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Eggplant Lasagna



Recipe Info


Difficulty: Moderate
Mess Level: Moderate
Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 2 hr

Ingredients


  • 1 lb (1 Large) Eggplant
  • 1 Box (12oz) Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 Can (28 oz) Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 lb Cottage Cheese
  • 8 oz Mozzarella Cheese
  • 8 oz Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Bunch Thyme or Parsley
  • 2 Large Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Flakes
  • Pepper to Taste
  • Salt to Taste
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar
  • Oil for Sauteing

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Directions


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 Fahrenheit.
  2. Finely dice the eggplant leaving the skin on if desired. Toss the eggplant in a large bowl with salt. Put the eggplant in a colander and rest it over the bowl. Allow to sit for 30 minutes at room temp and up to 6 hours in the fridge.
  3. Shake off the eggplant and pat it dry. Roast on a parchment-lined sheet pan for 20 minutes. Add a drizzle of oil and stir the eggplant, then roast for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the eggplant is caramelized and no longer watery. Taste and add salt if needed.
  4. Finely mince the garlic and herbs, set some of the herbs aside for garnish if desired. Grate both the cheeses and refrigerate.
  5. In a bowl, beat two eggs and season them with salt. Add the cottage cheese, herbs, half the chili flakes, and black pepper. Mix well and refrigerate.
  6. Heat a saute pan over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom and add the garlic. Saute the garlic till fragrant, about 30 seconds and add the crushed tomatoes, sugar, remaining chili flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, the sauce should be very flavorful. Allow to cool.
  8. Turn your oven down to 350 Fahrenheit. Place lasagna noodles in a single layer along the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Break them as needed.
  9. Put down a 3rd of your cottage cheese mixture, a 3rd of your tomato sauce, and half your eggplant. Repeat the layers twice more, the top layer will have no eggplant. Top the lasagna with mozzarella and parmesan.
  10. Bake the lasagna for 30-40 minutes or until the edges bubble and the cheese is beginning to brown. You may broil it to brown the cheese further if desired. Top with herbs and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Did You Make It? Tag Us!


@CleaverCooking
@CleaverCooking

Make It...


  1. Gluten Free: Swap out your favorite gluten-free lasagna noodles.
  2. Vegetarian: Yes! This dish is naturally vegetarian.
  3. Meal Prep: For this you have two options:

    1. Salt, rest, and roast the eggplant mince your garlic and herbs, grate the cheeses. Cool and store separately in the fridge until ready to finish the lasagna. This will significantly cut down on the time this recipe takes.
    2. Complete the recipe through step 9. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days, then complete step 10. This often results in a more flavorful lasagna as the flavors have had time to develop.

Savannah Says...


  1. Why can’t I just roast the eggplant inside the lasagna?

    1. You might as well bake your lasagna in a sauna...

      Because it will be sandwiched in a bunch of sauce & cheese and will never caramelize properly. Also, it will release water when cooked and if it does that in your lasagna it dilutes the flavor.

  2. What does the salt soak on the eggplant do?

    1. It's like when you soak in Epsom salts, it pulls the bitterness out...

      It pulls out some of the moisture and begins to break down the outer cells. All of this gives you a better chance at getting the eggplant to caramelize. A bonus is the salt soak pulls out some of that bitter-flavor.

  3. Why do I have to cook the tomato sauce?

    1. Because we're making lasagna, not tomato soup...

      Again, it’s the water content and the flavor! You need to cook out some of that water unless you want a soggy lasagna. Also, cooking allows the flavors to meld which gives you a better lasagna!

Ramblings of a Line Cook

When I see people stuffing slabs of eggplant into a lasagna in place of the noodles it makes me cringe. There are SO many people out there that champion a “low carb” option for traditional dishes and most of them have, at best, a culinary knowledge passed on by their mothers and friends with similar skill levels and mindsets. The result is a sloppy casserole of watery, disgraced vegetables - The sins of improper techniques covered up with cheese and jarred marinara.

I fully champion eating delicious things while keeping your health in mind, but for gods sakes, if you want those flavors without the bread, dice up your vegetables, saute or roast them, nestle the crispy, salty beautiful vegetables on a bed of sauce and top with a dollop of fresh ricotta and a healthy sprinkling of grated parmesan. A few twists of the pepper mill will go a long way.

But today… Today we are making the epitome of vegetarian delight. We’re salting the eggplant and allowing it to give up its bitter juices. We’re roasting it until the sugars have caramelized and the flavor has built. While we allow it the time it needs to come into its true potential we will whisk some eggs together into some cottage cheese. We’ll add some fresh herbs and black pepper.

We’ll saute garlic just until fragrant and infuse it into a can of crushed tomatoes. The tomatoes will happily bubble away sending their excess water up as steam until the flavor is concentrated.

And for god’s sake, we’re using oven-ready noodles, which are possibly one of the greatest inventions in the pre-packaged food world, in my opinion. Then you layer. You layer again, and again. And then you top that lasagna with exactly as much cheese as it asks for to fill in those crevices and you bake it until the cheese bubbles and is golden brown. And my friend, you have made a thing of beauty.

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2 Comments

  1. Can I use ricotta cheese instead of cottage? 😬

    • Absolutely, ricotta will be great! Let me know how it turns out. 🙂


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