Steaming, gooey, comforting lasagna. Cheesy low carb keto zucchini lasagna is sure to tempt even the pickiest low carb eater with Italian sausage, mushrooms, spinach, and all that amazing cheese! You can even leave out the sausage for a vegetarian option!
Oh, how I love lasagna! As a child lasagna was always on my list of favorites. Moreover, when I got to pick the restaurant for my birthday or any other occasion more often than not it was Italian. Macaroni Grill, Olive Garden, and other local restaurants, Italian has always been my favorite!
Therefore, it was a challenge at first to give up all that bread and gluten-filled glorious pasta. And then there’s my traditional birthday tiramisu. Sigh. But do you know what? I’m going to tell you a little secret. All of these amazing Italian dishes can be made over keto.
No way! You say. Yes, way! I say!
Italian dishes gone keto
So, to begin this series of fabulous Italian dishes gone keto, shall we begin with the necessity? Keto zucchini lasagna is a gloriously delicious comfort food sure to please any palate. My husband, who is definitely not low carb or keto, absolutely loves this meal and didn’t even notice the lack of glutenous noodles the last time I served it to him!
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Low carb ingredients in Italian cooking
First off, let’s think about what we love in Italian food. I’m the first to admit I’m a meat lover so beef and Italian pork sausage are high on my list. Then, of course, there’s fresh tomato sauce, basil, oregano, Italian parsley, olive oil, and peppers.
When it comes to pasta, I often substitute zucchini noodles or cauliflower. Or I just leave that part out altogether.
But wait, I almost forgot my favorite ingredient!
Many Italian cheeses are super low carb!
Don’t forget the cheese! Yes, cheese in all it’s lovely gooeyness and flavor. Romano, parmesan, mozzarella, mascarpone, and all the homemade Italian cheeses…oh, oops! Wake me up! I could think about that all day.
Did you know, one of my favorite French lessons when I taught high school French was cheese day? Yes, cheese day was necessary. The students donned their berets and sampled cheeses from all over France. Their assignment then was to discuss, en français bien sûr, which cheeses they preferred and to compare them all. Much laughter and fun was had by all!
Being a teacher, I had them write an essay about it as well.
Now, I can guarantee, if I were to teach an Italian class, there would be cheese! Cheese, true cheese, not the icky processed stuff, can be healthy fat and low carb. Then add to it protein and calcium and other vitamins. Why do you think cheese is a major food source for nearly all civilizations in history? It’s proven. 😉
Definitely, there are some you could pick over others that are easier to digest. Moreover, for someone who is lactose intolerant or has other digestive issues, cheese can actually be a healthy option if you pick the right kinds. Many of the aged cheeses such as cheddar, parmesan, and Swiss contain little to no lactose and carbs and are tolerated well.
What is Farmer Cheese and why use it in keto zucchini lasagna?
Farmer cheese is also known as dry curd cottage cheese. Basically, it’s a simple cheese made with a cheese culture. Once the cheese is formed, the liquid, or whey, is completely pressed out. That whey contains the lactose (milk sugar) which can be difficult to digest for many of us. Also, it is avoided on a keto diet.
Let’s compare the traditional lasagna cheese, ricotta, with farmer cheese.
Now, one cup of traditional whole milk ricotta has 7 carbs, 428 calories, 28 grams of protein, and 32 grams of fat.
On the other hand, one cup of farmer cheese has 0 carbs, 320 calories, 32 grams of protein, and 24 grams of fat.
Am I saying ricotta is a bad choice? Not at all! I use it for many things! However, if you’re really trying to cut down the carbs with a similar high protein cheese, this may be a good option for you. You may just need to add a little extra salt to the farmer cheese.
I use farmer cheese all the time and often substitute it in recipes. This started off because my daughter has Crohn’s disease, and it is one she tolerates well. For her, I also often substitute Monterrey Jack or Havarti cheese for mozzarella. Happy girl = happy mom!
Where can I get farmer cheese?
