Eggplant Lasagna

eggplant-lasagna-5

This post was actually written and the lasagna prepared last summer, when I was at the height of the Great Eggplant Glut of 2017. At the time, I promised that I’d post the recipe. Well. my birthday is coming next week and I was in need of something to prepare in celebration. Unfortunately, despite recent attempts to stretch the parameters, I’m still rather restricted to soft foods. Just as I’ve done, i could make a soup, or pasta, or soup with pasta but I wanted something a bit more special. Enter eggplant lasagna. Lucky for me, there’s a tray waiting for me in the freezer. Oh, boy!

Now, to be clear, this dish contains my homemade pasta and, therefore, is not gluten-free (GF). If the noodles are to be omitted, I’d rather make eggplant parmesan, this lasagna’s GF cousin. Well, it is my birthday and sometimes I just want a nice plate of good old-fashioned gluten. Sue me but at least send a birthday card before you do.

The recipe is easy enough. You can use any kind of lasagna noodle that you wish. Follow the directions on the package for store-bought noodles. If using “no-bake” noodles, I give them a quick rinse in hot tap water before placing in the tray. That helps to ensure that each noodle gets enough moisture to cook properly. If at all possible, use freshly made pasta noodles, They only require about a two-minute blanch in boiling water before use but the difference in taste is remarkable. Do it once and you’ll be sold.

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ETA: For a slightly different take, one more true to the dish’s Sicilian roots, take a look at Bea’s recipe on her delicious Viaggiando con Bea, Travels with Bea. One can never have too many lasagna recipes.

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eggplant-lasagna-preview

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Eggplant Lasagna Recipe

Ingredients

  • medium-sized eggplants (see Notes)
  • cooking spray
  • about 1 quart tomato sauce (Vegetarians use meatless)
  • butter to grease the baking dish
  • pasta sheets to create 3 layers
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 4 oz  Asiago cheese, grated
  • 4 oz Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • fresh mozzarella, cut into rounds
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, grated, for serving

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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450˚ F (230˚ C). Liberally butter baking dish/pan.
  2. Prepare the eggplant(s):
    • Trim off ends of eggplants and slice into 1/2 inch rounds. (See Notes)
    • Place rounds in a single layer on a rack resting upon a baking sheet.
    • Lightly spray each side and sprinkle with salt.
    • Bake for 15 minutes,
    • Remove from oven and reserve.
  3. Reduce oven to 350˚ F (175˚ C).
  4. Meanwhile, cook lasagna noodles per package instructions,
  5. If using fresh noodles, par-boil for about 2 minutes before rinsing is cold water.
  6. Assemble the lasagna:
    • Lightly coat the bottom of the baking dish/pan with tomato sauce.
    • Place enough pasta sheets to create a single layer.
    • Add a single layer of eggplant rounds.
    • Cover with a layer of sauce.
    • Sprinkle half of the grated cheese mixture.
    • Sprinkle with 1/3 of the grated Pecorino Romano.
    • Add another layer of noodles, eggplant rounds, sauce, and cheeses.
    • Add the final layer of noodles and enough tomato sauce to cover.
    • Evenly distribute the mozzarella rings and sprinkle the rest of the Pecorino Romano cheese on top.
    • Cover with aluminum foil. (See Notes)
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, uncover, raise the oven temperature to 450˚F (230˚ C), and bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes more.
  8. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Be sure to have grated Pecorino Romano available at the table. (See Notes)

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eggplant-lasagna-10*     *     *

Notes

You will need enough eggplant rings to create 2 layers in whatever size baking dish/pan you’re going to use.

When preparing eggplant parmesan, I do not peel the eggplant, the peel adding structure to the dish. In lasagna, the noodles add some structure, so, strips of the eggplant’s peel are removed.

Lightly coating the inside of the aluminum foil with cooking spray will help prevent it sticking to the mozzarella should the 2 come in contact while baking.

Once baking is complete, be sure to give the lasagna ample time to rest and set. It will be easier to serve and will retain its shape far better than if sliced immediately upon removal from the oven.

