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I LOVE lasagna, there’s no better comfort food, but many people can’t eat tomato sauce. I wanted to create a nightshade-free vegetable lasagna using zucchini noodles that was gluten-free too.
This lasagna is a wonderful meatless meal too!
What is a nightshade? Tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant are all in the nightshade family. Many people are sensitive to them, including me. So I wanted to develop a few recipes that we know and love that didn’t have them. My extended family is gluten-free, so I used zucchini noodles instead of pasta to make it gluten-free too.
With the allergies in my family, a meal that we can all enjoy that’s mixed in one pan is a rarity. This one might fit the bill!
Zucchini makes a great lasagna noodles substitute. They taste great, cook fast, and take on amazing flavors. Using zucchini noodles instead of pasta saves you a ton of time in this recipe. One of my daughter’s favorite vegetables in zucchini, so that makes it a win as well.
Baking the zucchini noodles for a short amount of time like for a lasagna makes them turn out perfectly. If you precook the zucchini, it would be too soggy, but if you put the zucchini noodles in raw, they bake perfectly.
It’s simple to make the noodles. All you need is a zucchini and a potato peeler. You can make paper-thin strips this way. Or you can take the zucchini and cut it thinly with a knife but thicker than the shaved noodles. I like them thicker, about 1/8 inch thick. It gives them a little more sturdiness for cutting the lasagna and serving it.
If you want to make garlic parmesan zucchini noodles in a bowl instead of lasagna, you can either shave them with a potato peeler or spiralize them if you want a thicker texture. They cook up quickly and take on amazing flavors of garlic and parmesan. I big ole bowl of zucchini noodles is comforting and delicious.
If you can’t get past missing the tomato sauce in your life, you can make a homemade nomato sauce or use a store bought one in a jar.
The basic ingredient to make the texture of nomato sauce is pumpkin puree, but it combines multiple vegetables to make a well rounded imitation tomato sauce that is pleasing to eat. If you don’t think it sounds yummy, give it a try and you might change your mind.
I have served it to my extended family and they didn’t realize there weren’t tomatoes in it. I use pumpkin puree in place of tomato puree for chili as well and they all liked it.
Now back to this recipe, I love the flavors of spinach, garlic, and parmesan for this zucchini lasagna. I never miss the pasta at all. I like to make meals without meat, but you could add seasoned ground beef or sauted chicken breast pieces to this lasagna if you need meat in every meal.
Zucchini has a lot of water in it and so does spinach. In order to make a zucchini spinach lasagna that’s not full of water, you need to prep the zucchini by drawing out the water with salt. And wilt the spinach in a skillet and then let it cool and squeeze the rest of the water out of it.
If you have grown a ton of summer or winter squash in your garden, find out what to do with excess squash here.
Vegetable lasagna using zucchini noodles
Nightshade-free vegetable lasagna using zucchini noodles
- 4 zucchini, cut lenghthwise, about 1/8 inch thick
- 1 bunch spinach
- 2 T butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 pkg mushrooms, sliced
- 2 T butter
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 c ricotta cheese
- 1 c grated parmesan cheese
- 3 c grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350
- Slice zucchini and sprinkle with liberally with salt. Let sit for 45 minutes to draw the water out.
- Pat dry and set aside.
- While the zucchini is having the water removed, toss the spinach in the skillet with about 2 T of water and a sprinkle of salt.
- Cook and stir on medium heat until the spinach is totally wilted. Set aside to cool.
- When completely cool, gather spinach in your hand and squeeze the remaining water out of it.
- Place 2 T butter in skillet with onions and cook and stir on low heat until onions are translucent.
- Add sliced mushrooms and cook and stir until soft.
- Add 2 more T of butter, garlic, thyme, oregano and salt and pepper.
- Stir to combine and add spinach. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Spray bottom of casserole dish with non stick spray.
- Layer a layer of zucchini strips to cover bottom and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add 1 c of ricotta cheese in dollops all over the top.
- Sprinkle with ¼ c grated parmesan and 1 c grated mozzarella.
- Stir the mushroom spinach mixture and sprinkle half of it over the top.
- Make another layer of zucchini strips and salt and pepper again.
- Add remaining dollops of ricotta. Cover with remaining mozzarella and top with remaining parmesan cheese.
- Cover dish with foil and cook place in oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove foil and cook 15-20 minutes more until cheese is nicely browned.
- Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes before slicing.
For another vegetable lasagna that does use tomatoes and has meat, click here. If you want more squash for noodles substitues like stuffed spaghetti squash lasagna. Or an alfredo style creamy spinach stuffed spaghetti squash, check out these no pasta meals that eat like pasta. We even make Riced Summer Squash Risotto Casserole.
For more meatless meals, click here.