This Crock Pot Low Carb Lasagna recipe is the one 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 best crock pot recipes.
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 (and inspired me to also create these similar Zucchini Lasagna and Eggplant Lasagna recipes.)
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!
Avoiding Excess Liquid in Crock Pot Low Carb Lasagna
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.
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.
In addition to the zucchini and eggplant “noodles,” I layered the 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 use homemade sauce. 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!
Perhaps the ultimate testament to this healthy low carb lasagna 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?
How to Store and Reheat This Lasagna
- To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Reheat gently in the microwave, and top with a little leftover sauce if you have it available.
Recommended Tools to Make Low Carb Lasagna in a Slow Cooker
- Mandoline. For cutting fruits and veggies into consistent, thin slices, there’s simply nothing better (or cheaper). I have the original, but in retrospect, wish I had purchased the wide.
- Programmable Slow Cooker. I recently purchased this new one and am loving it so far.
Crock Pot Low Carb Lasagna
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1 medium eggplant
- Kosher salt
- 16 ounces good-quality store-bought tomato-based pasta sauce, or homemade (2 cups)
- 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 cheese 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
- 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:
- 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.
- 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 5-8 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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I’m a carnivore and yet this is the best lasagna I’ve ever made. I used extra cheese mixture and extra onions, peppers and garlic in between layers, and I baked this instead. And wow. My partner still raves about it. I did make a meat sauce on the side, but we didn’t really need it. Thanks for sharing this!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe, Tina! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
I am going to make this tomorrow, but have just been in the garden and picked my zucchini and eggplant fresh and have sliced them and about to put them in the dehydrator to make pasta noodles out of them. (Live in Australia so the garden is full of abundance at this time of year)
Not sure how this will turn out, but will let you know is this is another alternative.
Luckily I have time on my side.
I don’t have cottage cheese, but have just done a batch of home made ricotta that I will use instead.
Thanks for this, I love slow cooker recipes.
Hi Annie! Hope you enjoy it!
Excellent recipe, did let zucchini and eggplant and a yellow squash too–salt and sit for a good 1/2 hour–then baked at 400 till browned a bit flipping them once–about 25 minutes, did layering as listed here but used a lot less cheese to cut calories a bit more. I did bake it at 375 covered for 45 minutes and it was perfect. Don’t miss the noodles at all. Will do again. Like a ratatouille lasagna. For the sauce I used the onion and pepper and some garlic and spices and cooked in skillet for about 5 minutes to get soft–then added tomato (crushed) simmered about 10 minutes, and that was my sauce, so my sauce had the pepper and onion called for in that. Probably good to precook the pepper and onion since making it in the oven rather then a longer cook in slow cooker, Will try slow cooker next time when I start it sooner in the day.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe, Frances! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. Do you think it’s okay to grill the vegetables the day before assembling it?
You could try it out Sandra, it’s just not something I’ve done before. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!
Could you add Kale or spinach? If yes, at what point? I am not overly experienced at cooking.
Hi Sharla! I’ve only tested this recipe as written so I am not sure if you could add it. If you decide to give it a try, let me know how it goes!
Delish! Followed all steps but added a layer of ground turkey. So dang good. Like comfort food without the guilt!
Hi Courtney! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
Best vegetable lasagna ever!! I don’t like eggplant so I substituted an extra bell pepper diced, some shredded carrots and spinach instead and it was amazing
Hi Mandy! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
May I add more veggies to this recipe, like broccoli, spinach and kale?
Hi Kristi! I’ve only tested the recipe as written, so it would be hard to say. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!
I just tried this recipe today. It was fairly labour-intensive as I carefully diced and sauteed the peppers and onions with some ground chicken before adding to the slow cooker. I also pan-fried the zucchini and eggplant since I don’t have a grill or broiler/oven. I pan-fried about 3-5 minutes per side for the eggplant slices (longer for zucchini) until slightly golden, but my lasagna turned out terrible – the water came all the way to the top of the lasagna, even after letting it sit for an hour and a half after turning off the heat. For nearly a full morning’s prep work, it is just soup, which I could have made with a lot less effort. :(
Could adding the meat and omitting the egg (I’m allergic) have done something to create the extra water? Did I not cook my vegetables enough? Do they have to be fully cooked? How do I know the vegetables are done?
Oh well, at least it tastes okay! Was just hoping to have something other than a soup or stew from the slow cooker :)
Hi Andrea! I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with the recipe. Did you see my notes in Step 4, where I spoke about that if you skipped Steps 2 or 3 that you would have a lot of excess liquid? It will cause your lasagna to be runny. Also I can’t guarantee the results when omitting/adding ingredients because I haven’t tested the recipe that way.
Hi Erin, thanks for the reply! Yes I did read that, which is why I salted the veggies on both sides, let them sit salted for over an hour, dried them well, and then I browned them in a frying pan before adding them to the slow cooker. So I didn’t think I skipped steps 2/3.
I’m guessing by your reply that cooking them in the frying pan is the same as not cooking them at all? I don’t have a broiler or grill – do they remove the extra liquid in a different way than pan-frying would?
Is it normal (even when using raw vegetables) for the water level to rise above the lasagna? I understood from what you were saying that you had water in the bottom only.
Sorry for all the questions. I’m not a very experienced cook :)
Hi Andrea! No problem about the questions, I just have only tested the recipe as written so I am not able to tell you how the end result would be if pan frying the vegetables. I can only guarantee the result based on how the recipe was tested and give tips based on issues that I’ve seen myself.
This was absolutely outstanding!
Both my husband and I raved-I was amazed how well it held up as leftovers.
A little watery even after cooking the zucchini and eggplant ahead for time but not a problem.
Hi Christine! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
On Christmas Eve our family started a tradition we call lasagna 3 ways. Our GF daughter does turkey lasagna with GF noodles. Our daughter who hunts makes venison lasagna and I make this recipe baked in the oven. They’re all super yummy. We’ve been doing this several years now ever since I discovered your recipe. My husband loves it so much he requests I make it at least one other time during the year. I’m making it tonight … and May add some ground bison and pork I have in the freezer to get the protein. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Huge hit!!
Hi KimAnn! I LOVE this idea and thanks so much for including this recipe! Thank you!
Flavor was great but the eggplant noodles and zoodles took forever to prep!
Glad you enjoyed the flavor Anna!
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