This sliced zucchini and meat sauce casserole is a bit like a lasagna, but without the pasta. It's a very flavorful dish to make, and feels a lot like comfort food. This dish is great to make if you happen to have a lot of zucchini on hand, or if you simply try to eat less carbs.
Even though it doesn't have pasta in it, it's still delicious with a rich and flavorful meat sauce that contains some red wine. Here we like to go flavorful, yet pretty cheap. There is no point in spending a lot of money on a wine here, so go for something which you would like to drink with the meal, but nothing too fancy. We usually like to use a Chianti or something similar.
Zucchini has a lot of water in it, so to prevent the dish from getting too watery, it's a good idea to first slice the zucchini and apply a liberal amount of table salt over it. When placed in a colander, the zucchini will release liquid and will be perfect to use after 20 to 30 minutes.
This meatless lasagna would work well to freeze, so if you're looking for a nice dish to make frozen lunch boxes with to take to work, then this would be a great choice.
Sliced Zucchini & Meat Sauce Casserole (Pastaless Lasagna)
- 3 small (or 2 large) zucchinis
- 2 onions
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1.5 pound of ground beef
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- fresh pepper
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 2 cups of red wine
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ pound grated cheese (Mozzarella or Monterey Jack)
Put the oven on 375 degrees. Slice the zucchinis thinly and salt liberally between the slices. Place in a colander and let sit to release the water.
Using a large pot, put the heat on pretty high and add the ground beef, cook for a few minutes until brown, add the onions and continue to cook another 10 minutes or so. At this point add the garlic, the oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste and then cook for a minute or two before adding the diced tomatoes and red wine. Let simmer for about 15 minutes, then add the sugar and balsamic vinegar. Taste and possibly add some more salt and pepper.
Now rinse the zucchini of excess salt and dry with a paper towel.
Utilizing a 9x4 dish, first put in a layer of meat sauce, then a layer of sliced zucchini and then some grated cheese. Repeat with another layer of meat sauce, then the rest of the zucchini slices, more meat sauce and a layer of grated cheese on top.
Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes until nice and brown on top. Serve with a crisp salad, some crusty bread and a glass of the remaining wine.