How many calories are in a piece of zucchini lasagna?

Lasagna is a delicious Italian dish that typically consists of layers of pasta, cheese, meat sauce, and other ingredients sandwiched between sheets of lasagna noodles. While traditional lasagna can be high in calories, there are ways to lighten it up, including using zucchini instead of lasagna noodles. But just how many calories are in a piece of zucchini lasagna?

What Is Zucchini Lasagna?

Zucchini lasagna is a lower-calorie and gluten-free alternative to traditional lasagna. Instead of using lasagna noodles made from wheat flour, it uses long, thin slices or planks of zucchini in their place. The zucchini planks are layered between the cheese, sauce, and other fillings just like regular lasagna noodles would be.

In addition to being lower in carbohydrates, using zucchini instead of lasagna noodles significantly reduces the calories in each serving. The noodles are one of the main sources of calories in regular lasagna.

Calories In Zucchini

To determine how many calories are in zucchini lasagna, we first need to look at the calories in zucchini itself. Here are some key facts:

  • 1 medium raw zucchini (202g) has around 33 calories
  • 1 cup of raw sliced zucchini (113g) contains approximately 18 calories
  • Zucchini is very low in fat and has zero cholesterol

As you can see, zucchini is very low in calories by itself. Replacing traditional lasagna noodles with sliced or spiralized zucchini can lead to a significant reduction in calories per serving.

Calories In Other Lasagna Ingredients

While swapping out regular noodles for zucchini slashes a significant amount of calories, the other ingredients you use will also impact the total calories:

  • Cheese: Cheese adds a lot of calories and fat to lasagna. For example, 1 ounce of full-fat ricotta cheese has about 100 calories. Reduced-fat options are lower at around 60-80 calories per ounce.
  • Meat sauce: Meat sauces can vary widely in calories depending on the type and amount of ground meat used. For instance, 1/2 cup of a beef-based sauce has 150-200 calories while a veggie sauce is lower at around 100 calories per 1/2 cup.
  • Vegetables: Any extra veggies you add like spinach, mushrooms or bell peppers contribute minimal calories.

Choosing lower-calorie options for the other ingredients can further reduce the total calories per serving in your zucchini lasagna.

What About Noodles?

For comparison, here’s a look at the calories in 3 lasagna noodles (cooked):

  • Regular wheat lasagna noodles: Around 210 calories
  • Whole wheat lasagna noodles: Around 180 calories
  • Gluten-free lasagna noodles: Around 160 calories

As you can see, a serving of regular lasagna noodles contains significantly more calories than zucchini noodles which come in at about 60 calories for 3 lasagna-sized zucchini strips.

Total Calories In Zucchini Lasagna

Now let’s put it all together to get an estimate of the total calories in a serving of zucchini lasagna:

Ingredient Calories (per serving)
Zucchini slices (replacement for 3 lasagna noodles) 60
1/4 cup reduced-fat ricotta 80
1/4 cup light mozzarella 80
1/2 cup meatless tomato sauce 100
1/4 cup cooked spinach 10
Total: 330

Based on typical portions and lower-calorie ingredient options, a single piece of zucchini lasagna can clock in around 330 calories. This is a significant reduction from traditional lasagna which can contain 500-800 calories per serving.

Here are some tips to reduce calories even further in zucchini lasagna:

  • Use part-skim ricotta and mozzarella instead of full-fat
  • Choose a tomato-based sauce instead of cream-based
  • Load up on low-calorie vegetables like mushrooms, spinach, onions and bell peppers
  • Trim any excess fat from ground beef in meat sauces
  • Opt for turkey or vegetarian “meat” crumbles instead of higher-fat meats

Making adjustments like these can allow you to enjoy lasagna while still watching your calorie intake. Zucchini lasagna provides that classic comfort food feel without all the calories!

