Crock Pot Low Carb Lasagna


This Crock Pot Low Carb Lasagna is the recipe that almost got away. It took me FIVE attempts to perfect, but I can safely say that it was completely worth every tear I shed (and less-than-lady-like word I uttered) into my slow cooker. Not only is this no-noodle lasagna absolutely delicious, but it’s become a reader favorite and one of the most popular recipes on my site.

Crock Pot Low Carb Lasagna — Easy, CHEESY, and your slow cooker does all the work! Made with zucchini and eggplant instead of noodles — You’ll never miss the pasta! @wellplated

Cheesy, saucy, low-carb, and protein-packed, this crock pot veggie lasagna is the most comforting, crowd-pleasing way to serve vegetables that I’ve found. I originally shared the recipe last summer, and I’m updating it today with a step-by-step video, as well as taking a trip down memory lane to revisit how this recipe came to be and why I refused to give up on it.

After seeing a few “no noodle” lasagna recipes floating around the web, and I became enchanted with the idea of creating a crock pot version that I could set in my slow cooker and forget. In place of pasta, the veggie lasagnas I saw used thin, sheet-like slices of zucchini or eggplant. The idea seemed simple, perfect, and like a recipe even veggie-skeptics could enjoy.

Fast forward five recipe attempts later, and here we are. The best, most foolproof, no-noodle, low-carb lasagna recipe you will ever (and I mean EVER) find!

Easy Crock Pot Vegetarian Lasagna. The BEST way to get your veggies and our whole family loved it! No noodles — just zucchini, eggplant, and cheesy goodness — Low carb, high protein, and you’ll never miss the pasta! @wellplated

The issue with my first four low-carb lasagna attempts was that, no matter what I trick I tried—salting and draining the zucchini, reducing the amount of sauce, mixing eggs with the filling, leaving the crock pot uncovered during the last hour of cooking—the zucchini lasagna sheets still let off so much liquid that the crock pot veggie lasagna came out soupy. It tasted lovely, but I had a conspicuous amount of discarded water at the bottom of my slow cooker. Not okay.

My final solution, and the recipe I posted here, is to either grill or broil the zucchini and eggplant slices first to remove as much excess water as possible. I tried my very hardest to eliminate this step (all of the first runs of the recipe didn’t include the additional effort), but I am afraid it simply must be done.

If you prefer to skip grilling or broiling the zucchini and eggplant, you can simply omit this part of the directions and discard the extra liquid—which is exactly how we ate attempts #1-#4.

 

Low Carb Lasagna, made in the crock pot! No noodles — this slow cooker recipe uses zucchini and eggplant. So much flavor and cheesy goodness, you’ll never miss the pasta! @wellplated

In addition to the zucchini and eggplant “noodles,” I layered this low-carb lasagna with sweet bell peppers, red onions, and a generous amount of cheese.

My final no-noodle lasagna recipe note is to spend a few extra dollars to purchase a good-quality pasta sauce (or to use homemade). Because this crock pot veggie lasagna recipe uses few ingredients, the taste of the sauce stands out, so you want to be sure it has excellent flavor. My favorite of the different sauces I tried was roasted garlic—rustic and zesty!

This Low Carb Crock Pot Vegetarian Lasagna is our family’s new favorite. Loaded with CHEESY goodness — you’ll never miss the pasta! The slow cooker does all the work and it’s healthy too! @wellplated

Perhaps the ultimate testament to this recipe is that, despite the multiple attempts, I didn’t grow tired of it. This crowd-pleasing veggie lasagna is healthy comfort food, topped with gooey, melty cheese, combined with the flexibility of the crock pot. What’s not to love?

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Crock Pot Low Carb Lasagna

Crock Pot Low Carb Lasagna made with zucchini and eggplant in place of pasta. Healthy, gluten free, and your slow cooker does all the work!

