These cheesy zucchini lasagna rollups are one of the most hearty, satisfying, and dare I say EXCITING vegetarian recipes you'll ever come across! They're made with less than ten ingredients (including one or two that might surprise you), and you'll NEVER miss traditional noodles with these zucchini noodles on your plate.
Everyone once in a while, a recipe comes along that excites me so much it literally consumes my thoughts all day long. When can I eat it next? Who can I make it for? How could I make it even better?
Now don't get me wrong, every single one of my vegetarian comfort food recipes is near and dear to my heart. I love them ALL. But some just stick with me more, you know?
One example? My buffalo mac and cheese recipe with ranch. I think about it hourly.
But back to the zucchini lasagna rollups. It's truly the kind of recipe you'll take one bite of and start thinking of when you can have it again next.
I promise this recipe isn't challenging–but if you're ever going to read ALL of the content in a recipe post, please let it be this one! I include lots of important notes for making sure yours turns out just right!
If you've never cooked with zucchini noodles before, don't be scared.
All you need is a mandolin for slicing them, a little salt, and some time. Once you get some of the liquid out of them, they're the perfect texture to use for lasagna rollups! And I really meant it when I said you won't miss traditional noodles when you've got these bad boys at your disposal.
Speaking of mandolins, here's one that comes with safety gloves. Me and my sliced-in-half thumb strongly recommend the gloves.
Zucchini lasagna rollup ingredients
In addition to the mandolin, here's what you'll need:
- Medium zucchini (about four, or enough to make about 25 zucchini noodles)
- Marinara sauce
- Fresh basil leaves (just a small handful will do)
- Ricotta, freshly shredded mozzarella cheese, freshly grated parmesan
- An egg
- Italian seasoning
- Cinnamon and just a pinch of nutmeg (This is my secret ingredient...well, secret's out–and it's a total game changer. Don't skip this!)
- Salt and pepper
Preparing your zucchini noodles
Feeling a little nervous about making zucchini noodles for the first time? Don't worry, I've got you covered.
First, wash and dry your zucchini and cut the ends off so they look something like this:
Now, you'll use your mandolin (or another tool you choose) to slice your zucchini into approximately ⅛ to ¼-inch slices. They need to be sturdy enough to withstand rolling, but soft enough that they're pliable.
Once you've got at least 25 zucchini noodles, lay them all on paper towel or a dish towel. (You won't necessarily use all 25 noodles, you just want to make sure you have more than you need rather than not enough!)
Sprinkle them with half a teaspoon of salt. Salt draws the moisture out of zucchini which is REALLY important. If you skip this step, you'll have soggy lasagna. You've been warned! 😉
Let your noodles sit for at least 20 minutes. You'll notice the paper towel/towel start to become damp.
If you're crunched for time, you can go ahead and use them now. But to get even more moisture out, I like to do this step way ahead of time.
Then after they've sat out for at least 20 minutes, I put them in a large plastic bag or Tupperware container. I put them in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, and even more moisture will collect in the container.
Then you can just dump out the excess moisture and your noodles are ready to go!
Zucchini lasagna rollup filling
Before you start making your lasagna rollups, you'll need to create your filling.
This is really easy!
In a mixing bowl:
- Beat an egg
- Add HALF the mozzarella, all of the ricotta, Italian seasoning, cinnamon, nutmeg (JUST a pinch), and salt and pepper
- Mix well!
Making your zucchini lasagna rollups
Now that your filling is ready, turn your oven to 350F and add half a cup of marinara sauce to the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish.
Time to start rolling!
Lay your zucchini noodles flat, and scoop about one to one and half tablespoons of filling onto each noodle. Spread it evenly over the noodle, leaving a bit of space at each end of the zoodle.
Gently roll each noodle up and place it standing in the baking dish.
This gets messy–don't worry about it! Nothing a little hand washing can't fix after.
Once you've filled your dish, it will look something like this, with about 20-25 filled noodles:
If you have extra filling leftover, you can plop it in and around the noodles in the dish.
Now, spread the remaining marinara sauce over the zoodles, top with some fresh basil, and the rest of the mozzarella.
Pop it into the oven for 25 minutes. Remove it from the oven and sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.
Now return it to the oven for five minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly on top.
Once your lasagna is out of the oven comes the really hard part: you need to wait at least ten minutes to eat it!
Why does lasagna need to sit?
When you let lasagna sit, it helps you avoid a sloppy mess. Some of the liquid gets reabsorbed so there's more structure to the dish. That being said, zucchini lasagna is BOUND to be a bit more "soupy" than traditional lasagna.
The good news is, that soup is basically sauce and cheese...YUM! For that reason, serving your zucchini lasagna with some French bread on the side is highly recommended. You can use the bread to absorb any sauce left in the bowl...deeelish!
Cheesy Zucchini Lasagna Rollups
Cheesy Zucchini Lasagna Rollups
- 4 medium zucchini Sliced into approx ⅛ to ¼ inch noodles (see notes in post). You need about 25 zucchini noodles.
- ½ teaspoon salt to sprinkle on the zucchini noodles
Zucchini Lasagna Filling
- 1.5 cups marinara sauce I use a sweet basil marinara
- 1 egg
- 1.5 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella freshly shredded
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- a pinch nutmeg really–just a pinch!
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 to 2 tablespoon fresh basil leaves chopped
- ⅓ cup parmesan freshly grated
Preparing the Zucchini Noodles
- Slice the zucchini (I use a mandolin), lay them flat on a flat surface that's covered in paper towel or a dish towel. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Set aside for at least 20 minutes*.
Preparing the Zucchini Lasagna
- Preheat your oven to 350F.Pour ½ cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish.
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat one egg. Add ricotta, Italian seasoning, cinnamon and nutmeg, salt and pepper (to taste) and half of the mozzarella. Mix until thoroughly combined.Lay out the slices of zucchini on a cutting board and wipe them down to remove excess moisture.Add a spoonful of the ricotta mixture on top of each zucchini slice (about 1 to 1.5 tablespoons).
- Roll each noodle, then place them standing in the baking dish. Try to have the seam resting on the side of the dish or another noodle. Repeat with remaining zucchini and ricotta mixture.Spoon the rest of the marinara on top of the zucchini rollups. Add the other half of the mozzarella cheese and your fresh basil.Bake for 25 minutes.Add freshly grated parmesan and bake for 5 more minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and lightly golden.
- Let sit for at LEAST ten minutes before serving.I recommend serving it in a bowl (use a serving spoon) with some French bread on the side for dipping!
By the way, since you likely won't use ALL the zucchini, I've got the perfect zucchini recipe for your extras:
Man, I'm excited about this one...Can you tell???
Okay, can't wait to hear what you think once you give it a try!
XO - C
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