If I had to guess, I'd say that Italian goes down in our house at least once a week. Not only has it been a favorite cuisine of mine since I was little (in fact, every birthday I'd ask for spaghetti for my special dinner), but it also has so many fun elements, from lemony fish + briny olives to spicy salumis + tangy sauces.
Italian just has a special way of turning simple ingredients into something flavorful and exciting, and these Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups consist of just that - simple ingredients that come together and make an easy, but delicious meal for you + your crew!
Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups
Makes about 4-6 servings
2-3 medium zucchini
3 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp avocado oil, butter or ghee
1/2 white onion, diced
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
24 oz jar marinara
1/2 cup pesto (buy a dairy-free version for Paleo; or make your own)
small log of goat cheese (for gluten-free) or 1/3 cup nutritional yeast (for Paleo)
thinly sliced basil for topping (optional)
Begin by slicing long, thin pieces of zucchini with a vegetable peeler or carefully with a sharp knife, keeping in mind that the thinner they are, the more flexible they'll be when rolling. Then lay each slice side-by-side on a pan or flat surface covered in paper towel, and sprinkle each slice generously with sea salt. This will "sweat" the zucchini, removing excess water so the dish does not become watery when cooking.
Preheat the oven to about 375 degrees, then heat about 1 tbsp of oil in a large sauté pan or casserole skillet on medium-high heat. Once warmed, add in onions and cook until translucent. Then add ground beef, breaking up the pieces until there's an even layer of the meat in the pan. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, turning the meat over so all sides are just cooked through. When finished, drain the fat and move pan off to the side (or if you're using the same pan to bake the roll-ups, simply move the meat to a bowl off to the side). Once cooled a little bit, stir pesto in with the ground beef + onions.
Pour about a third of the marinara in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish or a skillet casserole dish, setting it next to your work station. Using a paper towel, wipe down each slice of zucchini to remove excess salt and water that has accumulated on top. Slightly layer two to three slices on top of each other and spread a small amount of goat cheese across the top. Spoon the beef mixture at the end of one side, then roll up the zucchini + beef and place seam-side down in the dish. Repeat until all the zucchini slices and/or the beef mixture is used.
Top the roll-ups with another third of the marinara (or more - I like it saucy!!), making sure each roll is covered with the sauce. If you're using goat cheese, crumble any extra on top of the dish until evenly covered. If keeping it Paleo, wait until the dish is finished baking before you top it with nutritional yeast. (You can also use parmesan or mozzarella if you prefer a dairy version.)
Place in your oven for approximately 15 minutes covered, then an additional 5 minutes uncovered, until sauce is hot and bubbling. Top with nutritional yeast, if you're using it, and/or basil for a boost of flavor. Serve with a green or roasted veggie salad on the side + enjoy!
What is your Italian favorite? Do you indulge a bit and just enjoy it once in a while? Or do you prefer to "healthify" your top recipes and cook them more often? Try these Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups and share on your favorite social platform by tagging GW on Instagram or Facebook!