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 to 4 hours

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • Kosher salt
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) good-quality store-bought tomato-based pasta sauce (or homemade)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 16 ounces low-fat cottage cheese (do not use skim—I used 1%)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 ounces part-skim shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese, divided (about 2 cups—I used a blend of both cheeses)
  • For serving: Parmesan cheese, freshly chopped herbs such as basil or parsley

Directions:

  1. With a mandoline or very sharp knife, slice the eggplant and zucchini length-wise into long, thin (1/4-inch) sections so that they resemble lasagna noodles. Spread the vegetable slices out onto a kitchen towel or layers of paper towels and sprinkle them lightly with kosher salt. Let stand for 15 minutes to allow some of the excess liquid to drain off. Pat dry. Prepare the zucchini and eggplant according to one of the three methods below:
    1. GRILL METHOD: Preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium. Lightly coat the grill with canola oil, then grill the eggplant and zucchini strips until cooked and lightly brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
    2. BROIL METHOD: Place the top oven rack about 5 inches from the upper heat element. Set the oven to broil at 500 degrees F. Arrange the zucchini and eggplant slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. (Do not line the baking sheet pans with wax paper or parchment, as they will burn.) Lightly brush the slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Flip over the slices and repeat for the other side. Broil for 8 minutes, or until lightly brown, working in multiple batches as needed. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Place the slices on paper towels to remove excess moisture.
    3. NEITHER: Move ahead with the recipe—skip grilling or broiling the zucchini completely. The lasagna will have a lot of excess liquid around the veggie slices in the slow cooker (even after salting them in step 1), but if this doesn’t bother you, you can scoop out the noodles and discard it.
  2. Lightly coat a 6-quart crock pot with nonstick spray. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of the crock pot—the layer will seem very thin. In a small bowl, beat the cottage cheese together with the eggs.
  3. Create the first veggie lasagna layer in the crock pot as follows: 1 layer of eggplant “noodles”; one-third of the cottage cheese (about 2/3 cup); one-third of the bell peppers and onions; one-third of the mozzarella; 1/2 cup tomato sauce.
  4. Create the second veggie lasagna layer, this time using zucchini: 1 layer of zucchini “noodles”; one-third of the cottage cheese; one-third of the bell peppers and onions; one-third of the mozzarella; 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.
  5. Create the final layer: 1 layer of eggplant “noodles”; remaining cottage cheese; remaining bell peppers and onions; 1 layer of zucchini noodles; 1/2 cup tomato sauce; remaining mozzarella.
  6. Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, until the eggplant is tender. To test, insert a long, thin knife into the lasagna and ensure the eggplant feels tender. Re-cover, turn off the slow cooker, and let stand until any remaining liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes to 1 hour. (Note: if you did not grill or broil the vegetables first, you will have a lot of remaining liquid.) To serve, slice and scoop desired portions, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and herbs as desired.
  • Depending upon the size of jarred tomato sauce you can find, you may have some leftover. Most jars come in a 24-ounce size, so you will have some sauce remaining. The extra sauce is great for reheating leftovers (top with a bit before microwaving), or if you like a saucier lasagna, you can heat it separately on the side and spoon it over individual servings.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and reheat gently in the microwave. Top with a little leftover sauce if you have it available.
  • I have not tried cooking this recipe on low heat, but I estimate it would take about 4 to 5 hours covered, depending upon your crockpot.
  • I also have not tried making this recipe in the oven instead of a slow cooker but would anticipate that it could be assembled in a 9×13-inch baking dish, then baked, covered, at 350 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Uncover the pan for the last 10 minutes of baking. I would recommend grilling or broiling the noodles first.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 (of 6) without extra toppings

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 273
  • Total Fat: 12g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 88mg
  • Sodium: 963mg
  • Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Sugar: 12g
  • Protein: 23g

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...

97 comments

  1. This lasagna looks incredible! Cheesy, saucy, and so easy to make :) Love the combination of zucchini and eggplant in here :)

  2. This looks incredible. A pain to grill but well worth it in the end.

  3. Oh heavens…this might just be worth FINALLY trying a ‘no noodle’ lasagna! I can get on board with anything in a crockpot <3 Yum! I wonder if baking the zucchini at a low temperature would work?! Not that you probably want to make it a 6th time to find out LOL…

  4. Thank you for you hard work to provide us with this appealing recipe! I look forward to trying it.

  5. This is happening in my life, stat. I know it will be perfect b/c you nearly killed yourself making sure of it! <3

  6. I can’t wait to try it. I will make it your way first but would also like to try dipping the eggplant and zucchini slices in egg and breadcrumbs and pan frying before layering as an option. Thank you for your wonderful recipes. I love getting your emails.

  7. shawnna griffin Reply

    Hey girl this looks so yummy!