This past summer, I made a couple extra trays of lasagna and froze them. Once fully cooked and cooled, wrap the trays in plastic wrap before wrapping with aluminum foil. The night before you intend to serve the lasagna, place the tray in the fridge for defrosting. The next day, unwrap and remove the plastic wrap, and place the tray, recovered with foil, into a preheated 350˚ F (175˚ C) oven. Serve when heated through.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

cherry-pie

It’s that time of year again. Every January, I go to the freezer in my basement and retrieve a bag of frozen tart cherries. The current January Thaw notwithstanding, a mid-winter cherry pie reminds me of the previous summer when the cherries were bought and put away, out of sight. Now, while I prepare, bake, and enjoy a cherry pie, I cannot help but dream of the summer to come. Old Man Winter may still claim the outdoors but here, in my kitchen, summer rules once again. And if this doesn’t work? No problem. There’s another bag in that freezer, though it’s contents will be used to prepare cherry muffins. One way or another, summer is coming. (Take that, Jon Snow!)  You can see the cherry pie recipe HERE and the cherry muffin recipe HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

meatloaf-preview

Meatloaf

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128 thoughts on “Eggplant Lasagna

    • Oh, Mandy. Let me say that I am not, nor have aI been, in any pain throughout this ordeal, While enjoying my beloved turkey sammich following Thanksgiving, a tooth “found” a walnut shell and snapped right above the gum line. (Again, no pain.) A temporary solution is now in place and I am to avoid hard foods until the permanent solution is installed early next month. This, too, shall pass …
      Hope you and your fur babies have a great weekend! 🙂

      Like

    • Yes, I am so glad that I froze a couple trays back in the summer. I’ll be cooking the last one on my birthday but have decided to plant 3 plants again this summer. If I’m at all lucky, they’ll give me another glut of eggplant fruit. There are worse problems to have to deal with in a summer garden. 🙂

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  1. You are the best. I cannot tell you the frustrating experiences I’ve had with eggplant lasagna. (This comment box ain’t big enough..) However, I’ve never tried baking the eggplant before assembling the lasagna, which I think would work much better than what I’ve been doing. (Don’t ask.)

    Also, you’re not shipping cherry pie to international readers, are you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ruth. That pie is standard-sized. The pies I make these days are about 6 inches across. It’s self-imposed restraint. I can’t overeat what’s not there. 😉
      I think you’ll find that baking the eggplant gets rid of much of the inherent moisture. That makes a big difference for me once the dish has baked and ready for serving. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I planted my eggplants for 2 reasons: this dish and stuffed eggplant like my Grandma made. I’ve just finished off the last of the lasagna and I cannot wait to plant them again this year.

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  2. I’ve made plenty of eggplant parmesan, but not eggplant lasagna. Thought about it, just never did it. Really need to try it, maybe late summer/early fall when eggplant is at its peak. I’ve never tried those “no-cook” lasagna noodles. Should probably get around to it one of these days, but homemade are SO much better in this dish. Anyway, great looking recipe. And Happy (early) Birthday!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve just finished off the last tray of lasagna from last summer’s glut, John, and how I wish there was another in that freezer in the basement! When I was working, I =was an advocate of the no-bake noodles. They’re so much less labor-intensive. The taste, as you noted, is nothing like home-made pasta. Now that I’m home, I only prepare it with home-made. I use 9″ square cake pans and freeze them. When I’m in the mood for lasagna, they’re even easier to prepare than using no-bake noodles. 🙂

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  3. Happy Birthday in advance, and I’d never sue anyone over gluten. One clarification I need; in directions on placing eggplant rounds on baking sheet you say to spray each side; is that with cooking spray? And do you use olive oil spray? Thanks. I am making this asap.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Angeline. my birthday was great! As for the cooking spray, as a rule, I use the olive oil spray abut I have used the vegetable spray if it’s all that I have on-hand. I really don’t think it makes that much of a difference being the eggplant is going to be smothered in sauce and cheeses. It would make a big difference if the slices were fried rather than baked. They’d absorb much more of the oil and flavor. Sorry it took so long to get back to you.

