Zucchini Lasagna

This neat take on lasagna features zucchini slices instead of pasta noodles. It’s super simple, and super delicious. Zucchini provides lots of fiber, plus vitamins A & C!

*Makes one 9x9 pan of lasagna

Ingredients:
2 large green zucchini, sliced in half and then thinly sliced lengthwise
2 cups tomato sauce (homemade or store-bought)*
½ lb lean ground turkey, cooked
1 cup cheese (mixture of cheddar and mozzarella), grated

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Once the zucchini is sliced, it should be briefly pan-fried or grilled to let out some of the moisture. Zucchini has a very high water content, so if it is placed directly into the lasagna, you’ll end up with a watery final product. Fry or grill the lasagna for approximately 2 minutes per side, and then set aside.
  3. Next, thoroughly brown the ground turkey. Divide cooked meat into 2 sections and then set this aside too.
  4. Once the zucchini & turkey have been prepped, it’s time to assemble the lasagna! Making any kind of lasagna is all about the layers. Start off this version by coating the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish with ½ cup tomato sauce. This will prevent sticking. Next, layer slices of zucchini until the bottom of the pan is covered.
  5. On top of the zucchini spread ½ cup of sauce, then sprinkle ¼ cup cheese and half of the ground turkey.
  6. Place another layer of zucchini, sauce, cheese, and meat, then top with one final layer of zucchini. On top of the final zucchini layer, spread the remaining 1 cup of sauce, then sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of cheese.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and browning on top, and sauce is bubbling.
  8. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes, then dig in and enjoy!

* I used a homemade tomato sauce & added my own herbs and spices, which gave me control over the salt content, but if store-bought is your choice, try to choose one that says low/no added sodium. Unfortunately, tomato sauce is often crazy high in salt!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

 

Zucchini Blossoms How-To

Zucchini blossoms are a fun treat in season now! They're one of those things that look incredibly impressive once prepared, but are actually really easy - a great way to impress guests! Check out these preparation tips that will help ensure your dinner party is a hit. My go-to cooking method is pan-frying, as it's a nice balance between baking & deep-frying. It gives them a deliciously crisp coating, but allows you to limit the amount of oil used.

Stuff them: 

  • Use a soft cheese (ricotta & goat’s cheese are the most popular) mixed with herbs of your choice (ex. garlic, basil) 
  • Gently wipe flowers with a wet paper towel
  • Remove stamen from the center of the blossom, using scissors
  • Mix cheese, herbs & any other desired fillings 
  • Use a piping bag to squeeze the cheese mixture into the blossoms (if you don’t have a piping bag, simply use a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off)
  • Twist the tops of the blossoms shut as tightly as possible

Cooking the blossoms, stuffed or un-stuffed:

  • Batter & deep fry the blossoms; use a batter of sparkling water or beer, flour & egg
  • Pan fry the blossoms with olive oil & garlic
  • Drizzle olive oil on the blossoms & bake on a foil-lined cookie sheet
  • Add to pasta, on top of pizza or eat them raw in a salad

Recipe tips & tricks from Alex Chesney, RD