  8. One of the tricks I have found useful for absorbing moisture in slow cookers is to put a terry tea towel folded in half over the pot then secure with the lid. 
    Do you think a homemade meat sauce work in this recipe?

    • Sue, I think that this would be delicious with homemade meat sauce! I’ve tried the towel trick before for slow cooker desserts, but not for savory recipes. Thanks for the suggestion.

      • in my oven version of zucc lasagna i spinkled 1 T of flour on each layer (can use rice flour) on top of zucc then layer up .. maybe i will try it in this crockpot version Kim

  9. I make eggplant Parmesan, often but have never attempted a lasagna – especially in a slow cooker! I like the tip for grilling beforehand. I can’t wait to try this out!

  10. This looks good, and when I try it, I will have to skip the eggplant and replace it with probably butternut squash, or just use zucchini as I can’t have eggplant. I spiralize quite frequently, and one tip that might work with this, along with the paper towels under the lid, is to reduce the pasta sauce on the stove top. That way, when the zucchini bleeds moisture back into the sauce, it’ll return to “normal”. It’s probably about as much extra work as grilling/broiling, but with less cleanup. It should take care of some of the excess liquid.  It might also work better in the oven, and when you uncover it during baking, some of the excess liquid may evaporate, which it won’t do in the crock pot.

    You could also try very fine layers of toasted breadcrumbs over the veggie slices. Not enough to make it “bready” or change the taste, but just enough to soak up the excess moisture. I use this technique with strudels, fruit pies, hand pies, and Pop Tarts quite often, sometimes with graham cracker crumbs, sometimes cookie crumbs, and you can not tell it’s there, but it makes all of the difference between hand pies bleeding liquid, or not.  You could try it, anyway. It would only be attempts 6 through 9. 8)

    • P.S. 
      Cornflake crumbs also work well, but you want to choose a “flavor” of crumb that will be unnoticeable in the taste of the final product. 

  11. Wow, you worked hard to perfect this one! It’s a beautiful lasagna recipe. I’m always looking for “keeper” slow cooker recipes to add to my collection. This is one of those!

  12. Erin, I am SO making this. Easy peasy, great weeknight meal!

  13. 5 times? You are die hard – but thank you! I can’t wait to try this!!!

  14. Love your commitment to this recipe!  Now I have to try it out!  It looks amazing :) 

  15. I don’t usually make a lot of crockpot meals but this …. this looks delicious!

  16. Crock pot? Low Carb? You are so speaking my language. Can’t wait to try this!

  17. YES! I am loving slow cooker recipes right now because it has been blazin’ hot here in Ohio. This one is going on my must-make list!

  18. Any suggestions on adapting this to an oven? Best to just cook until the cheese is melted or would it not be the same?

  19. I’m gonna make this just now. Already got print of this page. Thanks Erin

  20. Thank you for attempting so many times and sharing your recipe. I plan on making this recipe for a Sunday treat. My husband was just informed he needs to lower his carbs due to a health issue. He has been doing great, but I know he is saddened with the idea of not having lasagna the bad way. So, it is nice to see there is a healthy option. This looks absolutely delicious.

  21. Yummy recipe! Is there a way to get this recipe done without using a crock pot? And can i just pan sear the veggies instead of grilling it?

    • Hi Leena! Please see recipe notes to bake in the oven. I’ve never tried searing the veggies, so this would be an experiment. The idea is to get as much moisture out of the veggies as possible, so if you are searing them and see that the moisture seems to be coming out, then I think that would work! To play it safe, I’d stick with grilling or broiling as suggested.

  22. I wonder if you used salt to pull moisture out of the veggies first then rinse, pat dry, and use. That’s how I. Male my baked eggplant Parmesan 

    • Hi Laura! Salting the veggies was actually the first thing I tried and is still a part of the recipe directions. Unfortunately, it alone isn’t enough. I found that the only way was to also grill them. I wish just salting would’ve done the trick!

  23. Looks and sounds amazing, thank you for perfecting it for us! One question, do you think it would work to use ricotta instead of cottage cheese? I love both, but hubby isn’t a fan. 

  24. Looking forwaed to this! Did the vegetables add a a strong flavor to the lasagna? My husband dislikes both veggies. Wondering if I can trick him!