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  4. Always looking out for different lasagna takes. Good football food. Another person who has a lot of experience with eggplant parm but not eggplant lasagna. Stay clear of those evil walnuts for awhile longer and happy birthday in advance. (Maybe since you got the cherries out early we’ll see six less weeks of winter?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL re: cherries.
      Any day is a good day for lasagna in my book, Bruce. I’ve just finished the last tray and now have to start planning a lasagna day to refill the freezers. Some squirrel away cash, others nuts for the winter. I stock up on lasagna. Who’s to say which is the better plan? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well you know that we love your lasagna! And adding eggplant to a lasagna is all the more delicious. And I for one say you absolutely deserve gluten on your birthday. Have a wonderful birthday John! Cheers to you and wishing you an amazing year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks,Kristy. I really am glad that our lasagna is such a big hit with your family. Who knows? When Mr. N makes it to Broadway, a tray of lasagna just may get me backstage after one of his performances. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Sandra, for the birthday wishes and yes, the addition of the eggplant slices makes a great lasagna. With our weather so cold right now, having a tray of lasagna in the oven is a good for the soul. 🙂

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  6. Well, since I am annoyingly Australian and actually do have an eggplant or even two in the fridge I’ll faithfully promise to make this and have it with a few glasses of my favourite dry white on your day, dear Aquarian. I thought that the blessed argument with the nut shell had already reached its conclusion and am glad you are finding favourites other than soup and pasta to eat. Hmmm: meatloaf still fits into the ‘soft’ category 🙂 !! What havoc one bite can cause. Since we probably won’t see you next week, may the year to come be better than the last and may most things you wish for come true ! Happy birthday . . . . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks you so much, Eha. It was a wonderful birthday — week, actually — and I’ve not been around here much. As for my romp through dentistry, I’ve another appt today and, with luck, only one more to go in a couple weeks. I certainly hope so. I crave a protein that hasn’t been shredded, minced, or boiled to death. I’ll know better in a few hours. Fingers crossed … 🙂

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  7. You can never have enough eggplant recipes, is what I say. That looks really tasty, John.
    Did you used to sing ’21 today, 21 today. He’s got the key to the door, never been 21 before?’ I was 21 for years whenever my children asked. Trusting lot. Took a while to wise up, and now of course I can’t get away with it any more. 🙂 So, you got the key to the door? (Me being a bit silly. Maybe I still am 21) Happy returns of the day, John.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Ronit. I consider myself quite fortunate not to have any food-relate issues worth mentioning. I would find avoiding gluten to be an impossible task — and expensive! Just think of all of the flour-dusted pasta equipment I’d have to replace. Yikes! 😀

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  8. I’ve never been a big fan of meaty lasagna but I love a vegetarian version.Eggplant sounds great because it’s so meaty and I love the use of fresh mozzarella. Fabulous recipe John! Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, MJ. I’m a carnivore, no doubt, but this lasagna works really well without meat. Eggplant makes a great substitute and I don’t even miss having meat on my plate. Now, that’s saying something! 🙂

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    • Thank you, Gerlinde. I learned something new today, as well. It never occurred to me to use fresh pasta without par-boiling it. I clearly remember Mom boiling her pasta and plunging it in ice water immediately after. I’m going to definitely try it. Eliminating that par-boil would also eliminate much of the mess. Thanks! 🙂

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  9. I’m so sorry for your dental issues, John. It may be that there’s no pain, thankfully, but sometimes we feel the pain when we get the bill! This beautiful lasagna should be good comfort food! I do love eggplant and this recipe is enticing with all that delicious cheese! I enjoyed making Pain Perdu with the last little bit of Panettone I had remaining when you last posted. It was delicious, and I’m sure to make this lasagna soon, as well. I do hope you have a very happy birthday, John. And that the dental work is behind you soon! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Debra. You’re right about the bill, though I’ve yet to see the final determination. I’ll find out soon enough, to be sure. My final appt. is about 2 weeks away and I cannot wait. Glad you had some panettone leftover. I buy extra and it goes directly into the freezer. It makes a great breakfast on these cold winter days. Do give this lasagna a try. It’s a tay of cheesy goodness!

