, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and bake for 10 minutes. Once they come out, blot water on top with a dish towel to remove as much water as you can. 
  3. Make meat sauce: Place oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic and cook for 1 min, stirring often. Add turkey and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook for about 8 minutes, until it's no longer pink. Drain any liquid well. Stir in jar of sauce and remove from heat.
  4. Make cheese layer: Place drained cottage cheese, parmesan, egg, dried parsley, and a few grinds of pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Mix to combine.
  5. Assemble: Spread 1 cup meat sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with half of the zucchini slices (it's ok if they overlap a bit), 1 more cup of meat sauce, half of the cottage cheese mixture, 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella, and a sprinkle of basil. Repeat with remaining zucchini, 1 cup meat sauce, remaining cottage cheese, and 3/4 cup mozzarella.  Finish with remaining sauce (you'll have about 3/4 cup), 1/4 cup mozzarella, and sprinkle with 2 tbsp parmesan.
  6. Bake: Bake for 35 minutes.  Let stand for 15 minutes before garnishing with fresh basil and digging in! 

Notes

  • There will be water beneath lasagna after slicing since zucchini does not absorb liquid like noodles, that's normal. Tips for less watery lasagna: Don't skip draining cottage cheese and meat! Let lasagna rest before slicing.
  • We like our lasagna saucy. You can use a 24oz jar per the recipe or less, but don't use more than that (or it'll be too liquidy).
  • To make this vegetarian, simply omit the turkey. To make vegan, omit the turkey, use my vegan ricotta and dairy-free mozzarella/parm cheese.