WHAT ARE ZUCCHINI ROLL UPS?
Talk about a healthier comfort food, zucchini roll ups are just as they sound. A thin slice of zucchini stuffed with meat, sauce and ricotta cheese, rolled up tight and then smothered in even more cheese and baked to perfection. This is probably the best zucchini idea of all time and this is a great recipe to get your kids to eat more vegetables! It’s so much healthier then stuffed shells or traditional lasagna and it tastes amazing. This zucchini roll up recipe is also very easy to make and it looks stunning. There is something about zucchini, ground beef and tomato sauce that works so perfectly together. Is your mouth drooling yet? It should be! The best part, is this disg can be used as a main dish, or a side dish. So let’s get to making these delicious Ricotta stuffed zucchini roll ups that your entire family will enjoy! You do not need an abundance of zucchini to make these zucchini rolls. Follow my simple steps to get started!
INGREDIENTS FOR ZUCCHINI ROLL UPS.
- Ground beef
- Prego tomato sauce
- Ricotta cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Fresh basil
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Italian seasoning
- Black pepper
- Olive oil
- Pam cooking spray
- Fresh basil, for garnished
Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. Let’s start buy washing and cutting thin slices of zucchini. Cut both ends of the zucchini off and discard. Using a mandoline, slice zucchini as thin as possible. Please use extreme caution while using a mandoline slicer, you do not to cut yourself with one of these. Use a kitchen glove to be safe. Using a sharp knife for this process is not ideal, as you do not want thick strips of zucchini. They must stay the same size. Place your zucchini strips on a plate or cutting board until you are ready to assemble.
Line a large baking sheet with foil. You may need two baking sheets depending the size of your baking sheet. Spray with pam cooking spray. Using 1 tbsp of olive oil, lightly brush oil over the long strips ofzucchini. You can layer the zucchini slices, but only do two layers and then use another baking sheet. Bake zucchini for 10 minutes just to get it tender so it’s easier to roll with out ripping them. Remember, you want a tender zucchini, not overcooked mush.
PREPARE THE MEAT SAUCE.
While the zucchini is baking for these amazing zucchini roll ups, start the meat sauce. Add garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, oregano, salt and pepper to the meat and mix well breaking the meat apart with a spoon. You can do this ahead of time, before you cook the zucchini. Pour remaining oil to a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Toss in the ground beef and cook for 10 minutes or until beef has browned completely.
Add in the tomato sauce, mix well and cover. Turn heat down to medium heat and simmer meat sauce for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally, if the mixture seems to be bubbling to much, turn heat to low. Add the fresh basil and stir well.
BUILDING THE ROLL UPS.
Lets get to rolling these zucchini roll ups! Using a 11×17 casserole dish, cover the bottom of the dish with 1/4 of the meat sauce mixture. Spoon 1 tsp of meat sauce and 1 tsp of the ricotta filling into each piece of zucchini.
Roll it tight and place in the baking dish. You want to be able to see the rolled layers up right. Almost like a flower. Repeat until zucchini is gone, ready for these zucchini roll ups yet?
Spoon any remaining meat sauce over each ricotta stuffed zucchini roll. Top with the shredded Mozzarella and parmesan. Now you see the reason for sitting the rolls up like a flower. Now all that remaining meat sauce and the gooey cheese is going to sink down into the zucchini ricotta roll ups! Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted, you want a slight browning on the cheese. If you have not achieved this after 20 minutes, place under the broiler for 5 minutes on low. If you don’t have a broiler, leave in the hot oven until the cheese slightly browns.
Remove zucchini roll ups from the oven and let sit 5 minutes. Sprinkle fresh basil over the top. Scoop some meat sauce from the bottom of the baking dish and place on to each serving dish. Finally, place 7 to 8 rolls on each plate and serve! Did you enjoy this zucchini roll up recipe? Want more healthy recipes? Try my foil pack rainbow trout recipe!
SUBSTITUTES FOR RICOTTA STUFFED ZUCCHINI ROLL UPS.
Ground beef – You can substitute ground beef for ground turkey which is a healthier alternative or even try Italian sausage and it will be just as delicious
Zucchini – You can use yellow squash in place of zucchini. Yellow squash will roll up easy as well.
Ricotta – Not a ricotta fan? No problem, believe it or not, large curd cottage cheese will work beautifully in these zucchini roll ups!
Want to add some heat? – Mix in some red pepper flakes or a little bit of cayenne pepper to the sauce.
Fridge – Store a airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezer – Unfortunately, I do not recommend freezing these, because the zucchini is so thin, I do not believe it will hold up well in the freezer.
For the zucchini roll ups, you need zucchini that is not curved and super plump. If you use small zucchinis, you will need to use more then the recipe suggests.
If you do not have a mandoline and decide to cut as thin as you can with a knife, you will also need to use more zucchini then the recipes suggests.
A large vegetable peeler will also work for these zucchini ricotta roll ups, if you do not have a mandoline.
Obviously there will be left over zucchini from the scraps, use the left overs for fritters or zucchini bread!
Yes! You can stuff the zucchini with beans and use a vegan ricotta.
Zucchini roll ups
- 4 large zucchini sliced very thin
- 1 pound ground beef extra lean
- 24 oz prego tomato sauce roasted garlic
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1/4 cup parmesan shredded
- 1/4 cup mozzarella shredded
- 1/4 cup fresh basil julienned
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper fresh ground
- 2 tbsp olive oil divided
- Pam cooking spray
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, julienned for garnish
- Pre heat oven to 350 degrees Using a mandoline, carefully slice the zucchini super thin and set aside.
- Line a large baking sheet with foil, you may need a second baking sheet. Lightly spray foil with pam cooking spray. Place the zucchini slices onto the bakng sheet. Using one tbsp of oil, brush the oil all pver the zucchini. Bake for 10 minutes just to soften the zucchini up. Remove from heat and set aside. Leave the oven on at 350 degrees.
- While zucchini is baking, lets start the meat sauce. In a non stick skillet, add in remaining tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Add in the ground beef, garlic powder, onion powder, italian seasoning, orgenao, salt and pepper amd mix well. Cook meat for 10 minutes strring often, or until meat is browned. Add in tomato sauce and mix well. Cover and turn to medium heat. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add in the fresh basil, stir. Remove from heat.
- Layer bottom of a 7×11 baking dish with 1/4 of the meat sauce. Spoon 1 tsp of meat and 1 tsp of ricotta onto each zucchini slice. Roll zucchini tight and place up right into a 7×11 baking dish. Repeat process until meat sauce is gone. If you run out of zucchini before meat sauce, spoon the remaining meat sauce over the top of each zucchini roll.
- Add shredded parmesan and mozzarella cheese evenly over the top of the zucchini rolls. Bake for 20 mins. If after 20 minutes the cheese has not browned, broil for 5 minutes on low until chees3 is bubbly and browned. Remove from heat and serve!