This noodleless vegetarian lasagna replaces the pasta with thin ribbons of zucchini, roasted for about 15 minutes first to keep them from watering down the dish. Make a quick tomato sauce flavored with capers, then mix cottage cheese with Parmesan for a creamy filling. Once your sauce and filling are ready, just sauté mushrooms and artichoke hearts, then toss them with flour to help thicken the lasagna sauce as it bakes. To assemble, simply scatter the vegetables along with some mozzarella between the layers of zucchini, filling, and sauce for a hearty, vegetable-packed meal without a load of carbs.
What to buy: We prefer zucchini squash over yellow or crookneck squash because it’s hearty enough to stand up to roasting without falling apart or sticking to the baking sheet.
Game plan: For a gluten-free lasagna, substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground arrowroot or cornstarch for the flour.
1Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange the racks to divide it into thirds.
2Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
3Add the tomato sauce, capers, and measured salt, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the flavors meld and the sauce has slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, make the filling and cook the vegetables.
For the filling:
1Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside.
For the vegetables:
1Place the zucchini slices in a single layer on 2 baking sheets, overlapping the slices slightly as needed. Roast until softened and pliable, about 10 to 15 minutes. Place the baking sheets on wire racks and set aside to cool. Move the upper rack to the middle of the oven.
2Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring rarely, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add another tablespoon of the oil to the pan and repeat with the remaining mushrooms.
3Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the artichoke hearts, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and toss to evenly coat.
1Add 1 1/4 cups of the sauce to the mushroom-artichoke mixture and toss to evenly coat; set aside.
2Spread the remaining tomato sauce in a thin layer over the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.
3Scatter a quarter of the mushroom-artichoke mixture over the sauce in an even layer. Evenly place a quarter of the zucchini slices in a single layer over the mixture. Using a small spoon, dollop a third of the cottage cheese filling evenly over the zucchini and flatten the dollops with the back of the spoon (the filling will spread out more as it cooks). Evenly sprinkle a quarter of the mozzarella over the cottage cheese filling.
4Make 2 more layers of the mushroom-artichoke mixture, zucchini slices, cottage cheese filling, and mozzarella. Make a final layer with the remaining zucchini slices, then the mushroom-artichoke mixture, and finally the mozzarella (switching up the order keeps the zucchini from burning under the cheese).
5Bake uncovered until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the top is browned, about 40 minutes. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes before slicing.