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  10. Oh, how utterly delicious that lasagne looks. I’d kill for a slice of that and it’s still only 1015 am here. And your cherry pie is a thing of beauty. Hope you have a fabulous birthday, dental problems notwithstanding. All the best! Lx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, BAM. I had a wonderful birthday and a bit of cake, too. I’ve been testing the limits of this temporary work and have yet to have any problems. 2 more weeks to go and I’ll be able to end this chapter. As for the lasagna, It’s gone now. I had 3 trays in my freezers but not any more. On the plus side, I’ve got plenty more room in both. Now, what to fill them with? 🙂

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    • Thanks, Sally, and wouldn’t that be a lovely evening? I especially like the “no politics” addendum. I’d rather be seated at a table full of texters than to let politics take center stage again.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Just beautiful, John! As you know, you don’t have to sell me on making homemade pasta. It is one of my favorite things to do, and there is nothing – literally nothing – like lasagna made with homemade noodles. Also, as you know, we love eggplant and I assure you this will be on our menu within the next week. As always, I will report back.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s in the oven now, John, and it smells incredible. Just another 10 minutes and then I have to be patient and let it rest… tick tock, tick tock…

      I have to admit that we have a new vendor at the market – a guy who makes fresh pasta for you on demand. What could I do? I bought some of his fresh spinach sheets and used them for the eggplant lasagne!

      Liked by 1 person

      • So glad that you made and enjoyed the lasagna, David. I’m all out now, a fact I’m reminded whenever I go into the freezer. Loved knowing that I had as many as 3 trays in there at one time. They were like money in the bank. Oh, well. Summer will be here soon enough and I’ll be refilling the freezer. Well, after I make and eat a tray or 2 first. 🙂

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  12. That dental problem sure is taking time to get better! Which reminds me, I have a dreaded appointment coming up this week. I love the mix of cheeses in this lasagne. I definitely don’t use the dry pasta sheets when I make lasagne – like you say, they can be very dry. I do prefer to make my own but if I don’t have the time or can’t put up with the mess, I buy the fresh pasta sheets (and tell no one I didn’t make them). And just putting it out there that I won’t be suing you xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hope your dental visit when well and was pain-free. My saga is coming to a close in 2 weeks. Enough already!
      When I still worked, I used the no-boil dough sheets because I didn’t have time to make my own. Now, however, I have the time and they taste so much better. Adding layers of eggplant really do make this dish. I love it!

