Shredding the zucchini keeps the filling spreadable and makes quick work of vegetable prep. We use a standard box grater, which gets us from whole zucchini to shredded in no time. Using a food processor grater attachment is also a good idea. These are freezer-friendly and can be made in advance. Check the notes below the recipe for our tips.
8 unbroken lasagna pasta noodles
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion, about 1/4 large onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini or summer squash, shredded
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Generous handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1 large egg
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded, about 1 1/4 cups
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil then cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain then lay flat on a sheet of aluminum foil or baking sheet.
Heat olive oil in a wide skillet with sides over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent; 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, zucchini, and a pinch of salt then cook, stirring occasionally until softened and most of the liquid from the zucchini has evaporated; 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the crushed tomatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook until the liquid has thickened and reduced by half; 5 to 8 minutes. Add the basil and season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
Stir ricotta, eggs, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl until blended.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Spread 1 cup of the vegetable sauce in the bottom of the baking dish then set aside another cup of sauce for spreading on the top of the roll ups before baking (we keep it in a measuring cup).
Divide the ricotta cheese mixture between the 8 lasagna noodles and spread into a thin layer. Set one-third of the mozzarella cheese aside for adding to the tops of the roll ups before baking then scatter the remaining two-thirds of cheese over the ricotta layer. Divide the remaining vegetable sauce between the lasagna noodles, spreading it thin on top of the cheese. There should be about 1/4 cup for each noodle.
Gently roll each lasagna noodle up and place seam-side-down in the baking dish. Don’t worry if some of the filling spills out the sides, you can always spoon that back into the dish or sneak some into the sides of the roll ups if you need to.
Spread the reserved cup of sauce over the roll ups and scatter with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Loosely cover with aluminum foil then bake 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake, uncovered, until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown, about 10 more minutes.
Lasagna roll ups are freezer friendly and can be baked individually. Fill each lasagna noodle as shared above, but instead of lining the baking dish with some of the sauce, leave that out. Instead, place the roll ups, seam-side-down, into the lightly greased dish so that they are not touching each other. Cover loosely then freeze about 1 hour or until mostly frozen.
Transfer the frozen roll ups into a freezer-safe container and freeze up to 3 months. (You can freeze the leftover sauce at the same time.)
When you are ready to bake, spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or lightly oil, place one, two or more of the frozen roll ups into the dish, cover then thaw in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight. When thawed, heat the oven to 350 degrees F, spoon some of the sauce (or use jarred pasta sauce) around the roll ups, cover and bake 20 minutes. Uncover then bake an extra 10 to 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. For more make-ahead tips, see the notes below.