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Green lasagna with pesto and zucchini recipe

Green lasagna with pesto and zucchini recipe

I remember the taste of that green lasagna from when I was a child, and Grandma created this dish from just a few eggs of pasta dough and zucchini from the garden that she cooked slowly with lots of basil until they were almost mushy.

It was a summer, vegetarian version of baked lasagna that we most often ate cold. In the morning, before going to the beach, Grandma would leave the covered pan outside the refrigerator waiting for lunch.

When I returned home, I was in a hurry to eat lunch.
And, for once, instead of lingering, I would run first to the garden shower to rinse the sand off my feet, then into the house to wash my hands, and finally to the table where my square of fragrant lasagna was there waiting for me, compact even without béchamel or any cheese.

And even though I loved that dish, I had forgotten this recipe.

Green lasagna with pesto and zucchini recipe

Looking for cooking inspiration

Usually, the creative process starts with the ingredients, perhaps a simple aromatic herb or what I find in the pantry or on market stalls in that season.

Sometimes I cook by choosing something from my family repertoire.
There are times I reach for cookbook or go online for ideas and build the meal from there.
I like to try other people’s recipes.

Yesterday, I woke up thinking about basil, my fav among the aromatics, so I grabbed my cookbooks and family notebooks, looked for any recipe that included basil, and just went for it.

These are moments I feel like an unexpected gift -simple small but, oftentimes, the most fulfilling.

The gastronomic research work I do for blogs and newsletters is, more and more often, taking the form of the sudden gift I was telling you about. By the way, all that thinking about basil reminded me of summer green lasagna.

The gastronomic research work I do for blogs and newsletters is, more and more often, taking the form of the sudden gift I was telling you about. By the way, all that thinking about basil reminded me of summer green lasagna.

If it weren’t for you stopping by for a story and a recipe, sometimes just one of the two, but always thank you, how many gastronomic memories would I have lost forever?

And how many family memories? They are little lights that light up the present and, I hope, my future.

Green lasagna with pesto and zucchini recipe

The ingredient that makes green lasagna special is basil

That aromatic has an intense fragrance and a sweet, fruity taste that, not surprisingly, Grandma combined with the equally delicate taste of zucchini to enhance it without covering it up.

I made some changes to the original recipe.
For example, I also used its aroma to make the pasta sheet where, with the egg, I combined basil leaves and peas blanched in water.

To the zucchini, I added the rich flavor of Ligurian pesto.
The Italian sauce celebrates my favorite herb.
I made a pesto without garlic to maintain the freshness and lightness of summer lasagna. And to let that spicy, sweetly pungent scent find its way to the heart of every palate.

My husband, a man of appetite and good heart, rarely indulges in exaggerated compliments. Therefore, he told me the green lasagna with pesto is simply divine. So guys, cook it.

Buona cucina, Monica

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Monica’s basil pesto 

Italian pesto recipe


large boiled potato, 1
boiled green beans, a handful
pine nuts, a few tablespoons (or almonds)
basil, lots of it
salt, a pinch
olive oil, several tablespoons

Mash everything together in the blender, if needed add a few tablespoons of water to make it more fluid.

Another veg lasagna recipe perfect for summer

Here is the link to the recipe for the vegetable lasagna I make with carasau bread and stracchino béchamel sauce. That is also a recipe that goes well with the summer pace when we want to spend less time at the stove and, at the same, eat well. If you have invited friends or want to make a good impression on your family without going crazy, I recommend it.

Reading and cooking notes

I leave you the link of food blogger Emilie Raffa where you can find the original recipe for making Ligurian-style pesto.

I share an interesting article about the origins of the pesto recipe that I read on the Tasting Table magazine website.

Green lasagna with pesto and zucchini recipe

Green lasagna with pesto and zucchini recipe

serves 4

Pasta dough

all purpose flour, 200 g
blanched peas, 80 g
egg, 1
large basil leaves, 5


zucchini, about 800 g
pesto, about 160 g + 3 tablespoons for the last layer
grated Parmesan cheese, 100 g
olive oil and salt to taste



Wash the zucchini, remove the ends, and cut into thin rounds.

Cook zucchini over low heat in a large saucepan with olive oil and salt until soft, almost falling apart.

Let cool. I usually prefer to cook zucchini the day before. In that way, if they release water, I put them back on the stove to dry. If not needed, add pesto, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and mix.

Put into the fridge for about 1 night or many hours.

Pasta dough

Wash and dry the basil leaves.

Blend peas, basil, and egg.

Pour the flour into a bowl, pour the liquid part, and mix with a fork before transferring the dough crumbs to the cutting board and continue with your hands.

Knead for about 10 minutes until the mixture is smooth and not sticky.

Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes before rolling out a thin sheet of pasta dough with a rolling pin or the machine.

Measure the base of the baking pan you will use and cut out five rectangular sheets.

Use the leftover pasta sheets to make cannelloni or maltagliati.

Green lasagna assembling

Turn on the oven to 200C degrees (392F)

Grease the bottom of the baking dish with olive oil.

Arrange the first sheet of dough on the bottom. Spread a few tablespoons of filling and sprinkle with plenty of Parmesan cheese.

Each time you add a rectangle of dough, apply light pressure with your fingertips to distribute the filling from the previous layer.

On the surface of the last layer of lasagna, spread a thin layer of pesto and sprinkle with plenty of Parmesan. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

The green lasagna is ready when the corners turn brown and crispy.

You can eat it hot or at room temperature.

Store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to a month.

Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Reheat by covering the pan with aluminum foil in a preheated oven.

Italian lasagne recipe

Italian lasagne recipe

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