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We cracked the code to the best zucchini lasagna! Roasted zucchini noodles and three cheeses make just the right Italian flavor.

Zucchini lasagna

After years of testing, we’ve done it: we cracked the code to the Perfect Zucchini Lasagna! You might not share our elation if you haven’t attempted a no noodle lasagna before. It’s easy to spend lots of effort and end up with a watery mess. But not with this recipe! This zucchini lasagna alternates beautiful layers of roasted zucchini noodles, hearty garlicky tomato sauce and three gooey cheeses. It tastes as good–or better–than a classic lasagna! In fact, we might pick it over the classic. Here’s what to know about making a kick-ass lasagna that happens to be gluten free, too.

Other favorites? Spaghetti squash lasagna, vegan lasagna and vegetarian lasagna.

Ingredients for zucchini lasagna

This zucchini lasagna is not a traditional lasagna made with zucchini (though that would be good, too). It’s a no noodle lasagna that uses zucchini strips instead of noodles! The zucchini makes a lovely noodle-like texture to the cheesy mess. This also makes this a gluten free, paleo and keto lasagna, if that’s your diet preference. To us: it’s just delicious! Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Large zucchini: Size matters, here! It’s nice to have larger zucchini for layering, and they fit in the pan easier than lots of small ones. But you can get away with small or medium if that’s all you have.
  • Ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese: The Italian flavors in this recipe sing with three types of cheese!
  • Homemade tarragon tomato sauce: See the section below. You can substitute oregano if you don’t have dried tarragon.
  • Lemon zest and fresh thyme: These bring a zing and freshness that’s absolutely essential to the flavors.

Have leftover ricotta? Try these Genius Ricotta Cheese Recipes.

Zucchini lasagna

How do you get the water out of zucchini lasagna?

Zucchini is over 90% water. The biggest issue with a zucchini lasagna it’s a watery mess when you pull it out of the oven. We’ve had this happen several times, so we’ve engineered this recipe to come out with the perfect texture ever time. Here’s how to get the water out of zucchini lasagna:

  • Roast the zucchini noodles. This cooks out a large amount of the water. You’ll roast them at 450 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes. (This is much more effective than salting and draining the zucchini, like some recipes do.)
  • Don’t use too much tomato sauce. Tomato sauce also has lots of moisture! This recipe calls for just the right amount of tomato sauce for the pan.
  • Thicken the tomato sauce with cornstarch. This is another preventative measure! Adding a little cornstarch makes an even thicker tomato sauce with less water.
  • Let the lasagna cool for 15 to 20 minutes to set. Right out of the oven, there may be a little moisture. Let the lasagna sit and cool, which lets it absorb any remaining moisture.

With these steps, you’ll find this zucchini lasagna is not watery and has the perfect classic lasagna texture.

Best Zucchini Lasagna

Use a 9 x 9 pan, or equivalent volume

One note for the size of this recipe! You can only roast 2 pounds of zucchini at one time, and this makes just enough noodles for a 9 x 9 pan. If you’re cooking for more people, you can do 1.5 times the recipe for a 9 x 13 pan, or do two 9 x 9 pans. Just note that you’ll have to cook two batches of zucchini noodles! A good make ahead tip could be to roast the zucchini noodles in advance (see below).

In these photos, you’ll see we used a small rectangular baking dish that is the same volume as a 9 x 9″ pan (10 cups volume or 2.5 quarts).

Zucchini noodles
Layering the zucchini noodles

Make the homemade tomato sauce

For this zucchini lasagna, we recommend to make this homemade tomato sauce instead of using a purchased marinara sauce. Why?

  • The sauce has incredible flavor. The tomato sauce is one of the biggest influences on flavor in a lasagna We promise it’s worth the time to make it!
  • It’s thickened to avoid watery lasagna. As we noted above, this sauce is thickened so it avoids the problem of too much water. Many store-bought sauces can be too water.
  • The dried tarragon makes it a home run! Using dried tarragon in this recipe makes the flavors sing! If you can’t find it, you can use oregano. But it’s worth finding: especially if you’ve never tried it.
Zucchini lasagna
Here’s how to spread the tomato sauce and cheese layer

Make ahead tips for zucchini lasagna

This zucchini lasagna takes about 45 minutes to prepare, 40 minutes to bake, and 15 minutes to sit. So, make it when you have ample time! Here are a few things you can do to shortcut that 45 minute preparation time.

  • Roast the zucchini noodles in advance. One of the biggest time savers is roasting the noodles in advance. Roast them and then refrigerate until baking. They will accumulate moisture in the fridge, so pat them dry before assembling.
  • Make the tomato sauce in advance. It’s easy to let the tomato sauce simmer while you preheat the oven. But you can make it in advance too! Just refrigerate until serving: the flavor gets better over time.
Best zucchini lasagna

More zucchini recipes

Summer is all about zucchini recipes! Here are some we recommend giving a try:

This zucchini lasagna recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo and keto.

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Best Zucchini Lasagna

Perfect Zucchini Lasagna

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


We cracked the code to the best zucchini lasagna! Roasted zucchini noodles and three cheeses make just the right Italian flavor.


