Vegetarian Keto Zucchini Pasta Bake. 5g net carbs per serving of this divine all-in-one meal.
Not keen on vegetarian? No problem, just stir in shreds of cooked meat or fish and you’ll instantly turn this dish into a carnivore or pescatarian meal to die for.
This pasta bake is actually a low-carb adaptation of an Italian dish (pasticcio al forno) that contains béchamel sauce. I have discovered the most perfect yet simplest replacement. One that doesn’t require making a roux, adding milk, or thickening with starches or gums. Curious? Read on…
Ingredients for Vegetarian Keto Zucchini Pasta Bake
A lot of mozzarella goes into this. You need the dry block, not the balls that are suspended in liquid.
Crème fraîche is my ingenious béchamel replacement. 2g net carbs per 100g (Sainsbury’s) and you use it straight out of the tub. Keto-friendly, zero fuss, and total convenience. Sour cream could be a viable alternative, although it’s more liquid, more tangy, and tends to curdle at high temperatures, so you’ll get a different end result. I know many people believe that crème fraîche and sour cream are the same thing. They’re similar, but NOT the same. THIS article explains the difference. If you can source crème fraîche, it’s your best choice for this Vegetarian Keto Zucchini Pasta Bake.
Zucchini, or courgettes as they’re known in the UK, don’t need any introduction. 3 large ones weighing about 580-600g will become 500-520g after topping and tailing.
The pasta you choose is entirely up to you, but I highly recommend my QUEENKETO pasta #1 (you’ll need double the recipe) or QUEENKETO pasta #2 (half the recipe). Both use few ingredients, are very easy to make, and contain just 1.8g net carbs per 100g. You’ll be hard-pushed to find a better (or indeed cleaner) keto-friendly alternative, and you’ll have to pre-cook it first.
You’ll also need some garlic, a shallot, a beef stock cube, basil, Parmigiano Reggiano (make sure it’s the REAL THING, not a cheap fake – unless you’re a strict vegetarian, in which case a substitute will have to do), butter, extra virgin olive oil, and seasoning.
The method is super straight-forward, so I won’t insult your intelligence by repeating the recipe instructions.
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- Yield: 4 (main) or 8 (sides)
- Serving: ¼
- Calories: 740
- Fat: 61g
- Net Carbs: 5g
- Protein: 36g
- 240g QUEENKETO pasta #1 or #2 (or use your favourite - pre-cooked and ready to eat)
- 3 large zucchini (500g net)
- 20g extra virgin olive oil (U.S. option HERE)
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- 1 shallot (minced)
- ½ TBSP frozen, chopped basil (or a handful of fresh leaves - chopped)
- 400g mozzarella (dry pizza block)
- 300g crème fraîche
- 1 beef stock cube (crumbled - I use Kallo organic - U.S. option HERE)
- ½ tsp fine Himalayan pink salt (U.S. option HERE)
- a generous sprinkle of paprika and freshly ground black or white pepper
- 50g Parmigiano Reggiano (freshly grated)
- 10g unsalted butter
- wash, dry, top + tail zucchini; slice them lengthways twice to obtain 4 quarters, then cut across into slivers.
- drizzle olive oil into a large frying pan, add the sliced zucchini, minced garlic, shallot, stock cube, salt and spices, plus 150g water; stir and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- meanwhile, cut the mozzarella block into 1cm cubes, and chop the basil if using fresh leaves.
- pre-heat oven to 200°C Circo-Roast mode (see notes below)
- place the cooked zucchini with the juices into a large mixing bowl, add basil and blitz with an immersion blender, leaving some chunks.
- add 80g crème fraîche, adjust seasoning to your preference, then mix in 30g Parmigiano and mozzarella cubes before gently incorporating the pasta; QUEENKETO pasta is very absorbent, so you may need to loosen the mixture with up to 100g water if it seems too dry - add it in bit by bit, and use your judgement.
- butter an 18cm x 24cm (7" x 9.5") or 22-23cm square (about 8") Pyrex baking dish (U.S. option HERE) or similar size alternative, and pour the mixture into it; level it, then spread 220g crème fraîche all over and top with the remaining Parmigiano.
- bake on highest level oven rack for 20 minutes, until golden and bubbly.
- serve piping hot.
If you decide to use Queenketo Pasta #2, make half the recipe and cut it into strips, rather than lasagna sheets.
If your oven doesn’t have a Circo-Roast function, bake at 200°C fan for 15 minutes, then grill for 5-8 minutes until caramelised.
This vegetarian bake is easy to customise with the addition of beef, pork, chicken, fish, sausages, mince or seafood, as long as it’s pre-cooked.
Strict vegetarians who avoid cheese made with rennet, should look for a suitable alternative to Parmigiano.
You will obtain 8 portions if served as a side dish.
The only way to ensure accurate measurement of ingredients is with Metric Kitchen Scales (U.S. option HERE).