Who says that enjoying lasagna has to be an event mired down with gooey cheese, rich meat sauce and layers of pasta? This recipe for Walnut Tomato Sauce with Zucchini Lasagna Noodles is proof that it doesn’t! Offering a modern reinvention of lasagna, this dish uses zucchini noodles (actual strips of zucchini) and a tomato sauce filled with the goodness of walnuts in place of ground beef.
Eating more nuts, such as walnuts, is a great way to boost your health. Research shows that you can reduce your risk of cancer, including colorectal cancer, by including more nuts like walnuts in your diet. Plus, eating a more plant-based diet featuring whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and pulses and less animal protein, is a good strategy to reduce your risk of cancer. Start with this delicious and easy recipe for Walnut Tomato Sauce with Zucchini Lasagna Noodles!
Zucchini “Lasagna Noodles”
- 4 small zucchini squash
Walnut Tomato Sauce
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 5 ounces (about 2 cups) mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 32-ounce jar marinara sauce
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1/2 cup red wine*
- 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning blend
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups ground walnuts, divided
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup shredded plant-based cheese*
- 2 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
- Slice zucchini horizontally into long, thin slices (about 5 horizontal slices per squash). Place on paper towels and set aside (to soak up extra moisture).
- Place a Dutch oven or large saucepan on medium heat and add olive oil.
- Add onion, garlic and celery, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add mushrooms and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add marinara sauce, tomato paste, soy sauce, red wine, Italian seasoning, black pepper and salt (if using). Stir well and cover. Simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened and vegetables are tender.
- Measure out 1 1/4 cups ground walnuts (may chop in a food processor or high-powered blender; should resemble consistency of course grains of sand, but should not be overly processed to a flour texture), reserving remaining ¼ cup ground walnuts for topping. Add the 1 1/4 cups ground walnuts to the sauce, and heat for 2 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place one-third (6-7 slices) of the zucchini slices on the bottom of the dish. Layer with one-third of the walnut tomato sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the shredded cheese. Repeat layers two more times, for a total of three layers of zucchini, walnut tomato sauce and cheese.
- Place baking dish in the oven uncovered and bake for 40 minutes.
- Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup ground walnuts over top of lasagna and set oven to broiler setting. Broil for 2 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from oven, garnish with fresh chopped parsley, slice into squares and serve immediately.
*May substitute 1/2 cup red wine with water or vegetable broth. Wine is used in this recipe to intensify, enhance and accent the flavors in this dish and will cook out as the marinara sauce is simmering over medium heat.
*May substitute with dairy based cheese, if desired (such as Mozzarella).
This recipe was created by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian for the American Institute for Cancer Research and California Walnuts.
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This recipe contains cancer fighting foods:
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