Crockpot Lasagna

The crockpot; like the little black dress of cooking appliances, there’s nothing quite like being able to make a meal without minding the oven (or having it heat up your house unnecessarily).

Someone the other day asked me about cleaning my oven, and I said to them, “Clean it? I thought we were supposed to just season it.” So cleaning the crockpot is much simpler, too.

Joking aside, This is one of my favorite new dishes ever. Why? Because it’s just so versatile. From the dinner table to a camping trip, to your work lunch box, you’re going to make this one of your new, favorite, easy, go-to dishes.

Shredded zucchini and spinach make this dish delicious.

This recipe combines ease of preparation with the added bonus of cleanup, since there’s no need for washing big casserole pans and covers (if you keep your cheese covered to prevent excess browning). You can even (as I did) use that leftover meatloaf to get double duty out of your dishes.

Shown here in its glorious, juicy goodness. With added Parm.


  • You can sub out the cottage cheese with ricotta, but the cottage cheese is lower in calories and carbs.
  • Pizza sauce is a delicious, thin liquid, so it makes the best red sauce when you’re limiting sugar intake. Check labels for no added sugar. My favorite sauces are the store brands, like WalMart’s Great Value brand; not only are they the cheapest, but they typically don’t have added sugar.
  • I shred the entire zucchini (save for the ends) skin on.
  • Don’t have fresh spinach? You can use drained frozen or canned, but spread more thinly since the leaves are obviously smaller/shriveled.
  • Want to add pepperoni or even more fresh veggies to your lasagna? Add the pepperoni with the meat, and the fresh veggies with the zucchini/spinach layers. I added mushroom and green peppers to this batch to keep it simple.
  • Want a lasagna noodle to replace the zucchini and the spinach layers? Try this recipe for delicious and easy cauliflower noodles.
  • There will be some liquid in the bottom of the crockpot. This is normal, due to juices. If you wring out the shredded zucchini, this will help slightly. Otherwise, the juices pretty much solidify by the next day.
  • This dish sets up really well, especially after refrigeration, so consider packing a wedge for your lunch.
  • I used my Stow and Go crockpot which also makes this dish easy to transport.
  • Looking for an easy camping recipe? Line your dutch oven with tinfoil, layer in the ingredients, and you’re good to go.

Only 4 net carbs for a generous slice

Crockpot Lasagna

1 lb. hamburger
1 jar pizza sauce
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp parsley
1 medium zucchini, shredded (about 8-10″ long)
3 cups fresh spinach
2 cups cottage cheese
3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Brown hamburger in skillet and drain. Wipe 6 quart crockpot with oil. Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce in bottom of crockpot. Spread 1/2 of hamburger over the sauce. Stir remaining pizza sauce into hamburger, along with garlic powder and parsley. Layer half of the zucchini and spinach over hamburger. Top with 1/2 of the cottage cheese, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with 1 c. of Mozzarella cheese. Top with 1/2 of hamburger mixture, spreading evenly. Then top with veggies and the rest of the cottage cheese. Sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella cheese and sprinkle Parmesan on top. Cook on low 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours. Let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into wedges.

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: Calories: 145, Carbohydrates: 4.75, Fiber: .75, Net Carbohydrates: 4, Protein: 13g, Fat: 8g

This is perfect to take along for lunch, too.



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  1. This sounds delicious!! I will add this to the menu!!!

    • I really think you’re going to love this! I enjoyed the last of mine yesterday.

      • This recipe is delicious and has become a family favorite with slight adaptations. I can’t ever get it to hold its form though, it’s always kinda runny and messy!

  2. Yum yum, cannot wait to try this. But …. my crock pot is quite deep. Reckon I should put foil in to make sure it stays together?

    • I wouldn’t worry about the foil unless you’re worried about cleanup. No matter what, even with the foil, the recipe (as with a standard lasagna) sets up better after the ingredients have had the chance to cool and solidify. I definitely use foil in dutch ovens, but generally because they’re cast iron and a disaster to clean. My crockpot is a 6 quart crockpot, so it seems pretty deep to me, but it’s amazing how quickly the crockpot filled up with the layers!

