Cheesy Zucchini Beef Marinara

I used to make pasta at least once a week. I made spaghetti a lot, but baked ziti was my special dish. It was the birthday meal request. It was the dish I took to church potlucks. It was the meal I took to new moms or someone who had just had surgery. And, of course, I had to throw in a big loaf of garlic bread. Oh, and I would add a side salad just for fun. I love revising dishes I used to make and fitting them to this low-carb and keto lifestyle. This zucchini dish doesn’t replace baked ziti but has some of the same ingredients and is good. Like zucchini lasagna, I didn’t want to slice and layer it that way. I wanted to create pieces similar to the size of ziti pasta. Complete the part of the recipe where you salt the zucchini! This is necessary so you don’t have a runny, watery dish. ? Also, you can use ricotta or cottage cheese.  Whichever you like best

Sprinkle salt evenly
Salt is pulling the water out of zucchini
Salt is pulling the water out of zucchini

Cheesy Zucchini Beef Marinara

3.95 from 19 votes
Print Rate


  • 1 lb Ground beef
  • 4 Cups Chopped zucchini Or 2 large zucchinis
  • 1 1/2 Cups Marinara sauce Lowest carb
  • 2 Cups Mozzarella cheese shredded Divided
  • 1 Cup Full fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tsp Minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning


  • Preheat oven 375 degrees 
    Prepare 9×13 baking dish  
    Dice zucchini into small pieces that are similar in size. Spread zucchini over paper towels and salt liberally. This will pull the moisture out of the zucchini. Let sit for 10 minutes 
    Meanwhile in an extra large skillet brown the ground beef with garlic, salt and pepper. Drain off any extra fat and then add the marinara sauce. Turn heat down to low.
    Drain the water off zucchini and press out all of the extra moisture with dry paper towels. 
    Toss zucchini in with the beef and marina.
    In a bowl mix together 1 cup of the mozzarella and 1 cup of ricotta and the Italian seasoning 
    First layer, spread half of the zucchini beef mixture into baking dish.
    Second layer, spread all of the ricotta mozzarella mixture. 
    Third layer, spread the rest of the zucchini beef mixture. Then top it with the remaining cup of mozzarella cheese. 
    Bake for 25-30 minutes. If you like the zucchini really soft bake it longer. 
    Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.  
Tried this recipe?Mention @ketoislife or tag #natashassouthernflavor!


  1. Hello Tasha, nice to meet you. My name is Shawnie and I’m trying the keto lifestyle. I was wandering if you have a printable stable grocery list/haul. Yes, I read labels but I’m still unsure if I’m picking the right products especially, the sugar free items. Any advice would help. Thank you for your time. God bless!

  2. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe and it was so yummy! We loved it, tasted so much like the high carb Italian food we used to eat but this was so tasty and much better for us! Thank you, looking forward to getting your book!

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