Reason # 100,000 why I absolutely hate having a website:
I don’t understand how the internet works, let alone, a computer.
And whenever there is even the smallest little problem with my website (if you follow me on social media, I basically was dying a slow death of mini heart attacks throughout the last 24 hour period) I instantly come to the worst possible conclusion (everything is gone/nothing can be restored) and want to eat the entire contents of Taco Hells (Bells) menu.
More specifically, their Beef XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito.
BUT thankfully, since I’ve been planning my meals ahead this week I had this healthy little number sitting in my fridge, waiting for my little-big man hands to serve up a healthy slice:
Summer Zucchini Pesto Lasagna.
I’m not usually a fan of vegetables attempting to disguise themselves as noodles, but not gonna lie, this lasagna did not at all feel like an intruder and I 100 percent plan on welcoming this dish into my go-to dinner rotation a couple more (thousand) times this summer.
I like my zucchini sliced 1/4″ thick, however if you prefer them to be a little thinner (more lasagna noodle like) then 1/8″ works well here. Using a mandolin helps ensure an even cut and speeds up prepping time by half. Seriously one of my favorite tools in the kitchen. Bed, bath and beyond has a couple to choose from and so that is a perfect time for you to use one of their 20 percent off coupons that literally blows up your mailbox every other day.
I think roma tomatoes work best of this recipe, but feel free to use any tomato you have on hand! I also sliced these a 1/4″ thick, partially due to laziness of actually changing my mandolin cut but I plan on using the same thickness when I make this again. So really a personal preference.
The reason you need to precook your zucchini slices is bc they retain SO MUCH water. So cooking, seasoning with a little salt, and then letting them sit and drain for a couple minutes on a paper towel really helps absorb a lot of the water making for a better “foodle” (faux noodle) texture.
I love using a combination of basil + arugula for my pesto. I tend to always add arugula to my pestos mainly because if I want to make the pesto in a larger quantity this saves money and gives the pesto more of a bite.
I prefer to use fresh mozzarella which doesn’t have the prettiest melting factor so if you are looking for better melting quality and more even coverage just use already shredded mozzarella or deli sliced mozzarella cheese that has been processed. I consider myself a mozz snob (thank you Jersey roots) so I try to stay on the fresh side whenever possible. A perfect time to not judge a book by its cover.
Summer Zucchini Pesto Lasagna
Author: Julia Calleo // My Lavender Blues
- 3 large zucchini sliced ¼ thick long strips
- 3 roma tomatos sliced ¼ thick rounds
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced into ⅛" thin rounds (or as thin as possible)
- ¾ cup grated parmesan
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 2½ cup fresh basil
- 3 cups arugula
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup parmesan
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and position rack to the middle.
- First using a grill pan (or any pan works) set heat to medium high and very lightly grease (spray oil works great for this) add as many zucchini strips that your pan allows without overlapping (you'll need to do this in a couple of batches), cooking about 2-3 minutes a side. Lightly sprinkle with salt and then remove and lay zucchini strips on paper towel. Lay one piece of paper towel on top and continue the same cooking, salt and "drain" process until all zucchini strips are cooked. Set aside.
- Next in a medium sized skillet (or may use same pan as zucchini) over medium-high heat add your ground turkey and brown. Drain fat and salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Next add all of your pesto ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Once all ingredients have been prepped you are ready to assemble the lasagna. First using a 9"x13" baking dish (or really any baking dish around that size works) take a quarter of your pesto sauce and spread out on the bottom of the dish. it will NOT be even, but just coating the bottom of the dish with a little bit of the oil from the pesto works. So don't fret. It doesn't spread out like your typical tomato sauce.
- Next layer the bottom of pan with zucchini strips. On top of that add another quarter (not cup, a quarter of what you have) of your pesto and spread out over strips (again, same thing here, it won't be 100 percent even and will be spotty, so don't panic). add half of your turkey meat on top, followed by half of your tomato slices, ¼ cup of parmesan sprinkled and then a third of your mozzarella slices (not a cup, just a third of what you have sliced). Repeat layers until everything is used up. I only had three layers (not including the bottom) and so I used the bulk of my ingredients in the middle two layers, finishing on top with just leftover zucchini, pesto, parmesan and mozzarella. No tomatoes or turkey meat for final topping. This makes cutting into the lasagna easier
- Cover the lasagna with foil (I prefer non stick) and set in oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove foil and let lasagna continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan and your cheese is nice and melty.
- Remove, let cool for 15 minutes before consumption.