  3. This sounds like a recipe that’s right up my alley– one pot (well, almost!), little fuss, little supervision, and something I can cook the evening before. Looking forward to trying it out– thanks!

    • I was skeptical that it’d be as amazing as an oven dish, but the cheese browned, and it was really nice! I am making it again for sure.

  4. This does sound delish! I’m a little confused on the directions though. After the pizza sauce in the bottom what comes next? You say, ” Layer zucchini and then spinach over hamburger. Top with 1/2 of the cottage cheese, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with 1 c. of Mozzarella cheese. Top with 1/2 of hamburger mixture, spreading evenly. Then top with veggies.” So did the first half the hamburger go in on top of the pizza sauce? And the veggies are divided in half to go on in two layers? I can’t wait to try this out! Thanks!

    • You are correct about 1/2 of the hamburger going on top of the sauce. I made that edit. Thank you for rocking it!

      • Can you also edit to halve the veggies, and what to do with the other half of the cottage cheese? As is, it looks like you put all the veggies in the first time but then you mention veggies again later, so I’m guessing it should have said put in 1/2 the first time. It says to use 1/2 the cottage cheese one time and then never mentions the other half. Very confusing! :/ Totally delicious, though! Love this site!

        • Hi! Thanks for that catch! I can’t believe I missed that. I amended to add the rest of the cottage cheese over the veg.

          That said, you can definitely halve the veggies!

          • I don’t mean that I want to halve the veggies. I mean when you say this:

            “Layer zucchini and then spinach over hamburger.”

            It sounds like you are putting ALL the zucchini and spinach over the hamburger right there. But then later, you say this:

            “Then top with veggies”

            There aren’t any other veggies. So you must have meant to put HALF of them on the first time, right? And the other half go on then? Otherwise, I don’t understand at all what’s supposed to happen!

          • Hi there! Ermagersh! thank you for catching this. I fixed it! sometimes I think I’d walk out of the house naked if it wasn’t for the snow.

  5. MaryDove says

    Are the directions missing a step? Does the hamburger (1/2 the hamburger?) go into the crockpot after the pizza sauce and before the veggies?

  6. MaryDove says

    Thanks! I am looking forward to trying this recipe later in the week.

  7. Could this be made in a dutch oven? I have yet to purchase a crockpot…

  8. Sue Bechtel says

    Which size jar or can of pizza sauce should I get? Thanks.

  9. I did notice when I went to put this together that the recipe is missing when to add the other half of the cottage cheese. I ended up putting it on top as I didn’t notice this till the end. Haven’t tried it yet as it is cooking right now.

    • You did the fine thing! Putting it on top won’t matter. It’ll be wonderful! I out it over the mozzarella after the veggies.

  10. We made this last night. We didn’t have time to put it in the crock pot, so we baked it in the oven for 45 minutes at 325* convection. It was amazing. Both of my children loved it too and my kids tend to see the GREEN in stuff and turn their nose up immediately. I prefaced our meal stating, if you don’t eat all of your lasagna, you get no snack this evening. WELL, my DD not only ate every bit of her lasagna, she BEGGED me to put it in her lunch for school today! That says a TON if my DD requests that.

    A++++ recipe in our book. Thanks again Cleo!

  11. I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I made my own pizza sauce and used ground italian sausage instead of hamburger, which added a nice kick. I will be making this one again, even my kids liked it and we didn’t even miss the noodles.

  12. Tried this tonight. Ah – ma – zing! Had wonderful flavor. The recipe doesn’t say what to do with the garlic powder and parsley so I mixed it with the cottage cheese. It’s a little runny so I’m wondering if a couple of eggs mixed with the cottage cheese would help thicken things up a bit. Have already had request to make it again soon!