  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes, fire roasted if possible
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce, fire roasted if possible
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (or oregano)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
  • 2 pounds zucchini (3 large or 5 small medium)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (1/2 lemon)
  • 1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 cups (7 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. Preheat: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare the sauce: Mince the garlic. Add the butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat: once melted, add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Turn down the heat and carefully add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, tarragon, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Remove ¼ cup of the sauce and stir it with the cornstarch, then add it back to the pan (this helps to thicken the sauce). Simmer while making the remainder of the recipe, at least 15 minutes. When ready to use, remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Roast the zucchini noodles: Slice the zucchini into noodles ¼ inch thick, using a knife or mandoline (if you have a mandoline, it’s the easiest way to get uniform pieces). You can discard the pieces that are just the peel. Place the zucchini strips on two parchment-lined baking sheets and drizzle them with olive oil, then use your hands to rub it so they are lightly coated on both sides. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided across the 2 trays. Roast 10 to 12 minutes, until just tender. Remove the pans from the oven and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the cheese filling: Destem the thyme, then roughly chop the leaves. Add 2 tablespoons thyme to a medium bowl and reserve about ½ tablespoon for topping the lasagna. To the bowl, add the lemon zest, ricotta cheese, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, nutmeg, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Turn down the oven: Turn down the heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Assemble the lasagna: In a 9” x 9” baking dish (or similar volume baking dish), spread a ½ cup tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then top with 1 layer of the zucchini noodles, half of the cheese mixture (in dollops) and about ½ cup of the tomato sauce, using a spatula to spread the sauce evenly over the cheese. Repeat again, topping with 1 layer of noodles, the remaining cheese mixture, and ½ cup of the remaining tomato sauce. Finally, top with a final layer of noodles, then another ½ cup tomato sauce. Sprinkle the entire top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, and ½ tablespoon fresh thyme.
  7. Bake the lasagna: Bake the lasagna for 40 minutes, uncovered. Let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving (this allows the lasagna to set; you can let it sit even longer if desired). Leftovers can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days and reheated in a 375°F oven.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Zucchini lasagna, Gluten free lasagna, No noodle lasagna

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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  1. Amazing! This dish is so delicious—packed with summer flavors…zucchini, tomatoes, lemon…and cheese! Made a Kale Caesar Salad recipe to accompany the lasagna. Doubled the recipe and couldn’t fit all of the tomato sauce in my baking dish; will need a bigger pan next time! And, there will be a next time because this zucchini lasagna is so delicious! Thanks!

  2. I had three massive zucchini in my CSA box this week and had a gluten-free friend over for dinner, so this seemed like a no brainer. Even my husband–who made chicken for himself because he thought there was no way this would be good–loved it. I’m going to make a few smaller batches for the freezer!

  3. I made this lasagna for myself, having just converted to gluten free, although I have cooked GF dishes for years for my son, who has Celiac’s Disease. This was amazingly delicious. Packed with flavor and so satisfying, although not leaving me feeling like I had overeaten (even though it was so good that I ate 2 pieces!). I can’t wait to make this for my son when he comes hone from college. I am making it again over the week-end for a quick week-night meal. Can you provide instructions for freezing? Should I cook it first and then reheat, or assemble, freeze, then cook? Thank you so much – I am loving your recipes and have tried several – they are all terrific!

    1. We’re so glad you enjoyed it! Re freezing — we have a method for standard lasagna, but we haven’t tested it on zucchini lasagna. In theory, we think it should work! Here it is — let us know if you try! To freeze leftovers, cut the lasagna into single servings and freeze each in separate freezer-safe containers or wrapped in plastic wrap. To reheat, defrost in the refrigerator, then place in a baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and reheat in a 400-degree oven for about 15 minutes, until warmed through.

  4. I made this for a friend of mine last night, and it was delicious!! The only change I made was that I used LOTS of Parmesan cheese to thicken the sauce. I have always done that with Italian dishes that threatened to be watery. This recipe is a winner! I’m so thankful for the people who spend years perfecting gluten free recipes!! Thank you!

  5. Can I make this a day ahead of time? Saturday morning for Sunday evening dinner? Or would it be best to do all your advance prep recommendations and assemble everything closer to cooking time?

    1. Yes! You could make the entire thing a day ahead (including baking), then reheat it! Or you could do as you say: prep all the components a few days in advance and then bake day of.

  6. I was just wondering if this recipe can be frozen successfully with out it being watery after the thaw and bake?


      1. Thank you for the Zuccini recipe list… I hope to do 4 out of the 20… 2 dats ago I received 2 of these measuring 12+” long x 4″ wide passed on from a home gardener.. Fritters, lasagna, bread + boats will be added to my regular meals now.. My family + Dr should be pleased!!! Your ideas came in the best time!

  7. Amazing zucchini lasagna! Finally one that isn’t watery!!
    We added some meat to ours with a some hearty mushrooms and it was fabulous! The lemon is a must!!

  8. This was super delicious. Made it twice in two days. That lemon and thyme in the cheese mixture really puts it over the top. :-)

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