Low Carb Meaty & Cheesy Zucchini Lasagna w/ Ground Turkey

How to make a meaty & cheesy low-carb zucchini lasagna with ground turkey. It’s nutrient-dense & flavor-rich with spinach, mushrooms, mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta cheese, and garlic. Enjoy classic lasagna without pasta and gluten!

How to make a meaty & cheesy low-carb zucchini lasagna w/ ground turkey. Nutrient-dense & flavor-rich with spinach, mushrooms, & mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta cheese, and garlic.

Does the sight and smell of cheesy, meaty lasagna make your mouth water? But, like me, do you avoid it because of the pasta and gluten overload? Well, I’m excited to show you how to make my healthy meaty, cheesy gluten-free zucchini lasagna that is nutrient-dense, plant-based, and with all the yummy classic flavor of the original. 

It’s full of fresh veggies, including zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes. And they’re camouflaged between creamy layers of ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. Yes, you can enjoy this classic Italian dish guilt-free and with a healthy amount of calories!

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Why You’ll Love My Meaty & Cheesy Low Carb Zucchini Lasagna with Ground Turkey Recipe

  • It has the classic Italian flavor of the original without the carbs and gluten.
  • It’s packed with camouflaged veggies.
  • No pre-cooking the zucchini required.
  • All the simple ingredients are easily digestible for a gentle tummy.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Here is everything you need to make the best-tasting low carb meaty & cheesy zucchini lasagna w/ ground turkey recipe:

Zucchinis: The zucchini layers act as a pasta replacement in this low-carb lasagna. If you prefer a different vegetable, you can use eggplant or thinly sliced butternut squash as alternatives.

Ground Turkey: Ground chicken or ground beef can be used in place of ground turkey. If you prefer a vegetarian version, you can use plant-based ground meat or diced vegetables like bell peppers and zucchini.

Marinara Sauce: You can make your own marinara sauce from scratch or use a store-bought version. If you have dietary restrictions, choose a gluten-free and low-sugar marinara sauce.

Parmesan Cheese: Substitute Parmesan cheese with Pecorino Romano or any hard cheese that you prefer.

Mozzarella Cheese: Use a dairy-free mozzarella cheese if you are lactose intolerant or following a dairy-free diet.

Ricotta Cheese: For a dairy-free option, replace ricotta cheese with a plant-based ricotta alternative, such as almond ricotta or tofu-based ricotta.

Parsley: Fresh basil or oregano can be used instead of parsley. Adjust the quantity to taste.

Spinach: Substitute spinach with Swiss chard or kale, or use frozen and thawed spinach. Be sure to squeeze out any excess moisture from frozen spinach.

Mushrooms: You can omit mushrooms or replace them with finely chopped bell peppers, zucchini, or eggplant for added flavor and texture.

Green Onion: If you don’t have green onions, you can use finely diced red or white onions as a substitute.

Olive Oil: Use another cooking oil of your choice, such as avocado oil or vegetable oil.

How to Make My Low-Carb Zucchini Lasagna with Ground Turkey Recipe

Step 1: Prep the Zucchini

Cut the ends off of three zucchini and then slice them 1/8″ thick using a mandoline slicer.

Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.

Spread the zucchini out in two rows on a clean dish towel. Spread a second dish towel on top of the zucchini. Fold the towels in half along the long edge. Then roll up the towels like a sleeping bag with the zucchini tucked inside. Press down on the towel roll to help express excess water from the zucchini. Set the towel roll aside.

Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.
Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.

Step 2: Prep the Veggies

Finely chop the mushrooms. My favorite method is using an egg slicer

Then finely chop the garlic cloves, green onion, and fresh parsley.

Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.

Step 3: Prep the Cheese

Grate the parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.

Step 4: Prep the Ricotta Cheese

Crack an egg into a mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Add the ricotta cheese, half the chopped parsley and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix until well combined.

Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.

Step 5: Saute

Pour one tablespoon of olive oil into a frypan set to medium/high heat. Saute the baby spinach leaves with a dash of salt until wilted. Transfer the spinach to a plate lined with paper towel. Once cooled, finely chop the spinach into bite-sized pieces.

Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.

Pour one tablespoon of olive oil into the frypan. Saute the mushrooms with a dash of salt until soft and darkened. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate lined with paper towel. 

Pour one tablespoon of olive oil into the frypan and add the chopped green onions and a dash of salt. Stir with a spatula for about a minute. Then add the chopped garlic and stir. Add the ground turkey, Italian seasoning, and salt and stir. Break down the turkey into smaller chunks. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the liquid in the sink and transfer the turkey to a plate lined with a paper towel to rest.

Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.

Combine the cooked spinach, mushrooms, ground turkey and marinara sauce in a bowl and stir until well-combined.

Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.

Step 6: Assemble the Lasagna

Spray your 7.5×10.5″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, then pour about ¼ cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of your pan.

Then layer your zucchini strips side by side. You can easily break off the ends to fit if they are too long for your pan. And if they’re too short, you can piece them together.

