This Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna is a fun twist on traditional lasagna that is vegetarian and gluten free!
I’d like to introduce to you a brand new way to enjoy lasagna. No, this isn’t traditional lasagna. Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna is for when you want all the flavors of lasagna without all the heft. Don’t get me wrong, I love all that heft. The noodles, the cheese, all of it. But let’s be real. Sometimes we all need to lighten things up.
This is lasagna’s lighter sister. Instead of noodles, we have zucchini. Naturally. It’s summer; you have zucchini coming out of your ears. And for those of us who don’t grow our own, it’s super cheap at the grocery store.
Instead of meat, we have quinoa. It makes a lovely filling for this fake-out lasagna. It gives this dish protein and is neutral enough to allow the other flavors to shine. And then there’s just a small amount of cheese, to give it that cheesey-lasagnaness we all love. All of this in a perfectly gluten-free lasagna package.
I tried to get a picture of the layers for you. I kind of failed, but hopefully you get the idea.
This dish is reminiscent of a similar recipe I made years ago from a lovely vegan blog called Peas and Thank You. You might remember it? I was meal planning and the recipe popped in my head. Then, I searched online and found that blog was gone. So what’s a girl to do? I came up with my own, not quite vegan, version.
This recipe is super easy (hello–no noodles to boil) and is full of lasagna flavor. If you want a lighter, gluten-free lasagna, this is your recipe.
How to Make Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna
Here is a quick video to show you how to make this recipe!
Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna
This is a gluten-free and vegetarian lasagna that is much lighter than traditional lasagna, but has all the flavor!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: main meal
- Cuisine: American
1 1/2 pounds zucchini (I used 6 small zucchinis–if yours are larger you’ll need less)
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups water
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus a few extra leaves cut into strips for the topping
1 teaspoon dried oregano
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced (or use shredded mozzarella)
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the ends off of your zucchini and slice it length wise into the shape of lasagna noodles. If your zucchini are exceptionally large, you may need to cut it in half width wise first. Lay the zucchini on a clean towel and sprinkle with salt. Let them sit while you prepare the quinoa. This draws the water out of the zucchini so your final dish isn’t too watery.
Place the quinoa and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover. Allow to simmer until the water is absorbed, about 12-15 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce, basil, and oregano. Reserve about 1/2 cup of this and add the rest to the cooked quinoa. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. (I added 1/2 teaspoon salt and about 1/4 teaspoon pepper. It depends on the saltiness of your tomato sauce.)
Spread 1/4 cup of the reserved tomato sauce to the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish. Then add a layer of the zucchini noodles. Top the zucchini noodles with half of the quinoa mixture. Top this with 1/3 of the cheese. Add another layer of zucchini noodles and top with the rest of the quinoa mixture. Add another 1/3 of the cheese. Add one more layer of zucchini noodles and top with the rest of the tomato sauce and cheese.
Bake, covered, in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is melted. If you’d like to brown the cheese, turn on the oven’s broiler for the last few minutes of cooking time. Top with the basil strips, if desired. Enjoy!
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 192
- Sugar: 8.2g
- Sodium: 524.5mg
- Fat: 7.8g
- Carbohydrates: 18.6g
- Protein: 10.2g
Note: This recipe was originally published in 2015. Pictures were updated and a video added July 2019.
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