Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini | www.floatingkitchen.net

Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini

If you’re growing zucchini plants in your garden, I estimate you’re about 2-3 weeks away from thinking “oh shit, what do I do with all this zucchini”.

Zucchini is prolific. And it’s easy to get overwhelmed with a bumper crop. Which is why there are so many recipes on the internet dedicated to using up as much of it as humanly possible. We’re sneaking zucchini into breads, brownies, tacos, salads…and just about everything else we can think of.

These Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini are one of my new favorite ways to tackle a big pile of zucchini. And not in a sneaky way, either. In fact, I’d say these Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini are rather “zucchini forward”!

I’m also loving this recipe because it scratches my lasagna itch. I don’t typically make a lot of lasagnas in the Summer months, because it’s more of a cold-weather food for me. But this recipe gives me all the flavors and ingredients I love about lasagna, but in a much more seasonal packaging!

Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini | www.floatingkitchen.net

The first step to making these Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini is choosing your zucchini. This recipe is made in a 9 X 13-inch baking pan, so I aim for zucchini that are about 8-inches long. Zucchini that’s on the thicker side will give you more room for the filling, so plump is OK. And zucchini that’s uniform in size will ensure everything cooks within the same time frame.

Zucchini flesh is tender and can easily be scooped out using a small spoon. But my favorite tool for this task is actually a melon baller. So if you have one, give that a try!

There are no noodles in this Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini recipe, but the other traditional lasagna components are all there. The ricotta filling is made with whole-milk ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs and an egg. The sausage sauce is made with marinara sauce, spicy Italian sausage, garlic and other seasonings. I also put some of the scooped zucchini flesh into the sausage sauce, so not all of it goes to waste.

Once the zucchini halves are stuffed with the ricotta filling and sausage sauce, I finish them with shredded mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese before baking them in the oven. Keep your pan covered with aluminum foil for the first half of the cooking time, then remove it at the end to get that little bit of browning on the top of the cheese.

You can serve these Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini on their own. But I like them over a small bed of pasta. That really satisfies all the lasagna cravings!

Cheers,

Liz

Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini

Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini

At a Glance:
Yield: Makes 8 halves
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

For the Zucchini:

  • 4 medium zucchini, about 8-inches long
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

For the Sausage Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup reserved zucchini flesh, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 lb spicy Italian ground sausage
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian herb seasoning blend
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce, divided (I use Rao’s Homemade)

For the Ricotta Filling:

  • 8 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

For Finishing:

  • About 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • About 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Scrub the zucchini and slice them in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon or a melon baller, scoop the flesh out from the zucchini, being careful to leave a small border around the edges and at the bottom. Reserve 1 cup of the scooped flesh. The rest you can discard. Set the zucchini aside.
  2. To make the sausage sauce, warm the olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the 1 cup of reserved zucchini flesh and the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add the sausage and all the spices. Cook, breaking up the sausage into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until the sausage is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Then stir in approximately 20 ounces of the marinara sauce (you can just eyeball it). Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside.
  3. Add all the ingredients for the ricotta filling to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
  4. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. 
  5. Spread the remaining marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9 X 13-inch baking pan. 
  6. Season the zucchini on all sides with salt and black pepper. Arrange the zucchini in your prepared baking dish with the hollowed out-side facing up.
  7. Spoon about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of the ricotta filling into each zucchini half, spreading it out to cover the entire cavity. Then top with 2-4 tablespoons of the sausage sauce. You want the zucchini to be full and the sausage sauce to slightly mound over the top of the zucchini. Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
  8. Cover your baking pan with foil and transfer to your pre-heated oven. Bake the zucchini for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes. The filling should be bubbling. Remove and set aside to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.
  9. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Notes

Recipe inspired by The Modern Proper.

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