Zucchini Lasagna Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 40 min. + standing
When life gives you zucchini, make zucchini lasagna!

Updated: Jan. 10, 2024

Anyone who’s had a backyard garden knows that zucchini can be ridiculously prolific, producing anywhere from 3 to 10 pounds of edible fruit per plant. Fortunately, there are boundless ways to use up zucchini, from sweet quick breads and desserts to savory pizza and pasta. This zucchini lasagna recipe is one of our favorites. It captures all the elements of your favorite traditional lasagna, balancing layers of rich, homemade meat sauce with a creamy, cheesy filling. You can use up that garden abundance while sneaking some wholesome veggies into a hearty, soul-satisfying dinner.

How to Make Zucchini Lasagna Less Watery

A zucchini contains over 90% water, so it’s no surprise that zucchini dishes often turn out watery. Some of the standard zucchini tricks (like pressing the shredded zucchini in a French press) won’t work for this recipe, as crushing the slices would make them unsuitable as a noodle replacement. Instead, we minimize moisture by slicing the zucchini very thinly—no thicker than 1/4 inch. A mandoline is the perfect tool for this task, keeping a few mandoline safety tips in mind, of course.

Tossing the zucchini strips with a little bit of flour is also key to a non-watery lasagna. The flour will absorb the water from the zucchini as the casserole cooks. To make a gluten-free zucchini lasagna, skip the flour, and instead sprinkle the slices with salt before you use them. Let them sit for 15 minutes to draw out moisture, then pat them dry with a paper towel. You could also consider precooking the zucchini. Grilling the slices or roasting them in the oven before using them will reduce their water content, but it will also affect the texture of the finished lasagna.

Zucchini Lasagna Ingredients

  • Zucchini: Thinly sliced zucchini creates wide ribbons that easily replace lasagna noodles. Opt for small- to medium-sized zucchini. Avoid oversized zucchini, which have large seeds and a somewhat mushy texture.
  • Meat sauce: We simmer lean ground beef with tomato sauce and seasonings to create a quick-and-easy homemade meat sauce. Simmering the sauce uncovered lets the excess moisture evaporate.
  • Cheese: Some zucchini lasagna recipes use ricotta instead of cottage cheese because ricotta is richer and smoother. Use whichever you prefer! When it comes to mozzarella cheese, use part-skim instead of fresh mozzarella to keep the moisture content to a minimum.


Step 1: Prepare the meat sauce

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Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large skillet, cook the ground beef and onions over high heat, stirring to break up the meat as it cooks, until beef is no longer pink, five to seven minutes. Stir in the oregano, basil, salt, pepper and tomato sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for five minutes.

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Editor’s Tip: Lean meat (such as 90% lean beef, ground chicken or ground turkey) doesn’t need to be drained. If you swapped in another ground meat like 80/20 ground beef, ground pork or ground sausage, drain and discard the grease once the meat is browned, before you add the tomato sauce and seasonings.

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Step 2: Prepare the layers

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While the sauce simmers, whisk together the egg and cottage cheese in a small bowl.

Trim the ends off the zucchini, and cut each one lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place the strips in a large casserole dish or bowl. Toss them with flour until they are lightly coated.

Step 3: Layer the lasagna

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Lightly grease a 13×9-inch baking dish, and layer half of the zucchini slices. It’s OK if they overlap. Add the cottage cheese mixture, spreading it over the zucchini with a rubber spatula. Spoon half of the meat sauce over the cottage cheese mixture. Then, make a second layer by adding the remaining zucchini slices. Top them with any excess flour, the remaining meat sauce, and the mozzarella cheese.

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Step 4: Bake

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Bake, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, until the mixture is heated through. If desired, sprinkle with additional cheese. Let the casserole stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

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Zucchini Lasagna Variations

  • Use other vegetables: Try sliced summer squash or eggplant in place of the zucchini here. Or try thinly sliced sweet potatoes or pumpkins for a hearty winter version.
  • Add fresh herbs: Add fresh oregano or thyme to the meat sauce or chopped parsley to the cottage cheese filling. Garnish the baked dish with fresh basil to brighten everything up.
  • Change up the meat: Make this lasagna with other lean meats like ground chicken or turkey. For added richness and savory flavor, try a combination of beef and pork, like in our sausage lasagna.
  • Go meatless: This zucchini lasagna is ripe for more veggies! Use mushrooms and onions, or add leafy greens to make spinach lasagna. (Remember to precook vegetables to remove much of their liquid.)
  • Experiment with cheese: Swap in provolone for mozzarella or ricotta for cottage cheese. For extra flavor, add a little grated Parmesan to the mix.

How to Store Zucchini Lasagna

Leftover zucchini lasagna keeps in the fridge, covered, for four to five days. Store cooled slices in an airtight container, and reheat them in the microwave. Cooked lasagna can also be frozen for up to three months. Read our complete guide for how to freeze lasagna to learn more about freezing lasagna as a whole casserole or as individual slices.

Zucchini Lasagna Tips

Why is my zucchini lasagna watery?

If you followed all the tips above and your zucchini lasagna is still watery, you need to let it rest longer before slicing. Letting the lasagna sit for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting helps the dish reabsorb the moisture so it doesn’t run out of the bottom in a soupy mess.

What can I use instead of pasta sheets in lasagna?

Zucchini is one of many alternatives to lasagna pasta sheets. Try using other sliced vegetables such as eggplant, sweet potato or pumpkin. Sliced deli meats create a meaty layer perfect for keto lasagna. You can skip the layers altogether, and transform your lasagna into lasagna soup.

Can you make zucchini lasagna ahead of time?

Freezing lasagna is totally doable. Our Test Kitchen recommends freezing it unbaked. Line a metal baking pan with parchment, and assemble as instructed, freezing the shredded mozzarella separately. When the craving strikes, bake frozen lasagna, covered, at 375° for 50 to 60 minutes. Uncover and add mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 50 to 60 minutes.

Watch how to Make Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna

Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 40 min
Yield 6 servings.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup 2% cottage cheese
  • 4 medium zucchini (about 1-3/4 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Additional shredded mozzarella cheese, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 375°. In large skillet, cook and crumble beef with onion over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink, 5-7 minutes. Stir in seasonings and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. In a bowl, mix egg and cottage cheese.
  2. Trim ends of zucchini; cut lengthwise into 1/4-in.-thick slices. Toss zucchini with the flour. Layer half the slices in a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Top with cottage cheese mixture and half the meat sauce. Add remaining zucchini slices; sprinkle with any remaining flour. Spread with remaining meat sauce; sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
  3. Bake, uncovered, until heated through, about 40 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with additional cheese. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 273 calories, 13g fat (5g saturated fat), 92mg cholesterol, 725mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 3g fiber), 27g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1 starch, 1 fat.

We plant zucchini every year and always seem to have more than we can use! This hearty zucchini lasagna is a delicious way to use an abundant crop. —Charlotte McDaniel, Williamsville, Illinois