Lasagna is traditionally a dish served with ground beef and plenty of it. However, with a few small adjustments, it can be made into a vegetarian dish.
One of the best ways to do that is by changing out the ground beef for eggplant, and you may want to make some other minor changes as well to accommodate the eggplant’s flavor and texture.
I will show you how to make eggplant lasagna, breaking down the process step by step so that it’s simple to make.
If you’ve never worked with eggplant before, that’s no problem, because I’ll cover the entire process for preparing your eggplant for this dish.
Eggplant Lasagna Ingredients
What should go into an eggplant lasagna? There are some key ingredients that you will want to have, even if you are making some variation of the standard dish.
Make sure the eggplant is fresh and not overripe. It’s best to buy it from a local market and check it over before trying to add it to your lasagna. It’s important that you season the eggplant very well too.
Eggplant can be kind of bland, and you need the right components to bring out its flavor and accentuate its texture. Make sure it is well seasoned when making this dish.
Next up is the sauce, and traditional pasta sauce works fine, but you can go with something more complex that includes mushrooms and onions, if you like, adding them yourself for buying a sauce with these ingredients already included.
If you want to make a meaty lasagna that still incorporates eggplant, then you may prefer to pick a sauce that has some meat in it, like chicken, beef, turkey, or sausage. All of these work really well in pasta sauce and in conjunction with eggplant.
You will also need ricotta cheese, and you need plenty of it as well. Making an eggplant lasagna requires a lot of ricotta cheese, and some people even put in two layers of it.
Just bear in mind that this is a really fattening, high-calorie ingredient, so for a healthier dish, you want to cut down on the ricotta. Some people use cottage cheese in place of ricotta for this dish.
Your lasagna could benefit from additional vegetables like spinach, and you can find frozen spinach that works really well with this dish, and even spinach steaks are a great addition.
Putting spinach into the dish makes for a more rounded vegetarian meal and adds some subtle flavor and texture to the dish.
How to Prepare Eggplant Lasagna
- 2 large eggplants
- 1 can (24 ounces) of chunky pasta sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons of kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
- 10 ounces of frozen, chopped spinach
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons of parsley
- 15 ounces of ricotta cheese
- ½ cup of grated parmesan
- Olive oil
- Start by cutting the eggplants, slicing them lengthwise so that you get about 8 long slices altogether from the two eggplants.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and set up the oven racks so that they are in the lower third and upper third of the oven.
- Prepare 2 baking pans by spraying them down with nonstick spray.
- Put your eggplant on the baking sheets in a single layer. Brush olive oil on the eggplant (on both sides) and sprinkle some salt and pepper on them as well to season.
- Roast the eggplant in the oven for about 25 minutes until it turns golden and becomes soft. Be sure to flip them about halfway through the cooking time.
- Take the eggplant out of the oven and lower the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, half a teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the egg, and all the ricotta cheese in a large bowl. Mix until combined and then added the spinach, breaking it up with a fork.
- Prepare a baking dish by spraying nonstick spray on the inside and then pour half the pasta sauce in the bottom of the dish. Spread it out evenly and lay 4 eggplant slices on top of that.
- Pour the ricotta mixture on top and then layer on the remaining four eggplant slices. Cover that with the rest of the pasta sauce and then topp with mozzarella cheese and the remaining parmesan cheese.
- Bake the eggplant lasagna for 25 to 30 minutes. You know it’s done when the cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with herbs and serve.
Now you know how to roast eggplant lasagna in the oven and how to make eggplant lasagna without noodles. You can always reheat whatever is left in the microwave if you have leftovers.
How to Make Eggplant Lasagna not Watery
Is your lasagna coming out kind of watery and soupy? You may have too much liquid in there. You shouldn’t be adding any broth or water to the mixture.
It also may need to cook for longer to help dry up some of the excess liquid.
If the temperature is not high enough in the oven (and it should be at 350 degrees), then your lasagna may not cook properly and it could end up soupy.
How to Freeze Eggplant Lasagna
If you made up a lot of eggplant lasagna and you’re going to end up with quite a bit of leftovers, you may want to freeze some of that.
To freeze this lasagna, it should be taken out of the baking pan and put into a freezer safe container. Make sure this is an airtight container, and it can be stored in the freezer for as long as 2-3 months.
It can be safe to eat being stored in the freezer for even longer, but only if the temperature stays at 0 degrees.
Frozen eggplant lasagna can be reheated from frozen or allowed to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.