Ultimate Keto Zucchini Lasagna
A hearty low carb lasagna recipe that uses parmesan roasted zucchini in place of noodles, layered with a meaty tomato sauce, and a creamy ricotta cheese filling.
This keto friendly lasagna, has less than 8g of net carbs per serving!
Be sure to pair this with my Ultimate keto Caesar salad!
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Seriously do it.
The ultimate keto zucchini lasagna that gets more and more delicious with every layer.
Starting from the bottom with a rich meaty tomato sauce of ground beef and Italian sausage, followed by thinly sliced parmesan roasted zucchini “noodles”, and then a creamy ricotta cheese filling.
All this yumminess is topped off with a thick, gooey, melty, and golden brown layer of mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Hand sliced zucchini noodles are easier and safer than using a mandoline, and makes the best low carb lasagna noodle there is.
- Oven roasting the zucchini first keeps the lasagna from turning into a soggy mess.
- The creamy ricotta cheese filling is rich and flavourful making every bite better than the last.
- This keto lasagna holds together well and can actually be sliced and served.
- Very low in net carbs makes this a keto friendly lasagna for the whole family.
- This is a straightforward and easy recipe to follow that makes a large portion great for meal prepping or low carb entertaining.
What You Need to Know
The Meat Sauce
Start by browning the ground beef and sausage, once cooked make sure to drain off most of the rendered fat in the pan. While it may be yummy, it is too much for this recipe.
When combined with the fat from the cheese, this will create a greasy mess if not drained properly, your finished lasagna will be sitting in a pool of grease which is not very appetizing.
Drain off the grease after the meat is cooked and save it for later. Rendered fat makes a great cooking oil to fry eggs or veggies in.
Thick, chunky Sauce
If you are using a premade tomato sauce make sure to simmer the sauce to thicken and reduce the water content. Although the zucchini is roasted it still contains plenty of water that will be released into the pan as the lasagna bakes. If the sauce is too watery to begin with then the lasagna will become soggy and watery.
Simmer the sauce until it is quite thick and meaty looking.
Try my 20 minute keto marinara for this recipe.
Hand Cut Zucchini Noodles
There are other methods of thinly slicing zucchini into noodle shapes, but for keto lasagna, hand slicing the zucchini is the best option.
Although it may seem that you want these “noodles” super thin like actual lasagna noodles, you do not.
Thinner slices will fall apart and become mush, which will ruin your layering.
Slice each zucchini in half widthwise first, then stand them on their end and slice each one to at least ¼ inch [5-6 mm] thick.
Cutting the zucchini in half first makes slicing the finished lasagna into slices easier at the end.
Oven Roasting Zucchini Lasagna Zoodles
A quick oven roast not only browns the parmesan beautifully, it draws water out of the zucchini which prevents the lasagna from becoming soggy and water logged. This is an important step which should not be skipped.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper rather than aluminum foil as the cooked zucchini will stick the foil and shred apart when you attempt to remove it.
Creamy Ricotta Cheese Filling
This is essentially the same filling you would find in a traditional lasagna.
Ricotta cheese is mixed well with parmesan, sometimes grated mozzarella, sour cream, chopped herbs, and most importantly an egg.
The egg helps firm up this layer a little bit making it an actual cheese layer once baked.
The sour cream is like a secret weapon in this layer which makes it oh so smooth, rich, and creamy.
Make sure this layer has a spreadable consistency, if it is too thick add some more sour cream until it spreads smooth easily.
Choosing a Pan Size
Choose an oven safe pan that is at least 2 ½ inches [6 to 7 cm] deep which will give you enough room for multiple layers of each filling.
The width of the pan should be just smaller than the length of the zucchini you are using.
The zucchini will shrink once baked and if sized correctly will be a near perfect fit once laid into the pan.
Layering a Keto Zucchini Lasagna
I layer lasagna the same way my mother does, I don’t know if it’s the best way, but it works.
A small dollop of meat sauce is spread along the bottom of the pan first just to act like a non-stick coating.
Next noodles (in this case roasted zucchini noodles), and then a proper thicker layer of meat sauce.
Next spread an even layer of your ricotta cheese filling using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread evenly.
This layering is then repeated until the pan is almost full and topped off with a layer of grated mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
The amount of layers you need will depend on the size and depth of pan you choose, as well as the amount you use for each layer.
I generally aim to use a third of each of the fillings per layer which results in a nicely layered lasagna.
Keto Zucchini Lasagna Baking Time and Temperature
Unlike a traditional lasagna, nearly everything is already cooked.
While normally lasagna starts off covered in the oven to cook the noodles, that is not needed here. All we need to do is bake the cheese on top, and cook the egg in the ricotta cheese filling.
Bake uncovered in a 425°F [220°C] oven for 25-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and starts to brown.
Resting Time is Important!
After cooking remove the lasagna to rest and cool. It’s way too hot to eat anyways so no rush. It should rest for at least 10 minutes if not 20 minutes before you slice into it.
Much like resting a steak it allows the liquids to become reabsorbed and the lasagna will firm up a bit making it easier to slice and eat.
Cutting into it too soon will result in a watery mess and the pieces will not hold together well.
After resting, garnish with chopped herbs and parmesan cheese. Slice and serve!
