California-Style Zucchini Lasagna

Recipe Adapted by Chef Katie Mae; From PlantLab Culinary Academy

Makes 6 lasagna pieces | Ready in 1 hour | Stores 2 days in fridge


2 zucchinis, ends trimmed
1 large tomato, sliced ¼ inch thick and then cut into pieces roughly 1×3 inches
fresh herbs or microgreens, for garnish
sliced cherry tomatoes, for garnish
freshly ground pepper to taste


2 medium tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked for 4 hours
1 small shallot, minced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon red chili flakes, or more to taste


2 cups macadamia nuts, soaked for 4 hours
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar OR white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast


¼ cup pitted green olives
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup shelled pistachios
½ teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste
2 cups fresh basil, lightly packed
½ cup spinach, lightly packed


  1. Use a mandolin, with the thickness adjusted to about 1/8-inch, to slice the zucchini lengthwise. You want to create at least 9 slices that are 3 to 4 inches long. You can get a couple of slices from a longer slice.
  2. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, and lay out the zucchini slices in a single layer. Give each slice a light sprinkle of your no-salt seasoning, and then set the tray aside to rest while you make the cheese and puree.
  3. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes, squeezing out the excess water. Place all of the marinara ingredients in the food processor or blender and process until smooth. Place a fine mesh strainer inside a bowl, and then pour the marinara into the strainer to let excess moisture seep out. Set aside.
  4. Place all of the ricotta ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  5. In a food processor or blender, add the olives, water, and lemon juice. Blend until creamy. Add the pistachios and pulse briefly a couple of times. Then add the basil and spinach, and pulse into an even, semi-chunky consistency. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  6. Bring back the tray of zucchini slices. Using a paper towel, gently pat each zucchini dry, so they don’t add excess moisture to your dish when plating. Group the zucchini slices into threes. Bring back your three fillings so everything is easy to access as you make your lasagna.
  7. To assemble the lasagna: Take a group of the zucchini and lay out the largest slice to be the bottom layer. Top it with a spoonful of one of your three fillings, and spread it out slightly to cover the zucchini slice. Add a slice of tomato and then the next largest zucchini slice. Add a second filling and another tomato slice. Gently add the last zucchini slice and the last of the three fillings. I suggest adding less of the filling for the top layers, treating it as part of the garnish.
  8. Repeat with the remaining zucchini slices and filling. Changing the order of the fillings gives this dish a beautiful presentation. Alternatively, you could build all three stacks at once.
  9. Using a spatula (aka flipper) transfer the lasagna pieces to your individual plates. Garnish with fresh basil, microgreens, sliced cherry tomatoes, and/or freshly ground black pepper.

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I’ve been wanting to make a zucchini lasagna recipe for the last 6 months, but for whatever reason, another recipe was created instead. So naturally, I was stoked when I saw that a raw zucchini lasagna was part of my training at the PlantLab Culinary Institute.

Yet, I had no idea how much I’d love this recipe until I was putting the finishing touches on my plate. I loved being able to create a dish this gorgeous that was 100% whole plant foods without any oil or salt!

Our fabulous instructor, Mackenzie, taught PlantLab’s recipe which is plant-based, but it calls for oil and salt several times.

Being a sos-free chef (aka sugar, oil, and salt-free), I felt compelled to recreate this vibrant lasagna without any pleasure trap ingredients. My classmates didn’t, but I knew that the oil and salt were just not necessary for amazing flavor.

So that’s what I did, and now I’m inviting you to do the same.

This raw vegan lasagna is definitely more gourmet than most Plantz St. recipes, but I’m telling you it’s absolutely worth a little more prep time. The incredible line up of flavors from of the red pepper marinara, pistachio pesto, and macadamia ricotta is out of this world delicious!

Every bite is a mouthful of umami, and it doesn’t get better than that.

Just like I said with the recipe for Ravishing Red Beet Ravioli, please make some time for this recipe, so you can fully enjoy the preparation and the dining experience. You’ll be so grateful you did.


  1. Eve DesJardins

    Beautiful and awesome ingrediant combination as usual Katir. Thank you for this. One thought: It seems like it is going to fall apart when I put my fork to it..? Then it might be as well be put in a different form so the flavors can be more easily taken in together? I am going to try slightly steaming the zukes first (since I do not like raw zukes) and see about mkaing a flatter more lasagna like presentation that keeps it’s form more. I will let you know how I do.

    1. KatieMae

      I ate this lasagna with a this with a fork and knife. It did fall apart a bit but it didn’t phase me, because I enjoyed the presentation before hand. Once I was eating, it was all about the tastes and textures.

      I love the idea of making this dish into a flatter traditional lasagna! Even with the raw zucchini, I think it’d be a great dish. Although lightly steaming it will be delicious, too! Careful not to oversteam making the zucchini mush. I think a layer of sliced and cooked eggplant or sweet potato would also be delicious. The fillings are so strong in flavor, you could easily add another thin layer or two of vegetable. Definitely let us know how it turns out! 🙂

  2. Chana Aliza

    Is there a way to get salt-free sundried tomatoes? Olives?

    1. KatieMae

      Great question! I meant to talk about this in the Chef’s Notes but completely forgot. I’ve never seen or heard of salt-free olives, and salt-free sundried tomatoes are hard to come across. The best way to get salt-free sundried tomatoes is to make them yourself or find a local who makes them without the salt. The salt is a preservative so it’s unlikely you’ll find any packaged in the store without salt.

      What I recommend is first looking at the nutrition facts before purchasing and choosing the package that has the least amount of salt added per ounce. Don’t just look at per serving because the serving size can change.

      Then you can soak the sundried tomatoes and olives before using them to reduce their sodium content. The water will draw out the sodium. You can even dump the soak water after some time, and then add fresh water and let them soak again. Note soaking them will also leach some of the flavor into the water, so that’s the downfall.

      How long you soak them for will depend on how much time you have and your goals for reducing the salt vs keeping the flavor. I’ve soaked for 1 hour and I’ve soaked them overnight. I tend to let the olives soak for a lot longer than the sundried tomatoes because I don’t like to lose the concentrated tomato flavor.

  3. David Lovelady

    can only get salted pistachios in costa rica. would it be good without the pesto?

    1. KatieMae

      David, you can definitely do this without the pistachios. Instead of pistachios, you could use another nut, like walnuts, cashews, or pine nuts.

  4. mary albert

    Can you make the ricotta, pesto and marinara ahead of time?

  5. theculinarygym

    Yes Mary, absolutely, although ricotta is best when made just before assembling. It will have a fluffier texture.

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