These Vegan Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups combine tender zucchini noodles with a creamy tofu ricotta and tangy marinara sauce. A hearty main dish or side!
Looking for a hearty, wholesome and delicious main? Look no further! These Vegan Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups combine tender zucchini, a creamy (and cheesy) plant-based ricotta, and a tangy tomato sauce for a nutritious and satisfying meal.
Replacing traditional pasta with thinly sliced zucchini is a great way to get a serving of veggies, plus it’s naturally gluten-free and low-carb. This recipe is filling enough to serve as a vegetarian main dish, but fancy enough to serve as an appetizer or festive side, too.
INGREDIENTS FOR CHEESY ZUCCHINI ROLLS
These zucchini roll ups have all the flavor of a baked lasagna, but are twisted up in a fun shape for a delicious – an attractive – starter or main dish. They’re pretty similar to eggplant rollatini, except with squash instead 🙂
This recipe comes together with only a few simple ingredients, the main parts being zucchini “noodles”, your favorite pasta sauce, and a tofu and cashew-based herby ricotta. It’s actually the same recipe as my Easy Vegan Ricotta, but I included it in the recipe below for your convenience.
HOW TO MAKE ZUCCHINI ROLL-UPS
This recipe comes together in a few separate steps, but you can easily do some (or all!) of them ahead of time! One important note: using a mandolin slicer is *key* for this recipe — it cuts the noodles evenly, and much more than most can do with a knife. I use this affordable handheld mandoline slicer, though any will work!
- Slice zucchini thinly using a mandoline, then sprinkle with salt to shrink and soften.
- Prepare the tofu ricotta by blitzing everything together in a food processor
- Pour your favorite tomato sauce into the bottom of a baking dish and wipe the excess salt off of the zucchini “noodles”
- Dollop some vegan ricotta on each zucchini strip, then roll it up and place in the baking dish
- Bake until bubbly, then serve warm and enjoy.
I love serving these Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups as a cozy and hearty dinner (with a good amount of protein, thanks to tofu!), especially alongside a big salad and some crusty garlic bread. However, I also think you could cut this recipe in half and serve it as a fun side or appetizer when entertaining. The roll-ups themselves are the perfect bite-sized food and I love the texture combination of the tender zucchini, creamy ricotta, and chunky sauce.
COOKING TIPS + FAQ:
- Can I make this ahead of time? Absolutely! The vegan ricotta cheese can be made up to three days ahead of time. You can also assemble the lasagna the day before baking – just cover it tightly and store in the refrigerator, then let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking in the oven.
- How can I make this meatier? Make a plant-based bolognese! The easiest way to do this would be to sauté some vegan italian sausage until browned, then mix it in with the tomato sauce before adding to the baking dish.
- Make it cheesy: for an extra gooey filling, sprinkle vegan mozzarella cheese or parmesan cheese over the top of the casserole before baking!
These Vegan & Gluten-Free Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups combine tender zucchini noodles with a creamy tofu ricotta and tangy marinara sauce. A hearty main dish or side!
For the Lasagna Roll-Ups:
- 4 medium zucchini (or 3 large)
- Salt, for sprinkling generously
- 3 cups (700 mL) marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded vegan cheese, for sprinkling (optional)
- Serving suggestions: fresh basil, parsley, pesto, etc.
For the Vegan Ricotta:
- 1 14 ounce (397 g) block firm tofu, pressed*
- 1 1/2 cups (210 g) cashews, soaked* and drained
- 5 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
- Juice of 1 lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 400F and set a 9×13” casserole dish aside.
- Salt the Zucchini: Trim the ends off of the zucchini, then use a mandoline to slice the zucchini thinly lengthwise (⅛” or less). Line a baking sheet or rack with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Place one layer of zucchini strips on the towel and sprinkle with salt, then flip the strips and sprinkle with salt again. (Note: don’t be afraid to use a good amount of salt! We will wipe it off in step 4). Cover with paper towels, then repeat with additional layers of zucchini and salt. Cover the final layer of zucchini with paper towels, then set aside to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. The salt will draw excess moisture out of the zucchini and the strips will become tender.
- Ricotta: While the zucchini is resting, make the ricotta. Set up a food processor with an S-blade attachment and add the tofu, cashews, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to the base. Process for 45 to 60 seconds, until you get a creamy and fluffy texture. Scrape the sides of the food processor with a spatula as necessary, to make sure everything is evenly incorporated. Transfer the ricotta to a bowl and fold in the basil and parsley. Set aside.
- Zucchini “Noodles”: Remove the top paper towel (or kitchen towel) layer from the zucchini and use it to wipe off any excess salt. Transfer the zucchini to a plate, and repeat with the remaining layers. The zucchini should be very soft and have the flexible texture of cooked lasagna noodles.
- Assemble: Pour the marinara sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. Place one strip of zucchini onto a cutting board or plate and use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop or large spoon to place a dollop of the ricotta mixture towards the end of one side of the strip. Roll the zucchini up into a small “log”, so the ricotta mixture is surrounded by layers of zucchini. Then, place the roll-up into the marinara with one open (ricotta) side facing up. You can also place the roll-ups with both open sides in the sauce, but the ricotta will spill into the marinara more. Repeat with the remaining zucchini strips, until the casserole dish is full. Sprinkle the top of the casserole dish with vegan cheese, if using.
- Bake: Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the ricotta is golden on top. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving, to allow the sauce to thicken slightly. Top with additional fresh herbs if desired and serve warm. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Pressed Tofu: use a tofu-press if you have one, or wrap your tofu around a clean kitchen towel and place a heavy object on top. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes, ideally.
- Cashews: If you forget to soak your cashews ahead of time overnight, you can (1) cover them in boiling water and let sit for 20 minutes, or (2) cover them with water and microwave for 3 minutes, then let sit for 3-5 minutes before draining. If you are allergic to cashews, blanched almonds or pine nuts would work well instead! To make this recipe completely nut free, double the tofu and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to keep the texture creamy.
- Make Ahead: You can make the ricotta up to 3 days ahead of time – keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also assemble the roll-ups in the casserole dish up to 24 hours ahead of time – just cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. Let the casserole dish come to room temperature before baking in the oven.