Ree Drummond takes classic lasagna and gives it a healthy upgrade with her vegetarian zucchini lasagna. The Pioneer Woman star swaps out the pasta noodles with veggie and loads the dish with cheeses, sauce, mushrooms, and spinach.
Ree Drummond remakes classic recipes with a healthy twist
Drummond demonstrated how to make her veggie lasagna recipe on an episode of The Pioneer Woman dedicated to “healthy-ish” recipes. She remade the classic pasta dish by replacing pasta with zucchini “for a healthy twist on a much-loved dish.”
“Through the years I have found the most success making healthy-ish recipes,” she explained. “I don’t go whole hog and completely change my way of cooking — I just do little tweaks to my existing favorite recipes and I really love that approach.”
The Food Network host added, “Cooking healthy-ish is all about delicious food but just making little tweaks that won’t affect the flavor. Enter zucchini lasagna. I’m going to basically substitute regular pasta with sheets of zucchini and let me tell you, you won’t miss a thing.”
How to make Ree Drummond’s zucchini lasagna recipe
Drummond first sauteed mushrooms, added minced garlic and, since she was making a spinach and mushroom filling, she got to work adding spinach in batches.
“Substituting strips of zucchini is a really healthy hack,” she explained of her veggie lasagna. “You can basically substitute the lasagna noodles with zucchini, for any kind of lasagna you like.”
She continued to add more fresh spinach as it wilted down in the pan. “When I was younger, zucchini lasagna meant something entirely different,” Drummond explained. “It was actually regular lasagna using pasta noodles but with a zucchini mixture inside. So it was like a veggie lasagna. But over time, zucchini lasagna has come to mean zucchini noodles.”
For the cheese mixture, Drummond combined cottage cheese, parmesan, eggs, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. “I use cottage cheese instead of ricotta in my regular lasagna,” she shared. “I’ve always loved it. You can totally substitute ricotta for the cottage cheese or you can do half and half.”
She continued, “I swear, whenever I eat vegetable lasagna like this, I don’t even know meat exists. I don’t miss it at all. Of course, the cheese helps.”
Drummond added, “I am a big cheese fan and that’s why I kind of like low carb eating because it still allows you to eat cheese. I’ve always said, I cannot go on any diet where I have to deny myself cheese. Cheese is my life.”
‘The Pioneer Woman’ star assembled the lasagna
Drummond’s lasagna came together quickly. She cut large zucchini in thin strips, length-wise and recommended laying them on paper towels to absorb the excess moisture to keep the lasagna from getting watery.
To assemble the lasagna, The Pioneer Woman star placed some of the mushroom and spinach mixture in the bottom of a baking pan, topped it with marinara sauce, a layer of zucchini, the cheese mixture, and mozzarella cheese. Then she repeated the layers, with a final layer of spinach and mushrooms, sauce, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
Drummond baked the dish in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 40 minutes, then let it sit to set up before cutting the lasagna.
The full recipe is available on the Food Network website.
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