Tender zucchini, vegan ricotta cheese, marinara sauce, and vegan parm make the ultimate healthy comfort food. These vegan zucchini roll ups are the perfect solution to your lasagna craving, at a fraction of the calories!
Lasagna is often reserved for special holidays, given that it’s heavy in nature with a fair bit of prep work involved.
But these vegan lasagna roll ups are simple to whip up, and at a fraction of the calories! Using vegetables to replace the wheat pasta keeps it low-carb and far more wholesome.
Some added bonuses? This dish is naturally gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, dairy-free, and free from most common allergens.
Ingredients + Substitutions
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Zucchini: Choose zucchini that are long for longer strips for rolling. This recipe will also work with eggplant if preferred.
- Cashews: Use raw cashews that are unsalted. Or sub for sunflower seeds or pepitas for nut free.
- For low fat, make it a tofu ricotta with extra-firm tofu or use white cannellini beans, but make sure to reduce the water if trying these options.
- Nutritional yeast: Adds cheesy flavour to the vegan ricotta cheese.
- Apple cider vinegar: Adds a touch of tang to your cheese. If you don’t have apple cider on hand, you may use white wine or rice vinegar, instead.
- Tomato sauce: Use your favourite brand of tomato puree or marinara. I’m using homemade.
- Basil: Use fresh instead of dried for the best flavour, but dried will work, in a pinch. Reduce the quantity to a half teaspoon if using dried.
- Garlic powder, oregano + salt: Optional for enhanced flavour, but highly recommended.
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Begin by slicing your zucchini into ⅛-inch strips. Then arrange them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels, in a single layer. Generously sprinkle with salt and set aside for 15 minutes. (photos 1-2)
Meanwhile, add all the ricotta cheese ingredients to a food processor. Blend until smooth. (photos 3-4)
NOTE: If you do not have a powerful food processor, you may soak the cashews first, to soften them. Soak in boiling hot water for 30 minutes. Then drain and add to your processor.
Next, combine the tomato sauce ingredients in a small bowl. (photos 5-6)
Add one cup of the sauce to the bottom of a casserole dish or cast iron pan. (photo 7)
By now, your zucchini should be softened. Blot the slices dry and then divide the ricotta cheese mixture among the slices. (photo 8)
Roll the zucchini strip up from the bottom. (photo 9)
Place your vegan zucchini roll ups in a baking dish, standing upright, on top of the sauce layer. (photo 10)
Ladle the remaining sauce on top of your roll ups and then sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese, if using. (photos 11-12)
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the zucchini are tender, but not overcooked. Then remove from the oven and serve with black pepper and an extra sprinkle of vegan parm.
You can use this cashew ricotta recipe and method for any style of vegan lasagna.
Not a fan of zucchini? Try it with eggplant, or stuff mushroom caps, instead. You could also scoop out the flesh and turn these into lasagna stuffed zucchini boats. Or use bell pepper. Get creative!
You can also check out these lasagna stuffed portobellos. They’re delish! 😉
Use a sharp knife and a cutting board to slice your zucchini.
Or you may use a deli slicer or mandoline for perfectly even slices. Use extreme caution if using these tools.
Keep leftovers in a sealed container in your fridge for 2-3 days and reheat in the oven, or on the stovetop.
You may also freeze your zucchini lasagna roll ups in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Then thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and reheat in the oven.
- If you do not have a powerful food processor, you may soak the cashews first, to soften them. Soak in boiling hot water for 30 minutes. Then drain and add to your processor.
- Do not skip salting the zucchini. The step is what makes your zucchini soft enough for rolling while releasing excess moisture.
More vegan zucchini recipes
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- 2 pounds zucchini approx. 3 medium zucchini
For the vegan ricotta cheese
For the sauce
- 1.5 cups tomato sauce or puree
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh basil finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ cup vegan parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Then grab a large baking sheet and line it with paper towels or a clean dishtowel.
- Slice the zucchini lengthwise into ⅛ inch thick slices. Arrange the slices in a single layer on your baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt. Set aside and let rest for 15 minutes. (The salt will soften the zucchini, release excess moisture and make them pliable for rolling.)
- Meanwhile, prepare your cheese by adding all the vegan ricotta ingredients to your food processor. Blend until smooth and set aside.
- Now, combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- By now, your zucchini should be ready for rolling. Pat the slices dry to remove the excess moisture. Then spread 1 cup of the prepared tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish or 10-inch cast iron pan. (Or another oven safe dish.)
- Add approx. one teaspoon of the ricotta mixture to a zucchini slice, and then starting at the bottom, roll it up. Place it in your baking dish, standing upright, on top of the tomato sauce layer. Repeat with remaining slices. Then top the zucchini roll ups with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle with vegan parm, if using.
- Cover with a lid, or parchment paper, followed by aluminum foil, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the zucchini are tender, but not overcooked. Remove from the oven and serve.