These zucchini roll-ups are the perfect grain-free alternative to satisfy your lasagna cravings! They’re easy to make without ricotta or mozzarella to keep it paleo and whole30.

Up close view of zucchini roll ups in pan on counter

Low Carb Zucchini Roll-Ups

Having grown up in an Italian family, lasagna was a staple! However, once I had to cut out all grains, dairy, and nightshades, I knew I had to find a creative way to satisfy the craving for these classic Italian flavors.

This version is easy to make with fresh zucchini, tomato sauce (or nomato sauce for AIP), ground turkey, cauliflower ricotta, onion and garlic, and fresh herbs. It’s a versatile recipe that’s great for a warm-weather dinner or for meal prep!

The Ingredients for Low Carb Zucchini Roll-Ups

  • Zucchini. 
  • Tomato sauce. Or nomato sauce to keep it nightshade-free.
  • Ground turkey. You can also use ground beef.
  • Ricotta. You can use a dairy-free ricotta like Kite Hill or cauliflower ricotta as written in the recipe.
  • Mozarella. You can omit this if desired or use a dairy-free option like this.
  • Yellow onion.
  • Olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, and seasonings.

How to make Low Carb Zucchini Roll-Ups

  • Make the cauliflower ricotta (or use dairy-free ricotta)
  • Prep the zucchini. Wash the zucchini and slice off the ends. Use a mandolin slicer or peeler to slice into thin slices, about 1/8th of an inch. Lightly salt and allow to sit for 5 minutes and dab with a paper towel to remove some excess water. Set aside.
  • Prep the sauce. Using a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is slightly translucent. Add the ground turkey and season with salt and pepper. Crumble until the turkey is fully cooked and stir in the tomato sauce.
  • Roll the roll-ups.  Using a large surface, begin making the roll-ups by slightly overlapping two pieces of zucchini. Spoon a large spoonful of the ricotta and spinach mixture over the zucchini and spread evenly. Roll into a tight roll and repeat for all of the zucchini.

Slices of zucchini with ricotta cheese spread on and rolled up

  • Once finished, add the zucchini roll-ups to the pan of meat sauce, lightly covering some of the roll-ups with meat sauce and mozzarella.

Top view of zucchini roll ups in cast iron pan on counter

  • Transfer to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Remove from the oven and top with herbs.

 

How to make Low Carb Zucchini Roll-Ups Without Ricotta

How do you get that flavor and feel of ricotta without the dairy? Cauliflower ricotta!

The Ingredients for the cauliflower ricotta… 

  • Steamed cauliflower
  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Nutritional yeast

How to make the cauliflower ricotta…

  1. Strain. Using a nut milk bag or paper towel, lightly strain the cauliflower to draw out some (but not all) of the excess water.
  2. Blend. Add the cauliflower to a food processor and blend with 2 tbsp of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth and set aside.

This recipe also adds spinach along with the ricotta for more flavor and nutrients, but it’s optional!

Can you make this recipe vegan?

You can! Here’s how to do it…

  • Omit the turkey from the sauce
  • Use the cauliflower ricotta
  • Use a dairy-free mozzarella or omit the mozzarella

Can you make this recipe with beef instead of turkey?

For sure! You can easily use ground beef in place of ground turkey if that’s what you prefer.

Can you make this recipe ahead of time? How do you store it?

Though this recipe is best fresh, you can store it in glass for 1-2 days in the fridge. I recommend heating it up under the broiler for just a few minutes.

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Zucchini Roll Ups (Paleo, Whole30, AIP)


  • Author: Michelle
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale
For the cauliflower ricotta (sub 1 container of Kite Hill ricotta if tolerated)
  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower, steamed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp + 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 egg (omit for AIP)
For the roll-ups 
  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • Salt and pepper to taste (omit pepper for AIP)
  • 24 oz jar of pasta sauce (sub 4 cups of nomato sauce for AIP)
  • 1 cup dairy-free mozzarella cheese, shredded (use this for AIP)
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil

Instructions

For the cauliflower ricotta

  1. Using a nut milk bag or paper towel, lightly strain the cauliflower to draw out some (but not all) of the excess water.
  2. Add the cauliflower to a food processor and blend with 2 tbsp of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth and set aside.
  3. Using a small saute pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil on low heat.
  4. Saute the garlic for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the spinach and allow to wilt over 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  5. Stir the spinach and garlic into the cauliflower mixture with one egg and set aside.

For the roll-ups

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Wash the zucchini and slice off the ends. Use a mandolin slicer or peeler to slice into thin slices, about 1/8th of an inch. The zucchini should be thin enough to easily bend, but not enough to break. Lightly salt and allow to sit for 5 minutes and dab with a paper towel to remove some excess water. Set aside.
  3. Using a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is slightly translucent. Add the ground turkey and season with salt and pepper. Crumble until the turkey is fully cooked.
  4. Pour in the jar of pasta sauce (or nomato sauce) and stir to combine with the ground turkey mixture. Allow simmering for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  5. Using a large surface, begin making the roll-ups by slightly overlapping two pieces of zucchini. Spoon a large spoonful of the ricotta and spinach mixture over the zucchini and spread evenly. Roll into a tight roll and repeat for all of the zucchini. Once finished, add the zucchini roll-ups to the pan of meat sauce, lightly covering some of the roll-ups with meat sauce and mozzarella.
  6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Remove from the oven and top with herbs.

Notes

All nutritional facts are estimates and will vary.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: One-Pan
  • Cuisine: Italian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 393
  • Fat: 24.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.5g
  • Fiber: 2.8g
  • Protein: 35.5g

Recipe by Michelle, Unbound Wellness. Photos by Eat Love Eats