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  13. Love your blog! Can I turn my readers over to you for recipes??? Seems like a good idea! Also, on the eggplant front, have you heard of soaking the eggplant in milk? I used to get eggplant parmesan that was amazing at a salumeria near our old house in Milan. When asked their secret, they said the soaked the eggplant slices in milk before using. Have you heard of that?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello and welcome! Of course you can tell your readers of my blog. I’m flattered that you’d want to.
      I’ve never heard of soaking eggplant in milk before. I must give it a try, especially if my garden treats me to another glut of eggplant fruit like it did last summer. Thanks for the visit and for taking the time to leave such a great comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I love eggplant lasagne, although I more commonly make it without pasta as eggplant alla parmigiana. Your version looks delicious. I agree with peeling the eggplant for this, as otherwise the skin can be tough or rubbery. I’ve not made this yet with meat in the sauce, so that is something to try. Do you use a proper ragù (more meat than tomato) or is it just tomato sauce with ground meat?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Stefan. Truth be told, I didn’t make a sauce for this but used some that I had previously prepared and froze. The final decision will rest upon what I already have and/or who is seated at the table. A sauce with meat just won’t fly with my vegetarian friends. I make this lasagna and parmigiana with both sauces, meat and meatless. The sauce used here was not a proper ragù, being more of a tomato sauce with meat. As much as I enjoy a good Bolognese ragù, I just don’t think it would work well in this dish.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Why, why, why did I come here? I knew it could only mean heartache for me! You see, I’ve been on a diet, my friend. A much needed hiatus from la dolce vita! Because I did have la dolce vita in excess in 2016. So, we decided we would abstain and try to drop a few (or more) of those dreaded reminders of la dolce vita. I’m down 10 (since Jan 3) and JT is back to his old pants (he doesn’t weigh himself, I try not to hate him), so it’s working. And I’m not serving old diet crap, my food boarders on gourmet (without butter, of course). But this cheese laden, taste of heaven will just have to wait. Not too long though, we are heading down to Arizona to visit our dear friends (the Chicago connection) and I’m sure I’ll be making a few meals to thank our lovely hosts for our room and board!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Eva, I can sympathize. i, too, have been paying attention to my diet and have lost some weight as a result. Unfortunately, I’ve managed to put a few of the pounds back on lately. The holidays and eating well because “soft food cannot be high in calories” have taken a toll. Sunday’s Super Bowl certainly didn’t help. I’m back on track now, however, and hope to drop the newly acquired pounds soon. I bought new clothes and I refuse to go back to the larger sizes.
      Have a wonderful stay in Arizona and continues good luck with the diet! 🙂

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  16. Gimme, gimme, gimme! I also had loads of eggplant! Must save this for next year when I hope I have many more. And thanks for reminding me about my cherries. My mom used to make a cherry pie for Washington’s bday, so I can’t wait to celebrate. In the meantime I hope you have a mighty fine celebration John! Many more!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Abbe. I had a wonderful birthday. Your Mother was a wise woman. A cherry pi in winter is a great reminder that spring is on the way. I noticed that I’ve another bag of cherries in the freezer. I’m about to learn if muffins have the same effect. 🙂

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    • Ha! I don’t bake many things, Michelle, but I really do look forward to this mid-January cherry pie. I’ve noticed more cherries so soon there’ll be cherry muffins cooling on the counter top. 🙂

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    • Hi, Gretchen. I’d be interested to learn how the men in your house react to having eggplant in lasagna. If nothing else, the boys will have fun making it. When the young men that live above me were boys, we had “lasagna day” and eventually they were able to make it themselves. Never were much good at cleaning up, though. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. hi John! da buona italiana conosco già la ricetta delle lasagne con melanzane ed anche altrie versioni di lasagne ( quelle con carciofi, mozzarella e provola la conosci? ) quello che mi ha colpito di più sono le due ricette dei dolci, la loro preparazione ed anche presentazione, la prima davvero eccezionale, sei un cuoco di prima qualità!
    ti ringrazio e saluto
    Annalisa

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hope you had a great Birthday, John. Sorry about the tooth and hope it’s fixed already. I love eggplant, although hubby isn’t keen. Your recipe sounds too delicious and the pics are just about edible, although taking a bite at my screen doesn’t work very well 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Freezer lasagne is a must in our household… But I have trouble convincing the G.O. it should, in the first instance, go into the freezer rather than his stomach… even when I make 2. But he’s so happy when we’re busy and/or late and it appears on his plate. He’s ambivalent about eggplant however as a lasagne filling it might just get over the line 🍆

    Liked by 2 people

    • Last year, I bough 9 inch (23 cm) cake pans and they’ve now become my lasagna pans.They’re great, EllaDee. I can fill 2 of them with the same amount of ingredients that I once used for a full tray and I have at least of tray of lasagna in my freezer at all times. Like having gold in the bank. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: Bologna la Grassa: tour enogastronomico con degustazioni -

    • Sorry for the delayed reply …
      I do hope you prepare and enjoy this lasagna. It’s the main reason that I plant eggplant in the summer. Be sure to make enough to freeze a tray or two. They’re like money in the bank!
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      Like

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