Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lasagna with Eggplant "Pasta"

When starting out this recipe I wasn't so sure that I would enjoy eating lasagna that did not contain layers of ricotta or cottage cheese along with vats of mozzarella.  I WAS WRONG TO DOUBT.  If you get the meat and tomato sauce packed in with a lot of herbs you will mimic the flavor without needing the cheese.  I did add a little gouda cheese to the top though, to appease the members of my family that eat dairy :).  The key to even cooking here is cutting the eggplant nice and thin.  If you don't react well to eggplant (nightshade) you could sub zucchini slices.  You'll just need a bunch more of them unless you have one of those colossal zucchinis hanging around.

1 eggplant, peeled
1 pound grass fed ground beef
2 links of italian or andoullie sausage (really sausage of your choice)
1/2 onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1.5 cups organic pasta sauce (I used half a 28oz can of Trader Joes tomato basil sauce)
      *Look for a sauce without added sugars and basic ingredients
1 teaspoon mixed italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon basil
salt and pepper
olive or coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Start by peeling the eggplant (you can eat the skin, but when you bake it like this the skin doesn't get that soft, and I prefer to skip the somewhat leathery texture it can have).  Then cut it into 1/4 inch slices, or thinner if you can.  Lightly salt and pepper the slices and let drain on a paper towel for 10 minutes.  This will bring some of the moisture out of the eggplant before baking, so your lasagna doesn't become all soupy. 

While the eggplant is draining, chop up the onion, garlic and add them to a skillet with 1 tablespoon oil.  Cook, stirring often, until onions are transluscent.  Then add in the ground beef and sausage.  Again cook, stirring often until there is very little pink left in the pan.  Then add in the pasta sauce, italian herbs and basil.  Mix all together and continue cooking another 2-3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Coat the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking pan with oil and cover the bottom with eggplant slices.  Try to cover as much surface area as possible.  I started out using the larges pieces and then took some of the smaller ones to fit in the corners, though it doesn't have to be perfect.  Cover the eggplant with about a third of the meat mixture and spread evenly.  Repeat two more times so you have three layers of eggplant and end with the meat mixture on top.
Pop that sucker in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.  If you aren't able to get the eggplant slices real thin you'll need to cook it for the full 30 minutes.  If you want to top it with cheese, add thin slices of cheese of your choice to the top and bake for the last 10 minutes.

Let the lasagna cool about 5-10 minutes before serving.  Since the eggplant slices don't cut the same as pasta noodles would, I used a sharp knife to cut through it and then pulled out slices with a spatula, that way it doesn't fall apart much.


  1. I made this with zucchini instead of eggplant, and it was really, really good. I did miss some cheese on it, but I think I actually like the crunchy-ness of the zucchini instead of the standard pasta texture. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Glad you liked it Streeter! It's not 100% the same sans cheese, but we do what we can :)