For this week’s Meatless Monday’s my husband, Nathan, decided to make an eggplant lasagna. While it sounded like a lot to take on, it simultaneously fulfilled two objectives. Firstly, it provided an interesting alternative to our Meatless Monday routine and secondly, it left me with a dish that would last me 3 to 4 meals, as my husband was traveling, and I don’t like to cook (and I love leftovers!).
Quickly glancing at the ingredients, we were off to the grocery store with ricotta & mozzarella cheeses, lasagna noodles and of course eggplant added to our usual shopping list.
When we got home and read the recipe with a little more attention, we realized that the recipe called for eggplant instead of pasta sheets, not in addition to. Having bought both we decided to tweak the recipe a little bit. It turned out delicious, easy to make and most importantly lasted me for a few nights!
Below is the original recipe from Food Network with Nathan’s magic touch/variations highlighted in orange:
- 1 (8-ounce) package precooked lasagna noodles – ADDED to the original recipe
- 2 large eggplants, sliced lengthwise 3/4-inch thick (8 slices) – we ended up peeling the skin, which was a little rough to chew, after the eggplant was cooked. Suggestion to remove skin, either before or after cooking it.
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided plus more for baking dish
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
- 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
- 3 large eggs – skipped the eggs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
- 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese – ADDED to the original recipe
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped oregano leaves
- 2 cups Nona’s Marinara Sauce, recipe follows – due to lack of time (and to keep things easy!) Nathan used our favorite store-bought Marinara sauce.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Arrange sliced eggplant in a single layer on 2 sheet pans. Brush on both sides using 3 tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper (the more the better!!). Roast the eggplant until it is soft and golden. Turn slices halfway through, about 25 minutes – we cooked several “test” slices to try after 25 minutes, to make sure that eggplant was being cooked throughout as our oven tends to take longer. Our final cooking time clocked in at 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium skillet add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the sliced mushrooms. Saute until soft for about 7 minutes. Add the minced garlic and chopped thyme. Cook for another 2 minutes. Once the mushrooms are cooked remove and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl add the ricotta, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, oregano, mushrooms, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix well. We skipped the eggs.
- Brush an 8-inch baking dish with oil.Spread half of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Lay 4 slices on top followed by the ricotta mixture. Lay another 4 slices of eggplant and finish with marinara sauce. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Added lasagna noodles, in addition to the eggplant.
- Bake until golden brown, at 350 degrees, for 30 minutes.