Now you can pour half of the meat mixture and spread it evenly. Then pour half of the ricotta cheese mixture and spread it around evenly.

Next comes ⅓ of the shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Then repeat another layer of zucchini, followed by the remainder of your meat sauce. 

Then spread the rest of the ricotta cheese mixture and another ⅓ of the shredded cheese. 

Top your lasagna with one last layer of zucchini and sprinkle the remaining fresh parsley and cheese.

Bake at 375°F for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese on top begins to brown, and the internal temperature is at least 160°F. Set the oven to broil for two more minutes for a crispier top. Remove the lasagna from the oven and allow it to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

If there is extra liquid in the bottom of the lasagna, you can remove it with a turkey baster.

SUMMARY OF LAYERS:

  1. 1/4 cup marinara sauce
  2. zucchini layer
  3. 1/2 of meat sauce
  4. 1/2 of ricotta cheese mix
  5. 1/3 of grated parmesan & mozzarella cheese
  6. zucchini layer
  7. remaining meat sauce
  8. remaining  ricotta cheese mix
  9. 1/3 of grated parmesan & mozzarella cheese
  10. zucchini layer
  11. remaining chopped parsley
  12. remaining grated parmesan & mozzarella cheese
Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.
Adding wet ingredients to muffin batter.
Mixing cranberries into muffin batter.

Ground Turkey Zucchini Lasagna Recipe Notes

Squeezing Excess Liquid: Thoroughly squeezing excess moisture from the zucchini is essential to prevent the lasagna from becoming too watery. Be sure to follow the instructions for pressing the zucchini between towels to remove moisture effectively.

Layering Zucchini: When layering the zucchini, slightly overlap the slices to create a solid base for the lasagna. Cut the zucchini to fit your baking dish, ensuring a consistent layer.

Monitoring Cooking Time: Keep an eye on the lasagna while it’s in the oven. Cooking times may vary depending on your oven, so it’s important to ensure that the top layer of cheese becomes golden brown and bubbly. You can use a food thermometer to confirm that the internal temperature reaches at least 160°F (71°C).

Crispy Top: If you desire a crispier top layer, set the oven to broil for the final 2 minutes. This will create a golden, slightly crunchy texture.

Resting Before Serving: Allowing the lasagna to cool for about 15 minutes after baking is essential. This resting period helps the layers set and makes it easier to slice and serve. It also allows the flavors to meld together.

Refrigeration:

Cool Completely: Before storing the lasagna, allow it to cool to room temperature. This prevents condensation inside the storage container, which can lead to sogginess.

Airtight Container: Place any leftover lasagna in an airtight container. You can also cover the baking dish with aluminum foil if it has a tight seal. Make sure the lid or foil is sealed well to prevent air and moisture from entering.

Use Within 3 Days: Refrigerated leftover lasagna should be consumed within 3 days to ensure it stays fresh and safe to eat.

Freezing: If you plan to freeze portions, cut the lasagna into individual servings. Wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Alternatively, use freezer-safe airtight containers.

Labeling: Label each portion with the date and any reheating instructions to help you keep track of what’s in your freezer.

Freeze Quickly: Place the wrapped portions in the freezer promptly to maintain their quality.

Storage Duration: Frozen lasagna can be stored for up to 2-3 months without a significant loss in quality.

Reheating from Refrigeration: 

Microwave: For a single serving, reheat in the microwave on medium power, covering the dish to prevent splatters. Heat in 1-2 minute intervals, checking and stirring as needed.

Oven: To reheat a larger portion, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Cover the lasagna with foil to prevent excessive browning and heat for about 20-30 minutes or until it’s heated through.

Reheating from Freezing: 

Defrost First: If you’re reheating frozen portions, it’s best to defrost them in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. This helps ensure even heating.

Oven Reheating: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the defrosted lasagna in an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and heat for about 30-45 minutes or until it’s fully heated.

Microwave Reheating: You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave. Start with medium power and heat in 2-3 minute intervals, checking and stirring as needed.

Removing Excess Liquid: 

**Before reheating from the fridge or freezer, check for any excess liquid in the dish. Use a turkey baster or a spoon to remove any collected liquid. This step helps maintain the lasagna’s texture and flavor.

Can I make this lasagna ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the lasagna ahead of time, refrigerate it, and bake it when you’re ready to serve. It’s a great option for meal prep or dinner parties.

Can I use other vegetables instead of zucchini?

Absolutely! Eggplant, thinly sliced butternut squash, or even portobello mushroom caps can be used as vegetable layers in place of zucchini.

Can I make this lasagna vegetarian or vegan?

Yes, you can make a vegetarian version by omitting the ground turkey or substituting it with plant-based ground meat. For a vegan version, use dairy-free cheese and a vegan ricotta substitute.

What’s the best way to slice the zucchini for lasagna layers?

Use a mandoline slicer for uniform zucchini slices, or carefully slice them with a sharp knife. Aim for slices that are approximately 1/8-inch thick.

