Vegetarian Zucchini Lasagna

Head on shot of a slice of meatless zucchini lasagna on a plate sprinkled with fresh minced herbs. There is a jar of marinara sauce in the background.

You’re going to love this healthy vegan lasagna that uses thin zucchini slices for the lasagna noodles! This delicious plant-based dinner is packed with flavor and easily made gluten-free and low-carb. It’s also a fantastic way to use either fresh garden or store bought zucchini. And unlike some other zucchini lasagna recipes, this isn’t a watery zucchini lasagna either because of a very simple “trick”, and it’s not paper towels.


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Let’s be clear: I am not a “zucchini pasta” person. That is, until today. This fun take on classic lasagna made with “vegetable noodles” has converted me and is one of my favorite new recipes!

Seriously, this vegan zucchini lasagna recipe is so good, it will have you sneaking out of your kitchen at 2AM to eat it cold straight out of the baking dish. Trust me. I’ve always liked traditional lasagna and vegetable lasagna, but this may be my new favorite noodle-less lasagna!

And if you would have told me a month ago that I’d be so excited to eat zucchini (especially cold zucchini straight from the fridge) like this, I would tell you you’re ridiculous. And yet, here we are.

I stand humbly before you and present this actually life-changing, meatless zucchini lasagna recipe. Needless to say, I think you’re going to like it.

Why We Love This Vegan Lasagna Recipe

  • It’s NOT watery. I hear excess moisture is a big problem for zucchini lasagna lovers out there. Well, not with this recipe! Due to a combo of careful layering and thin zucchini noodles
  • It’s versatile – make it as store-bought as you want or as from scratch as you want. Homemade marinara, anyone?
  • Great way to use zucchini from your garden.
  • It’s easy to make and easily made gluten-free and low-carb.

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Overhead shot of all the ingredients needed to make vegan zucchini lasagna

Ingredients for Healthy Zucchini Lasagna

To make this zucchini lasagna recipe, you’ll need 7 ingredients. You can make it completely from-scratch or use a few store-bought shortcuts. We’ve included notes on both approaches below!

  • Zucchini – Ideally, you’ll want large and similarly sized / shaped zucchini for this recipe. But our method of slicing / layering makes it easy to use whatever you got!
  • Vegan ricotta – Use our homemade vegan tofu ricotta or store-bought option from brands like Tofutti and Kite Hill.
  • Vegan ground beef – We used our homemade vegan ground beef recipe (coming soon!) that is just spectacular! We’ve also used vegan ground beef from brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible. And I think you could make a great version with our Spicy Walnut Beef.
  • Vegan mozzarella cheese – Use either our vegan mozzarella sauce or store-bought vegan mozzarella from brands like Violife (that’s what we used in the photos!) and Daiya.
  • Marinara sauce – Use homemade marinara sauce or store-bought. We love Organicville and Botticelli!
  • Italian bread crumbs – We used our homemade bread crumbs (recipe coming soon!), but you can use store bought too. Check the ingredients, as a lot of commercial bread crumbs weirdly contain dairy. Our favorite vegan-friendly brands include Edward and Sons. You can also add Italian seasoning to regular vegan-friendly breadcrumbs
  • Olive oil
  • Nutritional yeast

Substitution Options

If you don’t have or can’t tolerate any of the above ingredients, here are our best substitution tips. Remember though, substituting any of the ingredients may lead to a varied degree of difference in the final product. Let us know in the comments if you try any subs and how they work out for you! 

For the zucchini: Eggplant or especially squash

To replace the vegan ricotta cheese: Other soft spreadable cheeses like vegan goat cheese could be an interesting sub for the ricotta mixture.

For the vegan ground beef: You could also use a vegan ground sausage like our walnut sausage in the dish. A sauteed mushroom mixture with some fresh herbs would be really good too.

For the vegan mozzarella cheese: Any type of shredded non-dairy cheese can work. Check the list of ingredients to be sure it’s vegan.

For the marinara sauce: Botticelli’s Vegan Bolognese be an easy store bought option. You can also use pizza sauce in a pinch. If you want to get really different and away from tangy tomato sauce, you can try a thick vegan bechamel sauce or alfredo instead.

For the Italian bread crumbs: Use any kind of vegan bread crumbs. You can also use gluten-free bread crumbs to make a gluten-free lasagna if needed.

