Award-Winning No-Noodle Lasagna

Former First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge in 2013, calling out to kids and parents across the country to submit an original healthy recipe that would inspire families to cook together and eat wholesome meals. I submitted this recipe and won for the state of Washington! I had the honor of dining next to the First Lady and meeting President Obama, and I also chatted with many amazing kids and parents who think that fresh, delicious food is the best kind of food. This lasagna ditches pasta and uses zucchini as the noodles, and trust me, it tastes so good. My family eats the whole pan every time! If the White House kitchen staff and First Lady Michelle Obama approve of this lasagna, I think you will, too.
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Author Amber Kelley


  • 3 medium-size zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup/160 g chopped yellow onion about 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and pressed
  • 1 pound/455 g Italian turkey sausage casings removed
  • 1 28-ounce/800 g can crushed tomatoes in tomato purée
  • 1 6-ounce/170 g can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces/225 g mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 2 ounces/55 g Parmesan cheese grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF/200°C.
  2. Slice the zucchini lengthwise with a mandoline so that they are paper-thin strips. Set out the strips on paper towels to dry out while you make the sauce.
  3. Heat the oil in a large (10- to 12-inch/25.5 to 30.5 cm) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  4. Add the sausage and cook over medium heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it’s no longer pink and crumbly.
  5. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (depending on taste and the saltiness of your sausage), and the pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
  6. To assemble the lasagna, ladle about 3/4 cup/175 ml of the sauce into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch/33 x 23 x 5 cm rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Layer the zucchini, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with a small handful of mozzarella, a bit of Parmesan, and then another ladle full of sauce. Repeat until you are out of ingredients, finishing with sauce, topped with Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. Broil for a minute or two at the end to get a nice crust. Let it cool slightly so that it can set before serving.