    • I am so glad it’s a hit, Susan! There is a lot of liquid but it disappears by the next day. I was surprised! Sorry for not mentioning where the garlic and the parsley go–you made the right call! anywhere in the dish is fine, but I’ll sneak back in, thanks to you, and make that change.

  13. Any ideas on what I could sub for the zucchini? I love zucchini, but my son is allergic to it.

  14. Love your recipes and humor so much! Just a quick, dumb question…do you cook the hamburger first or put it in raw? Looking forward to making this soon! Thanks!

  15. Oh my gosh! I need a brain transplant! I reread the recipe and I see it should be browned first. Never mind!

  16. This sounds so good. I’ve tried everything I can to calculate the calories and carbs and still come in at over 300 calories/10 carbs per serving. Any ideas? (I calculated using lowest fat options avail for meat and cheese.) Thank you.

  17. Wonderful! For my first time I followed the recipe to a tee and it was simply fantastic as written but I can see how easily it could be personalized to your liking i.e. italian sausage, pepperoni, garlic cloves, etc. & I may play with some variations next time. Love the subtle spinach & zucchini flavors and don’t miss pasta whatsoever. Will definitely be making again soon.
    I used Trader Joe’s organic marinara which is yummy, has a simple ingredient list, no added sugar and net carbs are 6g per half cup.

    • That sounds so good! I love what you’re adding to yours. Thank you for the tip on TJ’s! I’m in Denver, so I don’t think we have any. Boo!

  18. JUST made this and it. is. FANTASTIC!!!!!! Definitely making it again!!!!!!

  19. And, even better on day 2 for leftovers. Everyone at the fire department was sniffing the air around my office (and not because they thought I had set something on fire). I’ve sent the link to the recipe to three people at work who are probably going to give it a whirl as well, and none of them are low carb. Win!

  20. Trying today! Thank you!

  21. I’ve been perfecting my lasagna recipe since my teens so I thought I’ll just add my favorites (mushrooms, garlic, and onions to the meat) and used an egg in the cheese mixture like I normally do..I am so happy to have this awesome recipe so that this meal can be a regular and not just a treat/cheat laden with guilt lol Never missed the pasta..o I almost forgot I had some pancetta that I bought from the farmers market..It was the first time I’d bought it from them and found it too salty for my taste on it’s own..inspired by your bacon theme I layered it under the spinach and zucchini..just have to say WoW! 🙂

  22. Just wanted to let you know, that finally I made this about 3 weeks ago. Had plans to share it with my daughters so froze it in 2 pieces. Forgot about it. Girls are gone now, :o( but found this in my freezer, thawed one piece then divided that up into single portions. Well I finally tasted it last night. Oh my gosh is this ever good! Glad I put it into single portions and froze the others or I would have been back for more. This definately goes into my “good and make again” folder. Thank you!!!!

  23. In the slow cooker now, can’t wait to try it. I made mine with kangaroo mince which will be a big experiment:)

  24. Tried this wonderful recipe and definitely will be making this again…and again! Thank you bunches. 😀

  25. this was delicious loved loved loved it…..made it in the oven as well ….

  26. I have all the ingredients except zucchini. Walmart didn’t have any 🙁 Is the zucchini a must have in this dish???

  27. No cottage cheese on hand. Think I can use marscapone?

  28. Hi Jamie – I am anxious to make this but leave at 8 am and don’t get home till after 5. Have you ever cooked this longer than the 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours? Most of the recipes I put in the crock pot usually cook 8-10 hours on low. I would worry this would get over cooked.

  29. Since I couldn’t do it in a crock pot, I tried it in the oven…..350 degrees for an hour. I shredded my zucchini in my food processor so it would be small shreds……it turned out great! Just an FYI if someone doesn’t have the time for the crock pot! The top of the cheese was beautiful!!! 🙂

  30. I just read that cottage cheese is not allowed on the Atkins induction diet. Is there a way to make this without the cottage or ricotta cheese?

