Ricotta & Beef Zucchini Roll-Ups

These Ricotta & Beef Zucchini Roll-Ups are a to-die-for summer dinner recipe that you’ll want to make on repeat and may just compete with your favorite lasagna recipe.

Overhead shot of Ricotta & Beef Zucchini Roll-Ups

Ricotta & Beef Zucchini Roll-Ups: A mid-summer night’s dream

Think of lasagna roll-ups, but instead of having to boil pasta ahead of time or waste the endless amounts of zucchini sprouting from your garden, you can use that zucchini to be the roll-ups.

Now trust me – I am NOT trying to pretend zucchini can replace all the pasta.

They are not the same thing and I want to be very clear that I don’t think it’s necessary to swap out all the pasta for vegetables in various shapes in an attempt to never enjoy real pasta again. No, no, no.

BUT, what I am a proponent of is consuming MORE vegetables, and in super fun and delicious ways. Enter: Ricotta & Beef Zucchini Roll-Ups.

Close up shot of the finished recipe in a white pan
Overhead shot of fresh whole zucchini in a white colander
Side shot of Ricotta & Beef Zucchini Roll-Ups

Why are these zucchini roll-ups so divine?

  1. These little roll-ups are SO FREAKING CUTE. I just love the little edges of green and how adorable they are all tucked together, swimming in a pool of bright and bold tomato sauce.
  2. The zucchini, once stuffed, rolled and baked, develops this amazing texture that I was surprised and delighted to discover when I made my first batch.
  3. They are about the size of a piece of sushi which means there is no cutting required – just stick each little roll in and send it down the hatch. But be sure to chew, and chew slowly, so you can enjoy alllll the flavors. Because there are a lot of them.
  4. There are 3 types of cheese. Parm, mozz and ricotta. Gang’s all here.
  5. There is also loads of garlic, Italian seasoning and fresh basil. ‘nough said.
  6. The entire dish is a bit on the lighter side, but still totally satisfying because of the ricotta and beef combo (fat + protein…mmmmm….).

So in other words, it’s fabulously delicious in all ways. And I’m absolutely certain you’re going to love it. If you’re love zucchini, you may also enjoy these Crispy Zucchini Fritters.

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Ricotta & Beef Zucchini Roll-Ups

Ricotta & Beef Zucchini Roll-Ups

Herby ricotta beef filling tucked in thinly sliced zucchini rolls simmered in a bright tomato sauce.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 25-30 mins
  • Cook Time: 25-30 mins
  • Total Time: 50-60 mins
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove-Top, Baking
  • Cuisine: American, Italian

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1-pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach, torn
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar marinara (or 2 cups homemade marinara)
  • 5 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise using a vegetable peeler
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet or shallow Dutch oven to medium. Add onion and sauté 3-4 minutes, then add the ground beef and spinach and cook an additional 6-7 minutes, breaking the beef using a wooden spoon, until browned. Stir in garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Drain any excess fat from the beef mixture, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the ricotta, ¼ cup Parmesan, egg, Italian seasoning, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, remaining ¼ teaspoon black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to the bowl and stir to thoroughly combine.
  3. Pour the marinara into the same large oven-safe skillet or shallow Dutch oven and set aside.
  4. Stack two slices of zucchini on top of each other, then dollop a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture onto the middle of the top slice. Tightly roll the zucchini around the ricotta mixture, then place into skillet or Dutch oven. Repeat with the remaining zucchini slices and ricotta mixture, lining them all in the pan until filled.
  5. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Top with fresh basil and serve.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
  • Calories: 367
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 771mg
  • Fat: 22g
  • Saturated Fat: 9g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 13g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Cholesterol: 122mg

Keywords: easy, filling, healthy, low carb, summer, vegetables, nutritious

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Overhead shot of Ricotta & Beef Zucchini Roll-Ups

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