Adam Liaw's zucchini lasagne

Adam Liaw
Zucchini lasagne.
Zucchini lasagne. Photo: William Meppem

Give lasagne a lighter, low-carb spin using zucchini.


12 large zucchini

25g butter

½ onion, grated

½ cup milk

2 cups grated cheese

½ cup parmesan, grated

Meat sauce

2 tbsp olive oil

1½ onions, diced

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 carrot, finely diced

2 stalks celery, finely diced

2 tbsp tomato paste 

500g beef mince 

125ml red wine 

2 x 400g cans whole peeled tomatoes 

6 sprigs thyme, leaves only

½ tsp dried oregano 

2 bay leaves


1. For the meat sauce, heat your oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional). Heat a heavy-lidded saucepan over medium heat and add the oil, onion, garlic, carrot and celery and fry for about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and meat and fry for about 6 minutes until lightly browned. Add the wine, bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes, then add tomatoes, herbs, a cup of water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and transfer to the oven for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and simmer uncovered until the meat sauce reaches the consistency you like. Allow to cool. 

2. Peel 4 zucchini, then grate the white flesh on a box grater. Heat the butter in a small saucepan and fry the zucchini and onion until most of the moisture has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Cool. 

3. Transfer the zucchini mixture to a high-speed blender and blend with the milk to form a thick sauce. Return to a saucepan and whisk in half of the grated cheese until melted and combined. 

4. Peel the remaining 8 zucchini. Cut lengthwise into ½ cm slices. Place the slices on a plate, cover and microwave for about 5 minutes, until just softened. 

5. Heat your oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional). Spread a little meat sauce in the base of a 25cm x 35cm baking dish and then place a layer of zucchini on top. Repeat layers of meat sauce, cheese sauce and zucchini (you don't need to use all the meat sauce – save any leftovers). After the final layer of zucchini, top with the remaining grated cheese and parmesan. Bake for 35 minutes, then switch the oven to its grill setting and grill until golden. Let stand for 10-15 minutes, then serve.

Adam's tip Make double the quantity of meat sauce and freeze the leftovers to use in other dishes (or to make this again). Making larger quantities is time and energy efficient. 

Also try Adam Liaw's green olive and oregano salad