What do you do when you have lots of fresh from the garden zucchini? Make zucchini lasagna! I made this classic Italian dinner using sliced zucchini instead of noodles. I had lots of fun experimenting to come up with this delicious little number. It's perfect for late summer and early fall when zucchini are plentiful and even more fun if you're like me and have some deer hunter's in the family. For this savory and filling meal of gluten free and, if you opt for no cheese, dairy free dinner I used deer burger seasoned to taste like a lean Italian sausage. Or if you're fresh out of wild game you can just go ahead and use hamburger. The fun part about cooking from scratch is you can make it as involved or as simple as you like. I love that this dish is so packed with flavor yet is so healthy too! In my opinion, that's the only way to eat :)
1 lb. organic hamburger
2 tbsp. Italian seasoning mix
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. bay leaf flakes
1/2 - 1 tsp. roasted red pepper flakes
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cook in large skillet until browned and cooked through. Remove to a separate bowl. Preheat oven to 425. Now back into your hot skillet add:
2 medium zucchini, sliced length wise
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1 heart of celery, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1/2 carton fresh mushrooms, sliced (about 6)
salt and pepper
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until caramelized then add remaining veggies (except zucchini), salt and pepper and saute some more. Turn heat off, return meat to the skillet, put a lid on and keep it warm. Since we're using zucchini in place of noodles we'll need something to hold our creation together. So I decided to make a crust for the bottom of the pan as a foundation for this saucy lasagna.
2 cups cauliflower "rice"
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (opt.)
Combine with a fork and smash into the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
Use your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce, make your own homemade lasagna sauce or use my super yummy marinara sauce recipe. Whatever you choose get it ready! Here's mine:
1 - 14 oz. can Italian style stewed tomatoes
1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2-3 sprigs rosemary leafs striped off, or 1 tsp. dried rosemary
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor then simmer in a pan. (Can be made ahead and bottled so you just have to open it up and pour it on)
Time to layer! You've already got the cauliflower crust on the bottom of the pan now just layer on those zucchini's you sliced as if they were lasagna noodles. Next comes the meat and veggie combo, then some sauce. Zucchini (going the opposite way as last time so that you make a checkerboard), meat/veggies, sauce, repeat until you run out. Bake at 425 for 40-45 minutes. Top with Mozzarella cheese the last 5 minutes of baking or if you're on the Paleo diet don't bother.