For the olive oil: Skip the olive oil if you want. Or use avocado, sunflower, or safflower oil.

For the nutritional yeast: Skip it if you want, or try vegan parmesan cheese or our homemade vegan cheese seasoning.

Overhead close up shot of plant-based zucchini lasagna showing the layers of tofu ricotta and saucy tvp beef.

How to Make Zucchini Lasagna Vegan

This meatless zucchini lasagna recipe takes a bit of preparation, but you’ll be so glad you made it!

Step 1: Prep the ingredients.

Get out a 9×9 baking pan and preheat the oven to 400F. If you haven’t already, brown the vegan ground beef. Then, add the ground beef to a medium mixing bowl and add 3/4 cups of the marinara sauce. Mix this together until combined. Finally, slice your zucchini into strips (more on this below).

Step 2: Assemble the lasagna layers.

Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish. I use a scant 1/4 cup. Then, layer the zucchini in the baking dish over the sauce on the bottom, overlapping them slightly so they form a solid layer. If your zucchini strips are super thin layers (which happens when you get to the end of the zucchini), you can add a second layer of zucchini if you wish.

On top of that first zucchini layer, carefully spread an even layer of 1/3 cup vegan ricotta. Then add 1/3 cup of the vegan ground beef/marinara mixture, pressing it into the ricotta with the back of a wooden spoon gently to embed it. 

Continue again with another zucchini layer and repeat the other layers. I like to switch the direction of the zucchini strips each layer, but it’s not vital. When you get to the top of the baking dish (about 5-6 layers), top the zucchini lasagna with one final layer of zucchini. Top this last layer with 1 cup marinara sauce and the vegan mozzarella cheese.

Step 3: Bake the lasagna.

Cover the dish and place it in your preheated oven to bake at 400F for 20-30 minutes. While the lasagna bakes, mix all the ingredients for the bread crumb topping in a small bowl.

Then, turn the oven to 425F and remove the dish. Remove the cover from your baking dish and sprinkle on the bread crumbs. Place the dish back in the oven, uncovered, for another 10-20 minutes (until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned).

Let the dish rest uncovered at least 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. It will firm up as it sits and make it much easier to slice!

Overhead shot of a hand holding a vegetable peeler whilst peeling a thin slice of zucchini for zucchini lasagna

How to Cut Zucchini for Lasagna Without a Mandoline

I like to slice the zucchini as I layer it. That way, I don’t have a million tiny slices lying around, and I don’t overslice more than I need.

You can use a mandoline slicer, but I prefer to use a vegetable peeler because it creates super thin zucchini slices that leave your zucchini lasagna tender and not overwatery. And while not everyone may have a mandoline slicer, almost every cook is certain to have a vegetable peeler.

To peel zucchini slices: Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Then, cut the ends off. Place one zucchini half cut-side down, and peel the top layer off lengthwise. You can use this or toss it. Then, repeat the peeler motion to get another zucchini strip.

You want to press down firmly from beginning to end. Layer these zucchini strips in the baking dish with the sauce on the bottom. If your zucchini strips are super thin, you can add a second layer of zucchini if you wish.

How do you keep zucchini lasagna from being overwatery?

  • Use a vegetable peeler – NOT a mandoline slicer. It creates thinner strips of zucchini, so there’s less water overall. I see a lot of people making zucchini lasagna with these big, thick cuts of zucchini. I would stay away from this sort of cut and use peeler thin slices if excess liquid is an issue.
  • Be mindful of the fillings you’re using. If you’re adding extra veggies or a ricotta that is extra watery (our homemade ricotta is thick and perfect for this), that can add too much moisture and make the dish watery.
  • Also the brand of sauce and amount of sauce you use. If your sauce is watery, so will your lasagna be. We mix our sauce with the vegan ground beef, so you can taste it but it doesn’t hinder the final product.
Overhead shot of a dish of zucchini lasagna topped with bread crumbs and herbs and sliced into 9 pieces. 2 of the pieces are missing from the dish.

How to Serve Dairy Free Zucchini Lasagna

Serve this zucchini lasagna hot topped with some fine-minced herbs like fresh basil and oregano and a side of crusty, vegan garlic bread.

What to Serve with Zucchini Lasagna

How to Store Leftover Meatless Zucchini Lasagna

This zucchini lasagna makes amazing leftovers and is an easy meal prep!

