Mexican Zucchini Lasagna
I had this brilliant idea to make a Mexican-inspired lasagna using zucchini in place of the lasagna noodles. I mixed ricotta with a little cumin, oregano, cilantro, chipotle powder and Mexican cheeses. In each layer I added taco meat, bell peppers and jalapeno, black beans, sweet corn, and in place of the tomato sauce I used some of my dad’s fresh tomato salsa. My sister interceded in the midst of my creation and asked me to do a layer of eggplant, and I thought that was a good idea, so I ended up with 2 layers of zucchini “noodles” and one layer of eggplant noodles. It was a little soupy at the end, but oh the flavors were just perfect together!
It’s a delicious way to eat your veggies, and hearty enough to make a full meal. All the adults enjoyed it for dinner, and we had plenty of taco meat so the kids enjoyed tacos while the rest of us feasted on this veggie-full lasagna. It does take some time to put together, but it’s well worth the effort. I’m thinking if you wanted to cut down on the liquid, you could add rice or quinoa or my sister says a layer of corn tortillas would help soak up the liquid. Personally, I don’t care. I’m happy with it just like it is.
- 1 15-oz. container part-skim ricotta
- 1 cup shredded Mexican blend of cheeses
- 2 - 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 sprig fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 sprig fresh oregano leaves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- A pinch of chipotle powder
- 3 medium (8-inch) zucchini and/or eggplant, sliced super-thin
- About 2 cups salsa
- 1 1/2 cups taco meat
- 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
- Chopped jalapeno (optional)
- 1 cup cooked corn
- 1 cup cooked, seasoned black beans
- About 2 cups shredded Mexican blend of cheeses
- In a small mixing bowl, mix the ricotta cheese with the other ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Lay the zucchini strips on the pan, spritz the tops with cooking spray, then roast zucchini for about 10 minutes or until tender. With a clean kitchen towel, try to squeeze as much moisture out of the zucchini as you can. When the zucchini is done, increase the heat to 375 F.
- Spray a 13x9x2-inch pan (or 2-quart rectangular casserole pan) with cooking spray. Spread a very thin layer of salsa on the bottom, then a layer of zucchini. Spoon half the ricotta mixture over it and smooth with a spoon. Add half the taco meat and spread that over the ricotta. Sprinkle with half the corn and half the black beans, then with 1/3 of the shredded cheese.
- Make another layer of zucchini or eggplant, then repeat the ricotta, bell pepper, corn, beans, jalapeno, and then another third of the shredded cheese.
- Now top with one more layer of zucchini and the rest of the salsa. Top with the rest of the cheese.
- Bake at 375 F for 1 hour 15 minutes or until some of the juices have evaporated. Let sit for 15 minutes before cutting.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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