Ultimate Keto Zucchini Lasagna
- Knife and Cutting Board
- large frying pan
- Baking sheet
- lasagna pan/roasting pan
Low Carb Meat Sauce
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound Italian sausage ground, casings removed
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups low carb tomato sauce see notes for substitute
Zucchini Lasagna Noodles
- 3 medium zucchini sliced into noodles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
Ricotta Cheese Filling
- 1 cup ricotta cheese, whole milk
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- 2 tablespoons green onion
- 1 cup cheddar cheese grated
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese grated
Low Carb Meat Sauce
- Start the meat sauce by browning ground beef and Italian sausage meat in a large frying pan over medium heat. If using whole Italian sausage, remove the casings and crumble meat before browning.
- Once browned and cooked through, drain off most of the rendered fat leaving only a few tablespoons.
- Add finely chopped garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes until the smell of garlic is quite strong.
- Next add tomato sauce of choice and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Continue to simmer to reduce and thicken the sauce. The sauce should be quite thick, a watery sauce will create a watery lasagna.
Low Carb Zucchini Noodles
- Heat oven to 375°F [190°C]
- Using a large knife, remove the tip and tail of each zucchini. Lay the zucchini flat and cut in half width wise so you have 2 smaller pieces. This makes is easier to cut into noodles and make the finished lasagna easier to cut into pieces.
- Stand up each half on its end cut into 1/4 inch [6-7mm] slices down the length with a smooth slow cut. (see recipe images in the post above)
- Place the cut zucchini slices in a large bowl with olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Toss well until the zucchini is fully coated.
- Space evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook at 375°F [190°C] for 15-20 minutes until the outside just begins to brown. This step is to reduce the moisture in the zucchini to avoid a watery mess of a keto lasagna.
- Once cooked, set aside for assembly.
Ricotta Cheese Filling
- In a large bowl, combine, ricotta cheese, sour cream, raw egg, parmesan cheese and parsley and green onion. Mix well until fully combined. The mixture should be smooth and spreadable. Add more sour cream if the mixture is too thick. Set aside for assembly.
Assembling a Keto Zucchini Lasagna (images in post above)
- Heat oven to 425°F [220°C]
- In a large lasagna pan, spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom to prevent sticking.
- Next layout cooked zucchini lasagna noodles in an even layer, followed by another thicker layer of meat sauce.
- Dollop in a portion of the ricotta cheese filling and use the back of a spoon or an offset spatula to spread evenly across the entire pan.
- Repeat the layering process (noodles, meat sauce, cheese filling) until the pan is full. Ending on a ricotta cheese layer ensures a nice smooth topping surface.
- Finish the lasagna by topping with a generous layer of grated cheese.
- Place uncovered in the middle of a 425°F [220°C] oven for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted fully and starting to brown.
- Remove and let the lasagna rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. This will let the lasagna firm up and the liquid reabsorb making it easier to slice, serve, and eat.
- Use a knife to cut into slices and serve!
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Keto Lasagna Variations
- Change the meats: Ground beef and Italian sausage is a winning combo, but any ground meat can be used in its place. If you are looking to make a vegetarian low carb lasagna try some chopped veggies like mushrooms, cauliflower, and peppers in place of meat, just be sure to cook out the water before assembling your lasagna.
- Change the cheese: Any grated cheese can be used in the top layer, and if ricotta is not your thing, try using cottage cheese in its place. My mother’s famous lasagna actually includes a layer of cheese slices like kraft singles in the middle (we call it floppy cheese). It adds a wonderful creamy layer.
- Change the sauce: A meaty tomato sauce is traditional and my favourite, but a white cream sauce or a cheese sauce would make for a wonderfully different keto lasagna!
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What to Serve with Keto Lasagna
I often enjoy this lasagna as a meal itself, it’s hearty, filling and satisfying.
If you are looking for a side dish to enjoy with this recipe, a salad is the way to go.
My ultimate keto Caesar salad is a perfect companion for this recipe. If you wish to enjoy a lighter fare try a simple garden salad with a vinaigrette or one of these keto summer salads.
Try These Simple Low Carb Summer Salads!
4 Simple Tips to Master this Recipe
- Cook off as much water as you can before assembling the lasagna. This means thickening the meat sauce, and roasting the zucchini. Otherwise all the water will be released into the lasagna pan and it will be a watery mess.
- Drain off the grease before finishing the meat sauce. This may seem unnecessary for a keto recipe, but trust me, the grease from the meat in conjunction with the grease from the cheese is too much. If you don’t drain it off, it will be a pool of grease with some lasagna in it when you are done.
- Slice the zucchini noodles thick compared to traditional lasagna noodles. At least ¼ inch [6-7 mm] thick so that it maintains some of its structure while cooking. Otherwise it just falls apart and might as well not even be there. The width of your pinky fingernail is a good gauge.
- Let it rest after cooking to avoid a watery mess, yes many steps are taken to avoid a soggy keto lasagna and this is an important one. After baking, rest and cool the lasagna for at least 10 – 20 minutes. It will still be piping hot inside and most of the liquid will be reabsorbed into the lasagna making it easier to slice, serve, and enjoy.