A healthy & delicious twist on lasagna!
It’s been a long time coming … I’ve finally completed a recipe makeover for a classic Italian dish that captures the rich flavors and creamy texture without the gluten and excess carbs found in traditional recipes. It may sound impossible. But it’s actually quite easy!
The secret is to replace the pasta with mounds of delicious zucchini ribbons topped with an incredibly flavorful tomato-basil sauce with chunks of spicy sausage and a creamy spinach-laden filling reminiscent of traditional lasagna.
And bonus! … The entire recipe is made in just one pan. One skillet meals are a real favorite, because they save so much time – because seriously, who has time for doing lots and lots of dishes?
In just three simple steps, you can create a healthy, tasty meal chock full of fresh veggies:
• Step One: Spiralize the zucchini into ribbon noodles.
• Step Two: Make the hearty Italian sausage sauce and decadent spinach filling.
• Step Three: Layer it up in the skillet and bake – so easy and delicious!
And if you’re dairy-free there’s no need to miss out, simply check out the recipe variation provided below.
There’s just nothing better than beautiful real food that tastes amazing! Mangia!
This all-veggie-noodle spin on classic lasagna was inspired by my sweet friend Ali’s recipe for deconstructed manicotta found in her gorgeous new cookbook, Inspiralized. This amazing cookbook is definitely a newfound favorite – with 85 amazing spiralizer recipes and an entire section dedicated to teaching the spiralizing basics – what’s not to love!
If you recall, Ali popped over for a visit last spring to share her recipe for Turkey Bolognese with Zoodles with us. She was in fact the very person who inspired me to give this healthy habit a try. Of course, I was immediately smitten with this delicious method for getting more veggies on my family’s plate. That’s why I’m excited to share this new recipe for Skillet Lasagna with Ribbon Zoodles as part of this spring’s spiralizer series!
P.S. If you’re new to spiralizing, have no fear, it’s super quick, easy and delicious! Check out my photo tutorial that shows you How to Spiralize Step-by-Step. Happy spiralizing!
- 5 medium zucchini
- 4 cups loose-packed baby spinach
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup grated mozzarella
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 cup diced sweet Italian sausage links (or use 1/3 lb. ground Italian sausage)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh basil
- Spiralize zucchini using the ribbon blade; set aside. (This step can be done up to 3 days in advance. Simply store zoodles in an airtight container with a paper towel to help absorb excess moisture.)
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- In a 12” oven-safe skillet over medium heat, swirl one tablespoon of olive oil around the pan. Once pan is warmed, add baby spinach and one tablespoon of water. Toss until spinach is wilted (about 2-3 minutes). Place wilted spinach in a medium bowl. Wipe skillet and set aside.
- For the filling: In the bowl with the spinach, add all of the filling ingredients and mix with a fork until well combined. Set aside.
- For the sauce: Reheat the skillet over medium heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil and the onion. Sauté the onion until translucent (about 4-5 minutes).
- Then add the Italian sausage, garlic, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Continue to sauté an additional 3-4 minutes until sausage is cooked through.
- Add diced tomatoes with their juices, tomato paste and salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Stir constantly until sauce begins to thicken (about 5 minutes).
- Add the basil and continue to simmer, stirring frequently until sauce thickens to a paste-like consistency (about 3-4 minutes). Transfer sauce to a small bowl.
- Carefully wipe skillet and add swirl about one tablespoon of olive oil around the bottom of the pan.
- Layer the ingredients in the pan as follows: Evenly distribute 1/3 of the sauce to the bottom of the skillet and top with 1/2 of the zoodles.
- Add half of the ricotta mixture by spooning it on top of the zoodles. Then evenly distribute an additional 1/3 of the sauce on top.
- Finally, add the remaining zoodles and top with the remaining sauce and ricotta mixture. Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes until the zoodles are softened to al dente texture. (Recipe inspired by the cookbook Inspiralized by Ali Maffucci.)
If you're dairy-free – or pressed for time – the Italian sausage sauce is delicious all on it's own. Simply make the sauce. Add your favorite shaped zoodles to the skillet (in step 8 when you add the basil) and allow the zoodles to cook until al dente, making sure to toss frequently. Then, enjoy!
I knew that recipe was inspired by Ali’s because I have that book and am planning on making it tomorrow! They both look delicious!
Yes, you are so right, Melissa! Ali’s book is my absolute favorite spiralizing cookbook! You’re going to love it. I really recommend the addition of the seasonings, sausage and tomato paste, it really takes it over the top! 🙂 Enjoy! Thanks for taking the time to leave a kind note! 🙂
Sylvie Shirazi says
I love a good one pot meal and this one looks really easy to put together!
Thanks so much, Sylvie! 🙂 It really is and tasty too!
Tina @ Oh Snap! Let's Eat! says
I love the way zucchini ribbons look and taste – this looks like a delicious recipe! Bookmarking! Thanks!
I couldn’t agree more, sweet friend! I appreciate your taking the time to leave a kind note! 🙂
Andrea L. says
This was SO GOOD! I made it exactly as the recipe was written, but did sprinkle a little bit more mozzarella cheese over the top in the last 5 minutes of baking. After the second bite, my husband stated, “This recipe is a keeper!” I wasn’t sure he’d like the zucchini noodle idea, but he loved it and went back for seconds! The zucchini makes the meal filling, but much lighter than pasta. Great for the warm weather season when you don’t want to eat heavy. We love your recipes in our home! Thank you!
Thank you so much, Andrea! I’m so happy to hear that you and your husband enjoyed this recipe. And I really appreciate you taking the time to leave a kind note! What a blessing you are! 🙂 Kelly
Diane Cleek says
I haven’t read all of the materials yet so my question might be answered as I work through your website. Can I have diary during the Whole30 program. Thx.
Hi, Diane. Here are the program rules for quick reference: https://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/ In a nutshell, all dairy is off the menu while on Whole30, which is why this recipe is not listed as Whole30-friendly. If you’d like to just see my Whole30 recipes, you can check them out here: http://thenourishinghome.com/whole30-recipes/ Best to you with your Whole30 journey! With blessings, Kelly 🙂