When you’re avoiding carbs, this is a good way of creating a tasty but pasta-less lasagne. Instead of pasta sheets, you fill a baking dish with zucchini cut lengthways between wonderful layers of meat sauce and bechamel. Ignore the fact that we used a huge hunk of butter to make the bechamel sauce. But we all know that butter (much like bacon!) makes everything taste a billion times better.
But even those who aren’t avoiding carbs (like me – I love carbs too much to deprive myself), this lasagne is perfect if you’re entertaining a group of guests or just want to try something a little bit different from a plain ol’ lasagne.
Nadia cooked up this zucchini lasagne for size people, and there was plenty left over for lunch the next day. We served it along with a salad, bruschetta and dinner rolls (smothered in Lurpak butter of course ;))
Zucchini Lasagne to feed 7-8 people
Approx 6 large zucchini, sliced into strips lengthways*
1 kg lean beef mince
1 tsp crushed garlic
2 cans diced tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup water
1 tbsp dried Italian herbs
500ml milk + more
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
*You might need more or less zucchini depending on how big your baking dish is.
To make the meat sauce:
Heat some olive oil over medium heat, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Increase the heat to high and brown the mince, breaking it up as you go. Add the diced tomato, tomato paste, water and herbs, and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes, but I’d recommend 3-4 hours. Tip: make the meat sauce the day before and reheat just before you assemble the lasagne.
To make the bechamel sauce:
Melt the butter over low-medium heat. Add the flour and use a whisk to mix it. Gradually add the milk while mixing gently. To be honest, I am not sure how much milk I used in total 🙂 I had a 1 litre bottle of milk that I was adding slowly until the mixture looked ‘right’, which to me, is basically when it looks like cake batter, or wet cement 🙂
To make the lasagne:
Preheat oven to 200ºC.
Get a baking dish. Cover the bottom with a layer of meat sauce. Spread a single layer of zucchini slices. Cover the zucchini with meat sauce, then béchamel sauce. Spread the next layer of zucchini slices, and repeat with the meat and béchamel sauces. Make sure you leave enough bechamel sauce for the final/top layer at the end.
To finish the assembling, the topmost layer should be a layer of zucchini then bechamel sauce, then sprinkle generously with grated cheese and a sprinkle of Italian herbs.
Bake until cheese is golden. Rest the lasagne for 5 minutes to set before cutting and serving.