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Think of these zucchini roll-ups like lasagna, but without the pasta! Precooking the zucchini softens it enough to roll it up with some cheese and herbs. Top with a quick fresh stovetop tomato sauce, bake, and serve!
Photography Credit:Sally Vargas
It’s high summer and a glut of fat zucchini is piled high on my cutting board. No, I do not have a garden, but my neighbor does, and I often ask myself, why, oh, why do we do this every summer?
But it is a summer rite, so let’s go with the flow. We WILL conquer that crush of zucchini!
Easy Vegetarian Zucchini Roll-Ups
A bit like cannelloni but using thin slices of zucchini instead of pasta, these roll-ups warrant center stage for a vegetarian supper, especially when you need a break from “everything grilled.” You can also make these ahead!
I first made similar roll-ups to these with small eggplants back when I did have a garden, so I set about giving zucchini that role (roll? ha ha) in my summer repertoire this year.
What’s the best zucchini for the job?
Look for large, fat zucchini that weigh just under a pound.
Once sliced, the zucchini will need a little time in a hot oven so they soften just enough to become pliable. Zucchini is a bit delicate, so be careful not to overcook the slices in the oven or they will become too soft and fall apart while rolling
When rolling the slices, use a light touch. Don’t stress too much about making perfect rolls. They tend to fall into line when you tuck them into the baking dish.
Make Your Own Quick Tomato Sauce
While the zucchini is softening in the oven, make a quick tomato sauce on the stovetop using canned tomatoes to pour over the zucchini rolls in the baking dish. When I make this sauce, I start warming the oil and the garlic in the pan at the same time. This keeps the garlic from burning and softens it just enough to infuse the oil with garlic before you add the tomatoes.
You could also make the sauce with a few fresh summer tomatoes. Remove the skins (place them in a colander in the sink and pour boiling water over them to loosen them) and chop them in a food processor to the desired consistency. Cook in olive oil in a skillet with a little chopped garlic for about 10 minutes, to reduce excess liquid.
How to make zucchini roll-ups
After the sauce is ready, it’s just an assembly job. Roll the zucchini with a ricotta filling, then arrange them in a baking dish with the tomato sauce poured over top. Bake immediately, or cover and refrigerate for a day or two.
If you make these ahead, just allow a few minutes longer in the oven than directed in the recipe so the roll-ups and sauce have time to heat all the way through. If you like, you could also serve these rolls over pasta or polenta.
More Ways to Enjoy Lasagna!
- Vegetarian Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna
- Three-Cheese Pesto Lasagna
- Buffalo Chicken Lasagna
- Lasagna Bolognese
- Four-Cheese Lasagna with Fresh Pasta
Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups Recipe
For the zucchini:
- 3 large (fat) zucchini (2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, or olive oil spray
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed in a bowl with your hands
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large basil leaves, torn into pieces
For the filling:
- 1 cup fresh ricotta
- 3/4 cup grated freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for the topping
- 1 large egg
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 20 to 30 basil leaves
- 2 baking sheets
- Parchment or non-stick foil
- A large, shallow baking dish (approximately 8x10 inches)
1 Pre-cook the zucchini: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and coat lightly with cooking spray or oil.
Cut a half-inch or so off of each end of the zucchini. Then cut a long, thin vertical slice from one side -- the goal is to have a flat surface so the zucchini will be stable as you slice. Lay the zucchini cut-side down.
Next, trim the peel from both sides, which will make the slices easier to roll up later on. Leave the top peel intact to provide a little color to your dish.
Finally, cut each zucchini lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices (a ruler helps -- the slices are thicker than you might expect!) You ultimately want 12 slices total for this dish.
Lay the slices on the sheet pans. Brush or spray the top of the slices with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the slices have softened just enough to be pliable and are slightly transparent -- check the zucchini slices frequently as they bake.
Remove from the oven and set aside until cooled. Lower the oven temperature to 400°F.
2 Make the sauce: In a wide saucepan, combine the olive oil and garlic and set the pan over medium heat.
Let the garlic sizzle for about 20 seconds, and then add the tomatoes, salt, sugar, and pepper. Bring to a boil and adjust the heat to a simmer.
Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly (precise time will vary depending on the brand of tomatoes you use). Taste and add more salt and sugar, if you like. Stir in the basil leaves.
3 Make the ricotta filling: In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt, pepper, nutmeg, pepper and parsley together.
4 Assemble the roll-ups: In a medium (8x10) baking dish, spread about 1 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom.
With the zucchini still on the baking sheet, spread about 1 tablespoon of the ricotta filling over each slice. Place a couple of basil leaves on top of the filling. Roll the slices into cylinders and set them in the baking dish with the seam sides down.
Spoon more tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle with more Parmesan. If you want to make these ahead of time, you can refrigerate them, covered, for up to a day.
5 Bake the roll-ups: Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sauce bubbles. Let the zucchini rolls rest for a few minutes. Use a large spoon to scoop the rolls into shallow bowls for serving. Serve with crusty bread and a salad if you like.
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First make the filling by starting with the tofu ricotta recipe. Set aside.
Cook onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Then add spinach and cook until wilted.
Mix the spinach mixture with the tofu ricotta in a food processor.
Slice zucchini on a mandoline. Lay sliced zucchini on a cutting board that is covered with a kitchen towel or paper towels.
Sprinkle each slice with salt. Let sit for 15 minutes so that the zucchini starts to sweat. Pat each zucchini slice off.
Spread filling on zucchini slices and roll them up.
Place rolled zucchini in a baking dish with marinara sauce. After placing all the zucchini rolls in the dish, top with more marinara sauce and filling if you have extra.
Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups
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Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups made from fresh zucchini, ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese are a healthy Italian classic.
Lasagna is a delicious comfort food that you don’t have to give up in order to eat healthier. You can make recipes like my Easy Lasagna Soup, Healthy Eggplant Lasagna and these delicious, hearty lasagna roll ups.
ZUCCHINI LASAGNA ROLL-UPS
Traditional lasagna is tasty but pretty heavy. In my recipe for lasagna roll ups, I replace the lasagna noodles with lower carb, healthier zucchini strips and I break away from the traditional casserole layout. Instead, each of the zucchini strips are curled up to create a personal lasagna roll that are great for outdoor dining and dinner parties.
Lasagna roll ups use marinara sauce, the pasta sauce that pretty much everyone thinks about when someone says lasagna, as well as parmesan, mozzarella and ricotta cheese just like the traditional recipe. The only things that are different are the much lower cook time and the fact that you don’t have to wrestle with a large pot of boiling water to make the noodles al dente before you bake them.
If this is your first time making lasagna without the classic noodles, this is a great new recipe to try out.
Here’s how to make it:
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Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups
I was inspired to make these zucchini lasagna roll-ups from a bunch of recipes I’ve seen online. I made a simple marinara sauce that simmered for an hour before preparing the zucchini lasagna roll-ups but you can use jarred sauce if you’re rushed for time. I sauteed some onion, sausage, and garlic together, and once the mixture cooled I combined it with some creamy ricotta, egg, fresh basil, parmesan, and nutmeg. I used a vegetable peeler to slice the zucchini very thin so it would be pliable enough to roll them with the filling but you can also use a mandolin. After salting the zucchini, I spread out the ricotta/sausage mixture and a bit of mozzarella cheese on each slice before rolling them up and baking them in the tomato sauce. I kept it on the healthy side but you could make this recipe more decadent by adding extra mozzarella cheese on top before baking. These little zucchini lasagna roll-ups take time to make but they are worth the extra effort. This is a healthy and low-carb recipe that my entire family enjoyed. My daughter and I loved them more than regular lasagna roll-ups, my husband said they were really good and my son liked them but said he prefers roll-ups with pasta. I served these little beauties with steamed artichokes, a crisp salad, and freshly baked bread.
How to Make Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups
Make the sauce by melting the butter and olive oil in a small Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until really softened, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
Add the blended can of tomatoes to the Dutch oven. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and allow to simmer for 15 skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes, or until tender. Add the ground sausage and cook, breaking up into crumbles and stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Drain excess fat from the pan and set it aside to cool.
Combine the ricotta cheese, egg, parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and a dash of nutmeg then season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Stir until well combined. Add the cooled sausage mixture and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Pour most of the tomato sauce in a 10-inch cast iron skillet or small baking dish.
