I’m fairly certain I’m one of a handful of people who get really excited when I get to the farm see that large zucchini are 3 for $1.25. Immediately fantasies of my mom’s stuffed zucchini spring to mind, followed quickly by breads, lasagnas, thick grilled slabs, or just big old fresh cubes on a bed of romaine with a veggie party happening under some sea salt and balsamic vinegar. Yes, I fantasize about zucchini recipes and am often the benefactor of the harvest from many a friends garden.
As much as the nostalgia of my mom’s stuffed zucchini tempted me to convert it to a plant-based version, I opted instead to leave memories in the past and strive for a lasagna worthy of a Sunday in the kitchen. I think I achieved this goal rendering a round, grilled zucchini lasagna filled with yummy layers of my freshly made marinara (there was also a deal on tomatoes during the farm trip), a baked potato, plenty of mushrooms, and a tofu ricotta inspired by two recipes (one seemed too little, one seemed too much–I made one just right! See below for my version–which can be used in this recipe or any other that suits you).
The end result is full of amazing flavor and a guilt-free indulgence. Since I skipped the pasta in the layering, I may serve it with some whole grain wide noodles this week… or I may just keep nabbing big spoonfuls while it cools enough to package up for the week ahead.
Since the bounty was so great this week, I also took advantage of a relatively “cooler” day (though admittedly Friday or even yesterday would have been better baking days) to whip up a double batch of Happy Herbivore’s Fat-Free Vegan Zucchini Bread. The only thing I did differently than how that recipe was listed was to swap 1/3 of the whole wheat flour for chickpea flour and used Ener-G Egg Replacer instead of flax eggs.
After stowing away two very full baggies of chopped zucchini for salads, stir frys and the like, I sliced up what was left of half a squash for a tasty snack of zucchini “fries.” These are a cinch to make and really a great way to use up some left over zucchini! Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice up your veggie, prepare your coating (for this I used corn meal, nutritional yeast, cayenne, and garlic… but you could use bread crumbs or panko), dip the strips into non-dairy milk and roll in the coating mix. Place on the parchment paper and stick in the oven for about 10 minutes (the outside will be crispy and the zucchini tender). Mine is served here with BBQ sauce for dipping.
And there is still an entire zucchini left… so maybe I will consider transforming the stuffed zucchini recipe, or maybe I’ll make muffins the size of Montana. TBD.
Grilled Zucchini Lasagna
Tofu Ricotta (best made the day before, or at least 2 hours in advance)
1-14 ounce package of extra firm tofu, drained but not pressed
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons sea salt
- Blend all together in food processor until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3 cups marinara sauce
1 pound white mushrooms sliced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 medium potato, baked and cooled
8-10 large round slices of zucchini
- In a large skillet over medium heat, line bottom with veggie broth, add mushrooms and onions. Cooking until onions are translucent and mushrooms are thoroughly cooked. There will be extra liquid in the pan–drain off and reserve.
- Heat a grill pan to medium heat. Add a layer of zucchini. Use the liquid reserved above to baste the zucchini as they cook. Grill both sides until tender and remove. Repeat as necessary until all zucchini pieces are grilled.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a deep 8 or 9 inch casserole pan line bottom with marinara sauce to cover.
- Slice baked potato and layer over the sauce.
- Add a layer of the tofu ricotta then a layer of mushrooms.
- Add another layer of sauce, then zucchini, ricotta, mushrooms.
- Top with a layer of sauce and zucchini.
- Bake in oven approximately 45 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and completely heated through.
- Allow to set up before serving for about 15 minutes.