Lasagna is one of my favorite dishes of all time. I can eat half a tray in one setting, easily! This foolproof eggplant lasagna recipe makes me feel a little better about eating all of the gooey, yummy cheese. I substitute the lasagna noodles for eggplant slices and the dish becomes gluten free as well. To be honest, I don't even miss the noodles, it has been years since I made lasagna the traditional way.
There are two critical steps to making this recipe to perfection. I was surprised that many of the online recipes I found for this dish don't mention them. Check out Le Chef's Wife tip below.
This foolproof eggplant lasagna recipe is now my go to when I am craving comfort food, and who doesn't need a little extra comfort about now?
A delicious alternative to pasta noodles.
I came up with this dish one evening as I was craving lasagna but did not have any lasagna noodles...what I did have however were 2 big, beautiful eggplants on my counter and the memories of eating luscious eggplant parmesan in the South of France. Surely, I could use the eggplant slices as noodles, couldn't I? It took a few tries to get the recipe right but now this is one of the go to staples in my recipe collection.
Vegetarian or with Meat Sauce?
Your choice! If you choose to use a meat sauce, I like this bolognaise sauce that I often have stocked up in my freezer. Otherwise you can make a quick an easy vegetarian sauce by sautéing 2 cloves of garlic and 1 onion, finely chopped, in olive oil before adding two 16oz cans of crushed tomatoes. Add some of your favorite spices, like oregano or basil, and let simmer for 20 minutes while the oven heats up. Voilà!
Le Chef's Wife tip:
Le Chef's Wife tip: the eggplants need time to sweat out their juices before cooking or else the dish is too watery. Also the pre-baking is a must to make the eggplant slices tender and delicious.
Pre-bake! I tried this recipe several times without pre-baking the eggplant slices and each time the eggplant was chewy and undercooked. By pre-baking the slices before creating the "lasagna" you make sure that you have irresistible, melt in your mouth slices. Simple cut the eggplant into ¼ inch thick slices, lay out on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
This one is! By replacing the traditional noodles with eggplant slices you make a completely gluten-free dish!
Absolutely! Food safety rules ask that you let the dish chill completely on the counter before setting in the freezer. (Never put hot food in the freezer). Put in a freezer safe container and freeze. This dish is great for new moms - either to bring as a gift or to make for yourself as part of meal prep.
When properly cooked, eggplant is a great alternative for pasta and an easy way to get in more veggies. This dish can also be made meatless and you really don't even miss the meat in this tasty dish.Print
2 medium to large eggplants
3 cups of Marinara or meat sauce (depending on your preference for vegetarian)
Handful of chopped basil leaves
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Slice 2 large eggplants length wise in ¼ inch strips
Lightly salt the slices and place in a strainer over the sink. Allow to sit for a couple hours to get the moisture out of the eggplant. (I have skipped this step when I was in a rush - the dish is still very tasty but might be a little more watery)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly sprinkle a baking tray ( I love this one by USA Pan) with olive oil. Fan out the eggplant slices on the tray then drizzle more olive oil on top.
Bake for 30 minutes. (this is a crucial step so that the eggplant slices become tender and melt in your mouth...)
Drizzle olive oil on the base of a lasagna tray ( I have been using this Le Creuset baking tray for years). Lay the baked eggplant slices on the bottom of the tray, one layer deep - like you would pasta noodles.
Generously spread a layer of tomato sauce to fully cover the eggplant slices.
Sprinkle basil over entire pan.
Add half of the mozzarella and half of the parmesan.
Add another layer of the eggplant slices over the sauce.
Spread the remaining sauce.
Top with both parmesan and mozzarella
Bake, uncovered for 40 minutes until cheese is a nice golden brown and you see little bubbles from the sauce.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving. (if you can wait that long! It smells delicious...)
Two key steps that make this dish a success:
1) letting the eggplant slices "sweat" for a few hours so that they loose their moisture
2) Pre-baking the eggplant slices in the oven for 30 minutes ensures a soft, melt in your mouth texture to the eggplant "noodles"
This dish is even better the next day !
If you like this recipe here are a few more that you might like:
What is your favorite comfort food?
Le Chef's Wife