These baked Italian sausage stuffed zucchini rolls are my new favorite weeknight dinner! Herby, lightly spicy Italian sausage is rolled up in thinly sliced zucchini ribbons, topped with fresh mozzarella and pepperoni, and baked in rich, sweet marinara sauce. It’s low carb and gluten free friendly.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn on qualifying purchases.
About the Recipe
Growing up, we had dinner at my Grandma’s every Sunday evening. She’d make a huge Italian spread for us to eat. And when I say eat, I mean EAT.
Some of my favorite recipes were manicotti and stuffed shells, both classic pasta dishes filled with cheese and baked with a rich tomato sauce.
As an adult I try to stick to healthier, mostly low carb eating, but I still love Italian inspired recipes, like my Italian Lamb Shoulder or Keto Philly Cheesesteaks. So once again inspired by my Grandma’s fabulous Italian cooking, I made these low carb and Keto friendly Italian sausage stuffed zucchini rolls.
I used zucchini from my garden, sliced extra thin, then layered, and rolled up, stuffed ground Italian sausage. A little marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and fresh basil finish the dish beautifully.
This dish is gluten free friendly (just check all your ingredients labels!), and with just 8 net carbs per serving, it’s a great dinner if you’re following a Keto or Low Carb way of eating.
If you’re looking for more Italian inspired recipes like this, I’d recommend checking out my Stuffed Sausage, Pizza Chicken or my Pepperoni Pizza Frittata. They’re both healthier recipes made with classic Italian flavors!
- Ground Italian Sausage. I prefer to use either sweet or mild Italian sausage for this recipe, because then my kids will eat it. If I were cooking for just us adults, I’d use spicy Italian sausage. Whoever you prefer will work beautifully. I got this sausage from Porter Road, and my whole family LOVES it.
- Zucchini. Choose medium sized zucchini, about 7-9 inches in length. That’ll give you big enough slices to work with.
- Marinara Sauce. My favorite Marianara is Rao’s (it’s Whole30 Approved and made without sugar!), and their Sensitive Formula is even lower in carbs if you’re watching your carbs.
- Mozzarella Cheese.
- Pepperoni. I love Applegate’s uncured pepperoni, but you can choose any kind at all that you like!
- Ricotta Cheese: Sometimes I add 1 Tablespoon of ricotta cheese to each roll up. Just spoon it on the zucchini before you add the sausage.
Step by Step Process
First, cook the sausage.
Add the sausage to a skillet and cook it over medium heat, breaking it apart as it cooks.
Next, do the prep work.
Using a mandoline set to thin, carefully slice the zucchini into long, thin strips. Once you reach the seedy part of the zucchini, flip it over and slice from the opposite side.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll need about 3 strips of zucchini for each roll up.
You’ll want to set aside the first few strips and the seedy part of the zucchini. I like to dice it and add it to omelets later!
Sweat the zucchini (if you want).
If you’re short on time, you can skip this step, but the zucchini will be crisper and excrete less water into your baking dish if you sweat the zucchini.
When you “sweat a zucchini,” that just means you salt it and wait, which pulls the moisture out of the vegetable.
To sweat the zucchini: Sprinkle the slices of zucchini with salt, then toss together so they’re coated evenly. Let them sit untouched for about 15 minutes. Rinse the salt off, then pat each piece dry with a paper towel.
Make the Sausage & Zucchini Rolls.
Next, layer three slices of zucchini together and lay out on a plate. If using ricotta, spoon about a Tablespoon onto the end of the slices, then spoon about 1/4 cup of the sausage onto one end.
Use your hands to carefully roll it up, starting from the sausage end and working your way to the other end. If any pieces of sausage slip out while you’re rolling, tuck and press them back in the sides with your hands.
Repeat, repeat, and repeat, until you’ve got the desired amount of rolls.
Put it all together.
Pour 3/4 of the sauce into a baking dish and use a spoon to spread it evenly across the bottom. Use a spatula to transfer the rolls on top of the sauce, setting them with the end side down.
Drizzle the tops of the rolls with the remaining sauce, then layer the cheese and pepperoni on top. Into the oven it goes!
Check to see if the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melting and starting to brown, and if it is, it’s done! Remove the baking dish from the oven, then sprinkle with torn basil and black pepper.
Wait about 5 minutes for it to cool, then serve it up! You’re going to LOVE it, I promise!
If you’re looking for a fantastic side dish to serve with Italian sausage stuffed zucchini rolls, I got you! Serve with spaghetti squash, sautéed spinach, or your favorite gluten free or keto friendly bread.
Of course! Substitute thinly sliced summer squash, eggplant, or palmini sheets (hearts of palm).
Transfer your leftovers to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Like this recipe? Drop a star rating below! And be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can share it – @cookathomemom!
Italian Sausage Zucchini Rolls
- 1 lb. ground Italian sausage
- 3 medium zucchini
- 1 cup marinara sauce choose sauce without added sugar
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
- 2 ounces pepperoni sliced thin
- 4-5 leaves fresh basil
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the sausage to a skillet and cook it over medium heat, breaking it apart as it cooks. Set it aside once it's cooked. Optionally, you can drain any excess grease.
- Using a mandoline set to the thinnest setting, carefully slice the zucchini into long ribbons. The first few slices may be too narrow, so set those aside to use later, and once you reach the seedy part of the zucchini, flip it over and slice from the opposite side.
- Optional Step: Sweat the zucchini by sprinkling the slices of zucchini generously with salt, then toss together so they’re coated evenly. Let them sit untouched in a bowl for about 15 minutes. Rinse the salt off, then pat each piece dry with a paper towel.
- Next, layer three slices of zucchini together and lay out on a plate. If you're use ricotta, spoon about a tablespoon of ricotta onto the zucchini. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the sausages onto one end. Use your hands to carefully roll it up, starting from the sausage end and working your way to the other end. If any pieces of sausage slip out while you’re rolling, tuck and press them back in the sides with your hands. Repeat the rolling process until you've used up all the sausage and zucchini.
- Pour 3/4 of the sauce into a baking dish and use a spoon to spread it evenly across the bottom. Use a spatula to transfer the rolls on top of the sauce, setting them with the end side down. Drizzle the tops of the rolls with the remaining sauce, then layer the cheese and pepperoni on top. Set the dish in the oven and cook uncovered for 20-22 minutes.
- Once the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is gooey and melty, it’s done! Remove the baking dish from the oven, then sprinkle with basil and fresh pepper. Wait about 5 minutes for it to cool, then serve!