Lasagna is a delicious comfort food. Of course with so much cheese and pasta, you can’t really eat it every day, even though I know you want to. 🙂
What if I told you that you could make lasagna and eat it every day? I have already made this low carb slow cooker lasagna twice in one month and the best part is that my fiancé absolutely LOVES this recipe. That’s a big deal because he loves his mom’s lasagna and it’s tough to compete with an Italian family’s lasagna!
What makes this lasagna so healthy?
Well, a couple of things:
1) Replacing pasta with zucchini and/or yellow squash.
The slow cooker cooks down the layers of vegetables so when it’s ready you can just slice through with a fork, just like regular lasagna!
2) Replacing ricotta cheese with cottage cheese.
Traditional lasagna recipes use ricotta cheese but cottage cheese has fewer calories and less saturated fat while still keeping all the flavor. I’m not sure how a regular lasagna would end up if ricotta was replaced with cottage cheese, but this low carb slow cooker lasagna does well with cottage cheese.
You can even find no salt added cottage cheese sometimes. I get weirdly excited when I find ‘no salt added’ items because I like to add my own salt to control sodium levels.
There are two things to keep in mind when making this lasagna:
1) Discard the vegetable peels if you want to make sure the lasagna is easily ‘sliceable’ or keep them in if you do not care.
2) There will be a lot of water during and after cooking because the vegetables have a lot of water. The excess water should thicken to a sauce after cooling for 24 hours and will continue to thicken over time. (You won’t want to wait 24 hours though and it’s okay, there’s no reason to wait!)
I love how easy this recipe is. The hardest part is waiting for it to cook or planning ahead so it’s ready when you need it, but that’s an issue with every slow cooker recipe!
- 2 large zucchini (the fatter the better)
- 2 large yellow squash (the fatter the better) or more zucchini
- ¾ cup mozzarella cheese
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Meat sauce:
- 1 lb ground turkey (very lean, I use 99% fat free)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (no salt added)
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 cups tomato sauce of choice
- Cheese filling:
- 2 cups cottage cheese (low fat)
- ⅓ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 extra large egg + 1 egg white
- 1 tsp basil
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Wash the vegetables. Cut off the ends of the zucchini and squash and cut each in half width-wise. Stand each piece up right and slowly make ⅛" to ¼" thick slices. Discard the peels (or save for another use). Spread the slices out on a couple of cutting boards, sprinkle with salt and let sit while you prepare the rest of the steps. This will pull out moisture from the squash.
- Brown the ground turkey in a medium skillet on medium to medium-high heat. Once it’s no longer pink, drain the fat (if any) and add garlic and onion. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Add basil, garlic powder, and oregano and stir.
- Once the turkey begins to show some browning, add in a can of diced tomatoes and turn heat to low. Stir then add in tomato sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes then turn heat off.
- In a medium bowl, mix cheese filling ingredients: cottage cheese with eggs, parsley, 1 tsp basil, and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
- Use a paper towel to blot away moisture from the zucchini and squash.
- Spread 1 cup of the meat sauce in a slow cooker.
- Place 1 layer of zucchini/squash in the slow cooker. Do your best to cover the entire surface.
- Spread about 1 and ¼ cups of the cottage cheese mixture.
- Sprinkle with ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
- Spread about 1.5 cups meat sauce.
- Place another layer of zucchini/squash the same way as the original layer. Top with cottage cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese, and meat sauce the same as step before.
- Place another layer of zucchini/squash, top with 1 cup meat sauce (or whatever is remaining), then top with remaining mozzarella and sprinkle with Parmesan.
- Cook on low for 4 hours.