Sometimes it’s a challenge to find a good farmer cheese. Normally, it’s not available at regular grocery stores, but let’s hope for the future. I buy mine at our local Sprout Farmers Market but you may find it at other specialty grocery stores or local farms. Surprisingly, I discovered you can even order it on Amazon here.
I like to select mine at a store, but this at least gives you an idea of what to look for. If you do order online I would be sure to select expedited shipping. You don’t want it to go bad!
How to make keto zucchini lasagna
To begin, get out all your gadgets and ingredients and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. First, break up the Italian sausage in a large skillet and begin to brown it. Second, add in the mushrooms and stir those around to cook. After the sausage is browned and mushrooms cooked through, put in the chopped spinach oregano and garlic and stir for 3-4 minutes or until the spinach is wilted.
Now remove the skillet from the heat. In a medium-sized bowl mix together all of the cheese filling ingredients until everything is blended together well. Then take out a square 8″ x 8″ baking dish. Actually, this is the dish I use for this recipe, but it can get rather full! If you have a slightly larger dish you’d prefer to use feel free to use it instead.
Assembly of the keto zucchini lasagna
First of all, put a large spoonful of sauce in the baking dish. Spread it around to completely coat the bottom of the dish. Next, place a layer of thinly sliced zucchini.
I almost forgot. We need enough zucchini for three layers. You can use a mandoline slicer, or if you don’t have one, a very sharp knife. To be honest, sometimes I’m lazy and just don’t want to get the slicer out and clean it after so use a knife. Slice the zucchini as thin as you would like it for your “noodles”.
After the first layer of zucchini noodles, top them with half of the cheese filling mixture. Then, on top of the cheese mixture, spoon on half of the sausage, mushrooms, and spinach mixture. Next, spoon on a layer of sauce.
Then just repeat the layering again: zucchini, cheese filling, meat and veggies mixture, sauce. Lastly, place another layer of thin zucchini and top it with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (or Havarti or Monterrey jack). Why not sprinkle it with parmesan cheese too?
Now, bake it in the 350-degree oven for 30 minutes with a pan beneath to catch any overflows.
Then let it cool for at least 15 minutes and serve to family and friends!
When the lasagna content in my blood gets low, I get mean!Garfield (Jim Davis)
What’s your favorite Italian dish?
Lasagna is probably my favorite Italian food, but Tiramisu ranks up there too so you’ll see a keto Tiramisu recipe soon! What else? I love good Italian soup or my father’s favorite, fettucini alfredo. With effort, Italian food can be made with the same flavors and just as delicious in low carb form.
Until next time! Buon appetito!
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In bocca al lupo! Good luck!
Keto Zucchini Lasagna
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms
- 3 cups spinach
- 1 lb Italian sausage
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 clove minced garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
- 14 oz sugar free pasta sauce
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/8 cup shredded parmesan
- 15 oz Farmer Cheese (or mascarpone or ricotta)
- 1 clove minced garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
- 2 small/medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Begin to brown the sausage in a large skillet and add in the mushrooms. Once the sausage is browned and mushrooms cooked through, put in the chopped spinach oregano and garlic and stir until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat.
- In a medium-sized bowl mix together all of the cheese filling ingredients until everything is evenly dispersed.
- Take a square 8" x 8" baking dish and put in it a large spoonful of sauce. Spread it around to coat the bottom of the dish.
- Place a layer of thinly sliced zucchini, then top with half of the cheese filling mixture.
- On top of the cheese mixture, spoon on half of the sausage, mushrooms, and spinach.
- Next, place a layer of sauce, and then repeat the layering again: zucchini, cheese filling, meat and veggies mixture, sauce.
- Lastly, place another layer of thin zucchini and top it with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (or cheese slices). Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake it in the 350-degree oven for 30 minutes with a pan beneath to catch any overflows.
- Let it cool for at least 15 minutes and serve!
|Amount Per Serving|
|Total Fat 17 g|
|Saturated Fat 7 g|
|Monounsaturated Fat 2 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 63 mg|
|Sodium 1007 mg|
|Potassium 372 mg|
|Total Carbohydrate 6 g|
|Dietary Fiber 2 g|
|Sugars 3 g|
|Protein 25 g|