A Quicker, Healthier and Lighter Lasagna: Layered Zucchini Slices, Italian Chicken Sausage, and a Blend of Cheeses, Baked to Perfection

zucchinilasagna

I love a good lasagna. It’s one of the ultimate comfort foods (at least for me). This version is my “easy, fast and healthy” recipe, and I adore it so much I have been known to make it for both lunch and then again for dinner (this may or may not have happened yesterday…again). Also makes for terrific leftovers and lunch during the work week. This is a great alternative to a traditional lasagna if you are looking for something revolving more around vegetables and protein, but that doesn’t sacrifice great flavor or deliciousness. I guarantee this is a recipe you’ll find yourself coming back to again and again. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

Makes 4 Servings (*when paired with salad and bread)

Recipe by © Alysha Melnyk 2018

Kitchen Tools:

Oven, Preheated to 350°F

Stovetop

Sauté Pan

Parchment Paper

8″ x 8″ Baking Pan

Measuring Cups

Measuring Spoons

Knife

Ingredients:

*Disclaimer – I am including certain brand names of things I use (just because they are personal favorites of mine), but feel free to use whatever brand you like, is the cheapest, is on sale, what you have on hand, etc.*

1 Medium Zucchini, Sliced into Thin Rounds (about 1/4 inch, give or take) *This has been the perfect amount for me each time, but I would have 1 extra zucchini on hand just in case.

Olive Oil

3 or 4 Italian Chicken Sausages, Chopped into Small Pieces (I use Brat Hans Mild Italian Chicken Sausage) *I have found that 3 sausages is normally the perfect amount for me, but you can definitely use all four in a pack (just will be a bit meatier). You can also omit this if you don’t want to use meat and add more cheese.

1/2 Cup Whole Milk Ricotta (I used Whole Foods 365 Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese)

1/2 Cup Cottage Cheese (I used Whole Foods 365 Organic Low Fat Cottage Cheese)

Few Dashes Crushed Red Pepper (*To Taste)

1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Granules

1/4 Teaspoon Onion Granules

1/4 Teaspoon Dried Basil

1/4 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

1 Egg

3/4 Cup Marinara Sauce or Sauce of Choice (I use 365 Everyday Value® Organic Marinara Sauce) *You can add more or less sauce depending on your personal preference.

Cheese of Choice for Topping (I used grated parmesan)

*Optional for Topping/Extra Seasoning:  I used small spinach leaves to decorate the top and extra red pepper flakes when I served the lasagna. As a meal, the lasagna pairs great with garlic bread and salad.

Featured Artists/Products:

Wooden Spoon Hand Carved by Teal, Creator of Teal Marie Design (based in Newark, DE)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line 8″ by 8″ pan with parchment paper (I drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the base of the pan before placing the parchment paper in to help it stick a bit). You don’t have to do this step, but I find it makes for easier cleanup.
  3. Cut chicken sausage into fine bits, and place in a sauté pan with a little olive oil on the stovetop on medium heat. Brown the pieces slightly and then remove from stove and let cool a bit.
  4. While chicken sausage is cooking, slice medium zucchini into thin slices. Once zucchini is sliced, layer slices (overlapping a bit – you can see in my photo above) on the base of the parchment lined pan to cover the bottom. Drizzle slices with a little bit of olive oil, and set aside.
  5. Next, mix together the ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, crushed red pepper, garlic granules, onion granules, dried basil, dried oregano, and egg until fully combined.
  6. Then, take a spoon and spread half of the cheese mixture directly on top of the zucchini base layer in the pan. Add in slightly cooled chicken sausage directly on top, and then spread the other half of the cheese mixture directly on top of that.
  7. Cover this with remaining zucchini slices, and then pour sauce of choice all over the top and spread in a uniform layer.
  8. Stick pan in the oven (uncovered) and bake for 30 minutes.
  9. After 30 minutes, remove the pan from oven and sprinkle with cheese of choice (I used parmesan). Let sit for 10 minutes, and then add spinach leaves or other seasoning on top.
  10. Slice carefully, spoon it out and enjoy warm! 🙂

*Don’t be alarmed, the base of the pan will have residual water/fluid. Zucchini has a very high water content, so this happens. It won’t affect the flavor. Only thing I recommend is storing leftovers in a different container and dumping any residual liquid.

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