My mother-in-law makes the best lasagna on the planet. Hands down. Ask anybody who knows her. And she’s British (in case you think you need to be Italian to get the “World’s Best Lasagna” award). Her way of making lasagna is different than the way my mom makes hers…and I believe her secret to success is the top layer of béchamel! It, seriously, was a game changer for me! I never want to compete with her (probably because I know I’d lose!) so I thought I’d try my own version where I take out the pasta, sub in some zucchini and call it a day!
Actually, I recently did a post about how to make authentic Italian lasagna and you can see for yourself how similar it is to this…
Except this zucchini version is gluten free (see below for one caveat) AND low carb…which we all need now that we have all been self-isolating and have a belly full of bread!!
Or is that just me?
Please tell me you have a belly full of bread too!
Sorry, I digress…
Back to the zucchini lasagna! Let’s put one of these babies together and serve it up. It’s just like real lasagna where it develops flavours over time and leftovers are epic!
And, pleeeease let’s not forget this recipe during zucchini season!. I mean, if you have a garden like me (or even if you are best friends with the farmer at your local farmers market), you will end up with enough zucchini for a nation! Tadah!!! Problem solved!
And, for all my gluten free peeps, this “lasagna” has no noodles so the premise of the lasagna is gluten free. There is, however, a bit of flour in the béchamel, so if you are celiac or severely intolerant, you can sub in half the amount of cornstarch for the flour.
Now, back to the business of making this dish. I think this epic zucchini lasagna will be on our table in the next few days (when I can get to the store for more zucchini!).
What about you??
Homemade Béchamel Topped Bolognese Zucchini Lasagna
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour * (*or sub in 2 tbsp cornstarch if you'd like a gluten free version)
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 225 g 1/2 lb lean ground beef
- 225 g 1/2 lb ground veal
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ½ large onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 5 medium zucchini
- 1½ cups ricotta cheese
- 1 pkg 300g frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 large egg
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 12 oz/339 g
In a large saucepan over low heat, cook the butter until it is melted; stir in the all-purpose flour (or cornstarch) and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pour the milk in slowly, whisking until the mixture is thick and smooth, add the salt and cook for 10 min or until slightly thickened. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a bowl and cover the surface with a piece of waxed paper or parchment pushing down onto the surface in order to prevent a skin from forming.
In a large skillet over high heat, add the ground beef and ground veal, seasoning with salt, and cook, breaking the meat up as it browns (should take about 5 minutes).
Remove the meat from the skillet and place in a dish; pour out the fat and wipe the skillet with a paper towel. Put the skillet back over medium heat and add the olive oil and onion, cooking until soft (about 4-5 minutes); add the garlic and cook another minute. Return the meat to the pan and add the tomatoes, oregano, pinch of the salt, and the black pepper to taste. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes; remove the lid and simmer for another 10 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, slice the zucchini lengthwise with a mandolin into thin slices (about 10 zucchini ribbons per zucchini). Sprinkle some salt over the zucchini and set aside for 15 minutes; dry the zucchini with paper towels.
Preheat a grill to medium heat and grill the zucchini until cooked (should be slightly browned), 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Place on a plate lined with paper towels and press to absorb excess moisture.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, spinach, parmesan, and egg.
Spread 1/2 cup of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9 × 13-inch baking dish. Make a layer over the sauce by laying a few of the zucchini on top of sauce to cover the bottom of the dish. Spread ½ of the ricotta mixture over the zucchini and sprinkle with 1 cup of the mozzarella; repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients for a total of 3 layers. Finish the lasagna by topping with the béchamel; cover the dish with foil.
Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil, and bake 20 minutes uncovered.
Add the rest of the mozzarella and bake uncovered until bubbling and the cheese is melted.
Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes and serve warm