Wipe off the excess salt from the zucchini then spread 1 tablespoon of ricotta/sausage mixture on each zucchini slice. Top the mixture with 1 tablespoon of shredded mozzarella cheese. Roll up and place in the prepared skillet.
Place into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the roll-ups are heated through.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with fresh basil sprinkled. Serve with parmesan and remaining sauce on the side.
Low-Carb Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups
Healthy Vegetarian Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups stuffed with ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella cheese. These tasty zucchini rolls present very well and make a tasty light low carb and gluten free dinner.
Zucchini makes it super easy to transform any dish into a lighter, healthier alternative. Zucchini is the perfect replacement for pasta because it&rsquos very easy to shape and becomes soft when cooked.
Today, we are transforming zucchini into lasagna and rolling them up with creamy ricotta, parmesan, marinara sauce and lots of mozzarella cheese. If you&rsquod prefer not to serve these as rolls, you can always just lay the zucchini flat in the pan and layer the cheese and sauce like a regular lasagna. Also, if vegetarian is not your thing, you can also use meat sauce and transform these lasagna rolls into meaty dinner too!
Here are a few tips to make the perfect zucchini rolls!
- To make perfect zucchini rolls, the zucchini should be sliced into very thin 1/8th inch slices. You can do this by hand or use a mandoline slicer. Please watch the video below to see how I sliced them with a knife.
- To draw all the water out of the zucchini so you don&rsquot end up with water lasagna, the zucchini is first roasted in the oven for 15 minutes. This step also helps soften it and make it easier for rolling.
Low carb zucchini lasagna rolls ups stuffed with seasoned ground beef & ricotta, with spaghetti sauce!
It’s zucchini season, and I have the perfect recipe for you, and your family to enjoy- we’re going to make Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups with Beef & Ricotta Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups with ricotta and beef!
This is a low carb recipe, that is super flavorful. It’s a tad bit time consuming ( as most lasagna recipes), but it is beyond worth the time and effort!
this zucchini roll ups recipe uses simple basic ingredients such as fresh zucchini, onions, Italian seasonings, spaghetti sauce, and more.
Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups
If you have oodles of zucchini from your garden or farmers market and you&rsquore not sure what to do with it, I have the solution for you. Zucchini lasagna roll-ups will use up your surplus and will make your taste buds very happy.
These roll-ups are also a perfect meal if you&rsquore trying to eat low carb. But even if you&rsquore not watching your carbs you&rsquoll love these. This dish is so hearty and flavorful, you won&rsquot even miss the pasta.
The key to these zucchini lasagna roll-ups turning out perfectly is to allow the zucchini plenty of time to release it&rsquos moisture and patting it all dry. If you skip this step, the dish will turn out watery.
Nestling the roll-ups in a meaty red sauce is key to making this dish nice and hearty. If you&rsquore vegetarian, you could certainly omit the ground beef and just go with marinara sauce, it will still be delicious.
It does take a bit of time to prep this for the oven, but you can assemble it ahead of time and refrigerate it until you&rsquore ready to bake it. It only bakes for about 30 minutes, so it&rsquos perfect for a busy weeknight if you&rsquove already done the prep work.
- 3 large zucchini, trimmed (about 4 pounds)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ¼ teaspoon salt plus a pinch, divided
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 4 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 ½ cups part-skim ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ cup chopped almonds
Position racks in the middle and upper third of oven preheat to 425 degrees F. Coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray.
Slice each zucchini lengthwise into 1/4- to 1/8-inch-thick strips. Discard any small or misshapen pieces. You should have about 24 strips. Brush the strips with 3 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place on the prepared baking sheets. Roast until softened, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Combine tomatoes, Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons garlic and crushed red pepper in a large bowl. Spread the mixture in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Combine ricotta, Parmesan, pepper and 1 teaspoon garlic in a medium bowl.
When the zucchini is cool enough to handle, spread a generous tablespoon of the ricotta mixture on each slice. Roll up the slices and place them in the baking dish seam-side down. Bake until hot, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place almonds, the remaining 1 teaspoon garlic and the remaining pinch of salt in a mini food processor. Process until ground to a coarse meal. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the almond mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the lasagna rolls topped with the almond mixture.