Eggplant Lasagna

I know not everyone is a fan of eggplants but I absolutely adore them.  I love eggplant Parmesan, eggplant dip and pretty much anything you can sneak an eggplant into!

After reading an article about a year ago about making one day of the week meatless, I was curious if I could even attempt to do 1/2 day meatless at our house.  Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against vegetarian dishes or even vegan dishes.  It’s just that my carnivore house is well…hungry for meat of all kinds!  I guess I am to blame because I cook for them and I do the grocery shopping.  I still wanted to try something on a weekly basis to attempt this idea.  So in that spirit, I made this eggplant lasagna.  The “meat” in my sauce is the eggplant.

Ingredients:

1 eggplant (mine weighed in at 12-ounce) NOT peeled.  Diced (1′ to 1/2′ cubes)

4 cloves of garlic – crushed and finely diced

1 medium onion finely diced

1/2 cup of red wine (optional)

1 can of crushed tomatoes 28-ounce

1 can of petite diced tomatoes 14.5-ounce (not drained)

1/4 cup of fresh basil finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon of sugar (don’t fight me on this, eggplants are extremely acidic and you need to counter balance it, it will not make your sauce sweet…trust me I do not like sweet sauce)

salt and pepper

Lasagna noodles (I use the no-boil kind…yes, I am lazy)

1lb of fresh mozzarella cheese sliced

1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

***note: you could easily use 4 cups of shredded mozzarella if you don’t like or can’t find the fresh stuff

Here goes: In a deep pan heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil, when hot put in your onions and garlic.  Reduce heat and gently let this sweat it out.  keep a watchful eye as to not burn your garlic.  Gently stirring.  3-5 minutes should do it.  Trow in your eggplant and let this cook gently (med-low heat)  for at least 10 minutes.  Add your red wine (if using).  Some people really don’t like to cook with wine…I don’t know how not to.  Reduce your wine for 2-3  minutes then add your tomatoes, basil and sugar.  Salt and pepper.  Let this cook for at least 15 minutes on medium-low heat.  (I don’t know your stove top’s personality so I’ll let you decide) Turn the heat off…time to assemble.

In your favorite lasagna pan put about 1/2 cup of sauce at the bottom before putting your first layer of noodles.  Next goes your noodles, sauce and cheese….repeat 2 more times.  I had 3 layers of noodles, I finished with sauce and cheeses, in fact I put my last layer of fresh mozzarella and then I top it with the one cup of shredded mozzarella….what?  It’s a lasagna, it NEEDS cheese.

Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes, uncover and cook for another 20-30 minutes more until golden and bubbly!

Note #1: if you are using cooked/boiled lasagna noodles you may not need 30 minutes with the foil…just check after 15 minutes then uncover.

Note #2: I was telling by blog/friend Ninette (Big,Bold,Beautiful Food) about this lasagna and she had a good point for kids (or adults) who don’t eat eggplant; when your sauce is ready: puree it with an emulsion blender then assemble…they won’t know.  I didn’t do this and Bear (my 11 year old) sat there for about 20 minutes “trying” to finish her plate (yes, I am a meanie)….the only reason she did finish is because there was a cupcake in the near future!

I always top mine and Mr. Man’s portion with crushed red pepper and Parmesan cheese (more cheese, please!)

Here is the finished product:

perfect pan of eggplant lasagna!

Here is my plate: (actually it is my leftover plate for lunch today, still delicious)

yummy!

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