  31. Hi! Do you think it would taste as good with a bechamel or is the red sauce a must have?

    • I would say any sauce you enjoy that can handle being heated for some time is a good option. There’s no particular magic with the red sauce, so definitely go for what you enjoy most!

  32. Would you suggest to leave the cover on or off when cooking in a dutch oven?

    • Hi, Ryan! Good question. Leave the cover on so that the moisture doesn’t escape.

      • Thank you, I’m going to make it tonight, to be honest, I am skeptical about this recipe. I’ll let you know what I think.

        • I welcome your skepticism! Welcome it. I look forward to your review.

          • I made the lasagna as closely as I could. I have a cast iron Dutch oven that seems bigger than 6qt. The amount of ingredients didn’t seem to be enough to make a layer, so I added a little more zucchini and spinach, more cheese and wish I had add more hamburger. It wasn’t clear on what size the bottle of sauce was so I used an average size, turned out to be a little soupy. Verdict? Wife said that it was the best thing I’ve made in a long time. It will be made again. Thank you.

          • YES! I am so happy to hear it! Yeah, it’s a little soupy, but tomorrow that’ll all solidify. It’s fat and sauces that will be reclaimed by thee lasagna. I am so glad you like it! It’s literally one of my favorite things to eat in the whole world.

  33. So I packed up some of the lasagna for my lunch today and was delighted to find that it did solidify slightly AND the flavor had a chance to mature…. it was so good that I instantly thought about making it again and freezing a bunch of it…. did you have any luck freezing this?

  34. Jackie Anderson says

    It’s what’s for Dinner tonite!

    • Jackie Anderson says

      It did nOT disappoint, either. I had mine on steamed up broccoli and Caine ahd it on pasta…perfect.yum.

  35. this was so insanely good I had serious trouble with portion control….darn and it was so easy to make too….tempting

  36. any suggestion on what to sub for the cottage cheese?

  37. sorry…just saw my answer in your blog 😉 Love this site…thank you.

  38. I made this for dinner tonight. My husband loved it and he hates spinach! Great recipe. Thanks!

  39. Sounds wonderful, but your nutrition info is way off (and I calculated using all low-fat and even substituted ground turkey which is more lean):

    Serves 8/ per serving: 383 Calories, 11 Carbs, 23 g Fat, 35 g Protein, 789 g Sodium, 5 g Sugar

    I used to calculate the recipe per serving.

  40. I’ve been on a serious “gawd I miss Italian food” kick the past few days and I think this is what I’ll be making tomorrow night. Thanks for all your great recipes!

    • Alright, I made this and not only is it a 1,000% WINNER but it cleans up super easily (even though I forgot to coat the crock pot with oil/cooking spray) and stores like a dream. Like the greedy-gus that I am, I had to try a serving the same day. Super yummy! I then stored the entire thing in the fridge letting it “set up” and the next morning it was a breeze to cut into individual servings and store.

      This is another that will be in my permanent rotation. Thank you a million times over!

  41. I made this for the second time today. I used ground turkey today and I might even like it more. Thanks for another great recipe. I love learning to cook healthy and ohhhhh so yummy! Thank you for your help in my quest.

  42. Made with spaghetti squash…..awesome!

  43. Confused… this is labeled as being okay to eat during induction. But can you eat cottage cheese during induction? I just read another entry in your blog saying you can’t. Please help. I’m in day 3… bought everything to make this tomorrow. Don’t want to screw up my hard work.

  44. trish graham says

    I don’t have 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 hrs, so I am putting it on high – will that work?? Just planning on halving the time…

  45. Wow! I can’t wait to try this I just started Atkins so I’m going to wait until I hit the phase that allows some of the ingredients.


  1. […] doing Atkins, I whipped up a lovely, beefy, cheesy noodle-less lasagna. To. Die. For. Find the Crock Pot Lasagna from Your Lighter Side […]

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  3. […] up is this low-carb lasagna recipe I found.   I browned the beef on the stove, then assembled everything in the slow cooker. […]

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