    • Gina, I’m afraid there is no way around the fact that this recipe calls for A LOT of veggies. Eggplant and zucchini are both very mild, but your husband will know he’s eating veggies, not pasta. One idea (depending upon how much he likes/dislikes zucchini) is to use all zucchini and no eggplant, since it is the more mild of the two. Good luck!

  25. Do you think this would work with whole milk cheese? I’m wondering because I prefer it, but I know sometimes the type of cheese does make a difference.

  26. Could meat be added to this? I was thinking ground turkey.

  27. I made this today and it was very good. I’m not a big squash fan so I was a little worried that the veggies would overpower the lasagna. But they didn’t at all.  It was a rich and satisfying meal!

  28. I made a chicken enchilada made lasagna style with zucchini and the recipe called for adding TBS quinoa on top of the zucchini and I felt this helped soak up the water that was let out by the zucchini. Jus thought I would share if you were looking to try and omitting the grilling step this might be another option :)

  29. Hello, 
     This looks delicious & I can’t wait to try it. I wanted to add ground turkey. Should I cook it first and add it to my sauce???? 
    Thanks so much! 

  30. I tried it in the oven tonight.. First time making anything like this…. It was so good… But like you said juicy.. I had to cook it for an hour and let it sit for 15 min.  Thank you so much for this recipe! Family loved it.

  31. Made this tonight in the crockpot, and it was delicious! The grilling of the vegetables made the lasagna not super liquidy. I didn’t let it sit a full 30 minutes, which made it have a little excess water but not much! I’ll definitely be making this again! Thanks for the recipe!

  32. Is that 22g of carbs per serving?

  33. I was very skeptical to try this, but omg was it amazing!  Couldn’t believe how good it was, and my boyfriend even loved it.  Can’t wait to make it again.  Only thing I adjusted was using the emersion blender to smooth out the cottage cheese.   Thanks for a great recipie :) 

    • Julia, this makes me so happy to hear! I’m glad you tried it. Thanks for the tip on blending the cottage cheese too. I bet it was extra creamy. Thanks so much for trying the recipe and stopping by to leave this lovely review.

  34. Can’t wait to try it but I have a question, why cottage cheese and not traditional ricotta cheese ? 

    • Hi Kate! The cottage cheese is totally personal preference. I like that it’s lower in fat than ricotta while still being nice and creamy, and it’s high in protein too. You can use ricotta if you’d like!

  35. This was so good I made it twice in 3 days! I used ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese. I seasoned it well and added an extra egg to my ricotta. My husband does not like cottage cheese in his lasagna so this was a must. I also added mushrooms (which I sauteed first with the onions).  The second batch I did with no mushrooms. They were both very good….with and without. Thank you for this recipe! I’d eat it even if I wasn’t doing low carb. We love it!

    • Grace, I’m so excited to hear you love the recipe! The mushroom addition sounds DELICIOUS. I really appreciate your taking the time to leave this kind review!

  36. Erin, I rarely write reviews beyond giving a 5 star rating! This was the best lasagna I have ever eaten or prepared. I broiled the eggplant and zucchini and added some fresh mushrooms. I was impressed with how well the dish held together in the crockpot like an oven baked lasagna. There was some water at the bottom of the pot, but we just poured it out and it did not compromise the texture of the bottom half of the dish. Thank you for taking time to recreate this dish until you got it right. It was PERFECT!

    Rating: 4.5
    • Sarah, thank you so much! Your comment is SO kind, and it makes me happy to hear that you loved the recipe! Thanks for taking the time to leave this review!

  37. Will try this for sure- my son and his wife are trying to eat vegetarian and this would be a great meal to make for them. When I make lasagne I use low fat Ricotta cheese – the Italian me will not let me use cottage cheese. Still add the egg but also some fresh ground pepper and a couple dashes of ground nutmeg – really makes the cheese layer “pop” – try it!!

  38. I am fixing to make this recipe and I noticed your comment about the excess water in the eggplant and zucchini. I make a Baked Eggplant Parmesan dish that I bake the eggplant after it is breaded with bread crumbs and it resolves the problem of excess moisture. Since I have an abundance of eggplant out of my garden in the fall I slice them about 1/2 inch thick, bread and bake them. I then store them in the freezer until I need them for casseroles or sandwiches.

  39. I am on a FB CrockPot list and many people have spoke of placing a dishtowel stretched across the crock under the lid to collect excess moisture. Wondering if you have ever tried that?