Store leftover vegan lasagna in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5-6 days. Reheat a slice in the microwave on high for 2 minutes covered until warmed through. You can also reheat in the oven at 400F for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.

Can you freeze zucchini lasagna?

Yes! You can freeze cooked zucchini lasagna in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost leftovers by moving only what you need to the fridge until completely defrosted.

To reheat in the oven: From frozen, preheat oven to 400F. Place frozen lasagna in a covered oven-safe dish or small casserole dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 45-60 minutes until warmed through. Defrosted lasagna will reheat in about 20 minutes.

More Vegan Lasagna Recipes

Close up over-head shot of a pan of cooked zucchini lasagna topped with bread crumbs and fresh herbs

I hope you love this recipe as much as I did creating it. I especially can’t wait to hear what the picky eaters and zucchini-haters in your life think!

When you make it, please leave a star rating and review on the post below. It helps more people find our recipes, and we just love cheering you on in the kitchen!

Okay, back to my cold plate of zucchini lasagna. Seriously, so good.

Yield: 9 slices

Veggie Zucchini Lasagna

Overhead close up shot of plant-based zucchini lasagna showing the layers of tofu ricotta and saucy tvp beef.

You're going to love this healthy vegan lasagna that uses thin zucchini slices for the lasagna noodles! This delicious plant-based dinner is packed with flavor and easily made gluten-free and low-carb. It's also a fantastic way to use either fresh garden or store bought zucchini. And unlike some other zucchini lasagna recipes, this isn’t a watery zucchini lasagna either because of a very simple "trick", and it's not paper towels.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 large zucchini
  • 3 cups vegan ricotta
  • 2 cups vegan ground beef, browned
  • 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups marinara sauce

For the bread crumb topping:

  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast

Instructions

  1. Get out a 9x9 baking pan and preheat the oven to 400F. If you haven’t already, brown the vegan ground beef. Then, add the ground beef to a medium mixing bowl and add 3/4 cups of the marinara sauce. Mix this together until combined.
  2. To peel zucchini slices: Cut the ends off the zucchini. Then, cut it in half lengthwise. Place the zucchini half cut-side down, and pressing down firmly with the vegetable peeler, run the peeler from one end of the zucchini to the other to get your first slice. You can use this first slice or toss it in your compost. Then, repeat the peeler motion to get another zucchini strip. 
  3. Assemble: Spread 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Layer these zucchini strips in the baking dish with the sauce on the bottom, overlapping them slightly so they form a solid layer. If your zucchini strips are super thin (which happens when you get to the end of the zucchini), you can add a second layer of zucchini if you wish.
  4. On top of that first zucchini layer, carefully spread an even layer of 1/3 cup vegan ricotta. On top of the ricotta, add 1/3 cup of the vegan ground beef/marinara mixture, pressing it into the ricotta with the back of a wooden spoon gently to embed it. 
  5. Continue again with another zucchini layer and repeat the other layers. I like to switch the direction of the zucchini strips each layer, but it’s not vital. When you get to the top of the baking dish (about 5-6 layers), top the zucchini lasagna with one more zucchini layer. Top this with 1 cup marinara sauce and the vegan mozzarella cheese.
  6. Cover the dish and place it in your preheated oven to bake at 400F for 20-30 minutes. While the lasagna bakes, mix all the ingredients for the bread crumb topping in a small bowl.
  7. Then, turn the oven to 425F and remove the dish. Remove the cover from your baking dish and sprinkle on the bread crumbs. Place the dish back in the oven, uncovered, for another 10-20 minutes (until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned).
  8. Let the dish rest uncovered at least 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. It will firm up as it sits and make it much easier to slice! Serve a slice next to a vegan Caesar or garden salad with Italian dressing and a big hunk of garlic bread. Enjoy!
  9. This zucchini lasagna makes amazing leftovers! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5-6 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost leftovers by moving only what you need to the fridge until completely defrosted. Reheat uncovered in the oven for best results.

Notes

I like to slice the zucchini as I layer it. That way, I don’t have a million tiny slices lying around and I don’t slice more than I need. You can use a mandoline slicer, but I prefer to use a vegetable peeler because it’s cheap, easy to use and store, and creates super thin zucchini slices that leave your zucchini lasagna tender and far less watery than other horror stories I’ve read about on the internet.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 235Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 618mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 19g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.

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