How do I prevent the lasagna from becoming too watery?

Make sure to follow the instructions for squeezing out excess moisture from the zucchini using towels. This helps prevent excess liquid in the lasagna.

Can I use store-bought marinara sauce?

Yes, store-bought marinara sauce works well. Choose one that aligns with your dietary preferences, such as gluten-free or low-sugar varieties.

Can I freeze leftover lasagna?

Absolutely! You can freeze individual portions of the lasagna for future meals. Just make sure to wrap them tightly and label with the date.

What can I serve with this lasagna?

This lasagna pairs well with a simple green salad, garlic bread, or roasted vegetables. It’s a satisfying and complete meal on its own.

How do I prevent the top cheese layer from over-browning?

To prevent excessive browning, cover the lasagna with foil during most of the baking time and remove it during the last few minutes or set the oven to broil for a brief period to achieve a golden, bubbly top.

Can I use fresh or frozen spinach?

Both fresh and frozen spinach can be used. If using frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze out any excess liquid before incorporating it into the filling.

How to make a meaty & cheesy low-carb zucchini lasagna w/ ground turkey. Nutrient-dense & flavor-rich with spinach, mushrooms, & mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta cheese, and garlic.

Meaty & Cheesy Low-Carb Zucchini Lasagna w/ Ground Turkey

How to make a meaty & cheesy low-carb zucchini lasagna with ground turkey. It's nutrient-dense & flavor-rich with spinach, mushrooms, mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta cheese, and garlic. Enjoy classic lasagna without pasta and gluten!
5 from 2 votes
Servings 8
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 3 zucchinis
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 green onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups mushrooms
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1-3/4 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Cut the ends off of three zucchini and then slice them 1/8" thick using a mandoline slicer.
  • Spread the zucchini out in two rows on a clean dish towel. Spread a second dish towel on top of the zucchini. Fold the towels in half along the long edge. Then roll up the towels like a sleeping bag with the zucchini tucked inside. Press down on the towel roll to help express excess water from the zucchini. Set the towel roll aside.
  • Finely chop the mushrooms. My favorite method is using an egg slicer
    Then finely chop the garlic cloves, green onion, and fresh parsley.
  • Grate the parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.
  • Crack an egg into a mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Add the ricotta cheese, half the chopped parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix until well combined.
  • Pour one tablespoon of olive oil into a frypan set to medium/high heat. Saute the baby spinach leaves with a dash of salt until wilted. Transfer the spinach to a plate lined with paper towel. Once cooled, finely chop the spinach into bite-sized pieces.
  • Pour one tablespoon of olive oil into the frypan. Saute the mushrooms with a dash of salt until soft and darkened. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate lined with paper towel. 
    Pour one tablespoon of olive oil into the frypan and add the chopped green onions and a dash of salt. Stir with a spatula for about a minute. Then add the chopped garlic and stir. Add the ground turkey, Italian seasoning, and salt and stir. Break down the turkey into smaller chunks. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the liquid in the sink and transfer the turkey to a plate lined with a paper towel to rest.
  • Combine the cooked spinach, mushrooms, ground turkey and marinara sauce in a bowl and stir until well-combined.
  • Spray your 7.5×10.5" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, then pour about ¼ cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of your pan.
    Then layer your zucchini strips side by side. You can easily break off the ends to fit if they are too long for your pan. And if they’re too short, you can piece them together.
    Now you can pour half of the meat mixture and spread it evenly. Then pour half of the ricotta cheese mixture and spread it around evenly.
    Next comes ⅓ of the shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
    Then repeat another layer of zucchini, followed by the remainder of your meat sauce. 
    Then spread the rest of the ricotta cheese mixture and another ⅓ of the shredded cheese. 
    Top your lasagna with one last layer of zucchini and sprinkle the remaining fresh parsley and cheese.
    Bake at 375°F for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese on top begins to brown, and the internal temperature is at least 160°F. Set the oven to broil for two more minutes for a crispier top. Remove the lasagna from the oven and allow it to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
    If there is extra liquid in the bottom of the lasagna, you can remove it with a turkey baster.
    SUMMARY OF LAYERS:
    1. 1/4 cup marinara sauce
    2. zucchini layer
    3. 1/2 of meat sauce
    4. 1/2 of ricotta cheese mix
    5. 1/3 of grated parmesan & mozzarella cheese
    6. zucchini layer
    7. remaining meat sauce
    8. remaining ricotta cheese mix
    9. 1/3 of grated parmesan & mozzarella cheese
    10. zucchini layer
    11. remaining chopped parsley
    12. remaining grated parmesan & mozzarella cheese

Video

YouTube video

Nutrition

Calories: 295kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 27gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 566mgPotassium: 736mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1931IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 286mgIron: 2mg
Keyword gluten free, ground turkey, Italian, lasagna, low carb, parmesan cheese, zucchini
Did you make this recipe?Please let me know in the comments below how it turned out 🙂
5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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