    • Hi Val! A few of my recipes call for this method, such as the crockpot peach cobbler and crockpot scalloped potatoes, but a towel isn’t enough to absorb all the moisture in this case. I definitely recommend grilling or roasting the zucchini and eggplant as outlined in the recipe. I hope you love it!

      • Erin, I did follow your directions to broil the zuchinii ahead of time.  It was delicous!  I added cooked italian sausage to my pasta sauce.  My family ate it up!  Thank you for your quick response to my question.

        • I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Val! Thanks for taking the time to report back and leave this wonderful review. :)

  40. I loved it! Trying to eat more healthy and lose weight. I really loved this recipe. My only problem was that after 3 hours, the onions were still a little too crunchy. Maybe it’s just my crock pot. Next time i might soften them a few minutes in a sautee pan before I add them. 
    THANK YOU!!!

    Rating: 5
    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the lasagna, Frank! That’s a good idea to sauté the onions a bit if they were too crunchy for your liking in the finished dish. Thank YOU for leaving this great review!

  41. Lasagna calls for Ricotta not Cottage Cheese. I would never use Cottage cheese in any lasagna (I’m Italian) – just can’t do it. The difference in taste is like night and day!!

    • Hi Penny, it’s totally a personal preference! Ricotta would also work great in this recipe—I like the cottage cheese myself because it’s still creamy, lower in fat, and high in protein.

  42. Hi Mary Kay, I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy the recipe. As you can see from the other reviews, others have enjoyed it very much. I know it’s disappointing to try something new and not have it turn out as expected, so I truly wish you would have loved this.

  43. I’m not a fan of eggplant. If I left this out, would I need to add more zucchini or maybe summer squash to the recipe?

  44. Use a counter top dehydrator for the zucchini and eggplant strips. Get them to a soft and chewy point then add them to the lasagna. No more water problem. 😊

  45. nice choice for the pasta swap, and love the idea of a slow cooker lasana as all of flavors meld together over a long time, so thank you for this!

  46. Erin, always pulling it out of the bag with the veggie recipes!

    I personally use large leaf Kale types such as Cavolo Nero or leek sheets (slick down the length of the leek to open into a flat sheet) for my veggie noodle sheets. Both work brilliantly, and I tend to prefer the chunks/gratings of courgette (sorry, Brit!) in the lasagna mix.

    I’m going to try to make it this weekend, really excited to come home to a bubbly cheesy pot of veggie tomato delight!

    Lo
    http://www.themixtures.com

    • Awh, thanks so much Lo! I hope you enjoy the recipe, and I’d love to hear what you think. (Also, now I’m so intrigued by using kale leaves/leeks as noodles…)

  47. Erin,

    This sounds like a great recipe and I’m looking forward to trying! If I wanted to add some ground turkey to it, how much would you recommend and would that change the portion size of anything else, as well as cooking time?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Brianna, I’d start with about a pound of ground turkey, sauté it first, and then layer it in with the peppers. It will certainly make the dish heartier, but portion sizes really depend on how much you want to eat! :) I hope you love the recipe!

  48. very nice! Great for athletes (:

  49. I have made a similar dish and did bake it in the oven instead of using a slow cooker. It turned out great!

    • Awesome, Peggy! I love hearing about people’s successes with similar dishes. I hope you enjoy this one too if you do give it a try!

  50. Tried this today and am so glad I did! Great way to use up those fresh veggies without heating up the whole house. I used the grill method (with a brush of olive oil and salt and pepper) and it gave the veggies a tender texture and subtle flavor boost. Thank you for sharing this great dish!

    Rating: 5
  51. I have a 5 quart slow cooker. Would this recipe fit for that size, or is the size problematic?

    • Hi Sara, I think that would be okay! You should just really make sure to get as much moisture out of the veggies as possible and watch the cooking time. It may need a bit longer. I hope you enjoy!

  52. I made this the other night. AMAZING! Even my 6yo and 8yo loved it. I did swap out a couple of layers for standard noodles, and I briefly pre-cooked the pasta sauce with a mix of vegetables and mince. But the technique from your recipe was spot on. Sharing with all my friends.

    • Leni, I’m so happy to hear the recipe was a hit! Thanks for taking the time to share this awesome review and the swaps you made! :)

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