This week’s recipe is healthy zucchini roll ups with tofu ricotta! These are like lasagna roll ups, except they are a low-carb, low-fat, whole foods plant based version. You could optionally make these with regular whole-wheat lasagna noodles, but I thought using zucchini and yellow squash would make the dish really colorful and fun. Plus, it was a way for me to sneak more vegetables into the recipe, which I always try to do!
Also, this tofu ricotta “cheese” recipe may be one of my new favorites! It has the consistency of ricotta, along with tons of flavor. I hope you enjoy this zucchini roll ups recipe!
Quick Homemade Sauce
First, start by roasting some tomatoes. This step is totally optional in the recipe, but I felt like trying to whip together my own sauce instead of using jar sauce. If you are short on time, feel free to skip this step and just use whatever jar of pasta sauce you have lying around!
Wash your tomatoes and arrange them spaced out on a plain baking sheet. Without doing anything else, simply place them in the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes at 375 F. You’ll know they’re done when the skin starts to split and some light charring happens.
Next, add your tomatoes (pull the stems out!) and the rest of the sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add a small splash of water to the blender if it has trouble getting started. I actually added too much water to mine, and my sauce turned out more liquid-y than I would have liked. So be careful with the water! When it’s done blending, set it aside for now.
This next part is really simple as well. First, start by taking your 8 cups of spinach and steam it in the microwave or on the stove top. I know that 8 cups sounds like a lot at first, but trust me, once it is steamed it will shrink down to less than half its original size (see photo, that entire 8 cup dish was full to the top of spinach before it was steamed, and now after, it wilted down quite a bit)!
To make the tofu ricotta, add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly. I mixed the tofu and spices first, then added the steamed spinach in. It should only take a few minutes – I used a fork to press down into the tofu to chop it up until it resembled ricotta cheese consistency. With that step out of the way, these zucchini roll ups are almost done!
Zucchini and Yellow Squash Prep
The final step in this recipe is to prep your zucchini and yellow squash. You don’t have to use yellow squash if you don’t like it, but I thought alternating between squash and zucchini strips would be fun!
I happen to own a Julliene peeler which is what I used to cut the squash into thin strips. If you own a spiralizer device you could use that too. Alternately, you could just use a knife to cut them into thin wide strips as well.
Assembling The Zucchini Roll Ups
Once all of the above is done, it’s time to assemble the zucchini roll ups! Take small spoonfuls of the tofu ricotta mixture and lay it in the center of a zucchini or squash strips like shown.
Carefully roll the strip inward until it forms a spiral and place it in a large baking pan. Repeat until all of your tofu ricotta is gone, your pan is full, or you run out of strips!
I put a bit of sauce in the bottom of the pan before I got started. Once your pan is full pour the rest of your sauce over the zucchini roll ups until they are almost covered and (optionally) sprinkle the top of the pan with some vegan Parmesan cheese.
Bake the dish for ~20 minutes at 375 or until the sauce starts to bubble. Then serve! Because there is nothing to cook in these zucchini roll ups, you’re really just warming everything up. If 20 minutes is not enough, you could leave them in for an extra 10.
I hope you enjoy these easy zucchini roll ups. They were surprisingly filling, though that may be because I ate like 20 of them after they were done!
By swapping out lasagna noodles for zucchini and squash this dish becomes pretty low-carb. With the tofu ricotta it’s also very high protein, and low fat. It’s a healthy vegan dish that can be enjoyed for an Italian dinner night any day of the week. I hope you like it! 🙂
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 2 Tablespoons tahini
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1-2 Tablespoon fresh chopped basil
- ½ teaspoon salt + more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 cups of fresh or frozen spinach (loosely packed)
- 3 large tomatoes
- 3 roma tomatoes
- ½ a red onion
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 Tablespoon of Italian seasoning (or equal mixes of dried parsley, oregano, dried basil)
- 3-4 large zucchini
- 3-4 large yellow squash
- 1-2 Tablespoons of vegan Parmesan cheese (for garnish) - https://minimalistbaker.com/how-to-make-vegan-parmesan-cheese/
- Preheat oven to 375
- If you're making your own sauce, put your tomatoes on a plain baking sheet and bake them for 30-40 minutes (no oil needed). Some light charring should happen. When they're done, add them and the rest of the sauce ingredients to a blender and set aside
- For the tofu ricotta, first steam the spinach in the microwave. Then simply add all of the ricotta ingredients (and steamed spinach) to a bowl and mix thoroughly. Use a fork to press into the tofu and break it into smaller clumps until it resembles ricotta cheese consistency
- Using a julienne peeler, slice your zucchini and yellow squash into wide thin strips. You could also use a spiralizer device (if you have one) or cut them with a knife into thin bendable strips
- Add a small amount of sauce to a large baking pan before you begin placing your rolls
- To make the rolls, take a spoonful of your tofu ricotta mix and spread it in the center of a zucchini or squash strip. Then carefully roll the strip into a spiral and add it to the baking dish
- Repeat until the dish is filled, or your tofu ricotta is used up (I liked alternating between zucchini and squash strips to make it colorful!)
- Pour more sauce into the dish until the rolls are somewhat covered, dust the top with a bit of vegan Parmesan (optional), and bake for ~20 minutes or until the sauce starts to bubble in the pan