Friday, September 9, 2016

Grilled Zucchini Low-Carb Lasagna with Italian Sausage, Tomato, and Basil Sauce

Grilled Zucchini Slices made into Lasagna for a low-carb and gluten-free treat! I love this method of making lasagna with thick slices of barely-grilled zucchini replacing the noodles, and this is a favorite zucchini dish I look forward to every fall.

(Makes about 8 servings, recipe created by Kalyn.) 

It's important to use a dish that's fairly deep for this recipe.  The first time I made this I used a dish that was 9" x 11" and 3" deep.  This time I used my new lasagna pan that was 12.5" x 10" and 3" deep, which worked a lot better.  I would use the larger amounts of cottage cheese and egg for if you have a deep pan like this.)

2-4 large zucchini, cut into lengthwise or round slices about 5/8 inch thick (enough zucchini slices to make two layers, be careful not to cut too thin)
olive oil, for brushing lasagna slices
Italian Herb Blend, for sprinkling zucchini before grilling (optional) 
4 cups Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce, reduced to make 3 cups. (See below for an option if you don't have homemade sauce.)
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese (or use 1 1/2 cups for smaller dish size)
4 eggs (or use 3 eggs for smaller dish size)
2 cups grated low-fat Mozzarella cheese 
1 cup coarsely grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
(or use about 3 cups of any type of white cheese that melts well)

Sauce Ingredients if You Don't Have Homemade Sauce: 
1 T olive oil 
1 pkg. (19.5 oz.) hot or mild turkey Italian Sausage links
24 oz. jar tomato-basil sauce (choose the lowest sugar sauce you can find)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (optional, but use if available)

If you don't have homemade sauce,  heat one tablespoon olive oil in frying pan with high sides.  Squeeze the turkey Italian sausage out of the links, and cook until it's nicely browned, breaking apart with a turner or potato masher as it cooks.  (Most turkey sausage will release some liquid; just cook until that evaporates.)  When the sausage is brown, add the jar of sauce and rinse out the jar with about 1/2 cup water.  Simmer until the sauce mixture is reduced to 3 cups, about 20 minutes, then stir in the chopped fresh basil if using.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Brush grill or stove-top grill pan with olive oil or spray with grill spray and preheat to high heat. (You can only hold your hand there for a few seconds at that heat.) While grill heats, cut zucchini into slices about 5/8 inch thick. Brush both sides of zucchini lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian Herb Blend if using.  Grill zucchini slices until they're lightly browned on both sides, but not fully cooked, about 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove the zucchini slices to a cutting board and press lightly with a paper towel to absorb some of the moisture.  (Put zucchini between two pieces of paper towel if it seems especially juicy.)

Beat eggs in small bowl, then stir in cottage cheese.  (If using homemade sauce, be sure it has reduced to 3 cups.)

Spray heavy ceramic or glass lasagna dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.  Then make a layer of lasagna slices, a layer with half the sauce, a layer with half the cottage cheese-egg mixture, and a layer with half the cheese. Top with second layer of grilled lasagna slices, sauce, cottage cheese-egg mixture, and remaining cheese.

Bake 30-40 minutes, or until cheese is melted and browned on top and mixture is slightly bubbling. (I hate to cover it with foil because the cheese always sticks to the foil, but you can cover it for part of the time if you don't want the top quite so brown.) Let sit at least 10-15 minutes before cutting, then cut into pieces and serve hot.  (This will be a little juicier than regular lasagna, letting it sit for a few minutes will help with that.)

This keeps very well in the fridge for several days and it might even be better re-heated, because some of the juice absorbs into the zucchini when it's refrigerated!  I would not recommend freezing.

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