Keto Manicotti Recipe: Cheesy Zucchini Manicotti

As I’ve mentioned, giving up pasta wasn’t too tough on me when switching to a Ketogenic lifestyle…it was giving up all the stuff that GOES with pasta: sauces, cheese, spices, meatballs… I’ve tried a few “keto” pasta alternatives and they just didn’t do it for me. When I first started out, my favorite substitute was simple: zucchini or sometimes eggplant, depending on the recipe. This was one of my first easy keto recipes – a cheesy keto manicotti recipe that made me realize that I can easily do keto for the long haul.

I still make this Cheesy Zucchini Manicotti recipe regularly – my kids love it and the zucchini mimics pasta so well, the flavors of the sauce, meat and spices come through perfectly. It’s hearty, super delicious and meets the macros – win, win, win! As with so many keto pasta alternative recipes, this one is another that’s great for meal prep and tastes even better the next day.

UPDATE: now that I’ve been living the keto life for over four years, I have found some decent keto pasta alternatives like NuPasta and Palmini – which are pretty tasty but I still prefer this keto manicotti recipe with zucchini. However, if you looking for a keto lasagne recipe – Palmini is the way to go. NuPasta is my go-to alternative for noodles, and it works perfectly with bolognese and tomato-based sauces or pesto.

Cheesy Zucchini Manicotti

You’ll never remember that the zucchini is in this recipe to replace pasta — the flavors come through and all the cheesy goodness takes center stage!
5 from 1 vote
Course dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 345 kcal


  • 4 whole zucchini squash, sliced lengthwise about 1/8″ – 1/4″ in thickness I prefer to use a mandoline for even slices
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cups no sugar added marinara sauce I like Rao’s
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 – 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter


  • Preheat over to 350 degrees. 
  • Spray an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with oil and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil and butter in skillet over medium heat and add minced garlic. When garlic is soft, add ground beef, pepper, salt, 1 tsp basil, 1/2 of oregano and 1/2 of parsley, and crushed red pepper flakes, if using.
  • Brown beef until cooked through and add marinara sauce. Lower to simmer, cover and let simmer while you prepare the zucchini and filling. 
  • In a medium bowl, combine egg, ricotta and parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and remaining spices and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  • Coat the bottom of the prepared dish with 1/2 cup of meatsauce.
  • Place about 1 tbsp of cheese mixture at the end of a zucchini “sheet” and roll loosely. Place seam side down in prepared dish. Repeat with remaining zucchini sheets and cheese. Arrange zucchini rolls close together, but not too tightly. 
  • Sprinkle 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella over rolls evenly.
  • Pour remaining sauce over rolls and shredded cheese. 
  • Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. 
  • Place dish in preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes. 


Calories: 345kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 22gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 883mgPotassium: 705mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 834IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 267mgIron: 3mg
Keyword pasta
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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Lolita Carrico
Lolita Carrico
A certified nutritionist and self-taught chef with a love for entertaining and experimenting with food, Lolita Carrico created Ketology after struggling for years with her own hormonal changes and weight gain. After having two children, she found that managing her weight and moods became more and more of a struggle. After researching the ketogenic diet thoroughly and understanding the science and nutritional aspects, she began her keto journey in 2018. Within three months, she shed 25 pounds and her mood improved, focus sharpened and her energy was through the roof. Four years later, she has maintained a 65-pound weight loss and has learned to intuitively follow a balanced keto lifestyle without sacrificing a thing!

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