Nutritional Benefits of Zucchini

In addition to being low in calories, using zucchini as lasagna noodles has other nutritional perks. Here are some of the key benefits of zucchini:

  • High water content – Zucchini is 95% water, making it naturally low in calories and a great food for hydration.
  • Rich in antioxidants – Contains antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin that promote eye health.
  • Good source of vitamin C and manganese – 1 cup of zucchini provides over 20% of your daily needs for vitamin C and manganese.
  • Contains polyphenols – Polyphenols like lutein have anti-inflammatory effects in the body.
  • High in fiber – The fiber in zucchini improves digestion and gut health.
  • Low glycemic index – Doesn’t significantly spike blood sugar, making it a good choice for diabetics.

Replacing refined flour lasagna noodles with fresh zucchini is an easy way to increase the nutritional value of your lasagna!

Low-Calorie Lasagna Alternatives

In addition to zucchini, there are other lower-calorie lasagna noodle alternatives you can try:

Eggplant Lasagna

Use thin slices of eggplant in place of lasagna noodles for an extra nutritional boost. Eggplant contains antioxidants, fiber and nutrients like vitamin K.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Spiralized or sliced butternut squash can stand in for noodles. The sweet, bright orange squash provides vitamin A and a dose of healthy carbs.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Strands of spaghetti squash make the perfect gluten-free, low-carb sub for lasagna noodles. Each cup of cooked spaghetti squash contains only about 40 calories.

Cauliflower Lasagna

Simply rice raw cauliflower in a food processor until it reaches a ricelike consistency to create low-cal “cauliflower rice” to layer between the cheese and sauce.

Is Zucchini Lasagna Healthy?

Zucchini lasagna made with fresh ingredients can be a very healthy meal option. Some of the key benefits of zucchini lasagna include:

  • Lower in calories and carbs than regular lasagna
  • Provides important nutrients like vitamin C, manganese and antioxidants
  • Packed with fiber which promotes fullness and gut health
  • Contains polyphenols that have anti-inflammatory effects
  • Often uses leaner meats, more vegetables and less cheese
  • Naturally gluten-free and appropriate for many diets like vegetarian

The use of zucchini and reduced-fat dairy options gives zucchini lasagna nutritional advantages over traditional recipes. Moderate portion sizes and thoughtful ingredient choices make it a smart, healthy comfort food pick.

Common Questions

Is zucchini lasagna just as tasty?

Well-made zucchini lasagna can be just as flavorful and delicious as regular lasagna. The key is slightly undercooking the zucchini noodles so they hold their texture, and using abundant flavorful sauce and cheeses. Herbs, spices and sautéed veggies boost flavor even more.

Can you freeze zucchini lasagna?

Yes, zucchini lasagna freezes well for up to 3 months. Allow it to cool completely before wrapping tightly in plastic wrap and foil. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking.

What kind of sauce can I use?

Any tomato-based pasta sauce works well in zucchini lasagna. You can use a simple marinara, meat sauce, spinach-alfredo sauce, or get creative with unique flavors like roasted red pepper or pesto sauce.

Is ricotta cheese necessary?

Ricotta cheese provides that classic lasagna taste and creamy texture, but you can substitute with cottage cheese, mascarpone, Greek yogurt or extra mozzarella if needed.

What’s the best way to slice the zucchini?

Using a mandoline slicer or spiralizer makes it easy to cut the zucchini into long, thin noodle-like strips or ribbons perfect for layering in lasagna. You can also carefully slice by hand.


Zucchini lasagna is a fresh, lower-calorie version of the traditional comfort food dish. By swapping out regular lasagna noodles with thin slices or strands of zucchini, you can save significant calories and carbs while adding nutrients. Use reduced-fat cheeses and lean meats to cut even more calories.

A serving of zucchini lasagna will have around 330 calories depending on the exact ingredients used. But you can further lighten it up by loading up on veggies, using part-skim dairy, and choosing healthy sauces. Made with fresh ingredients, zucchini lasagna can be just as delicious as the classic recipe while being significantly lighter.

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