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Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna

Updated on November 4, 2015
miriamyentraccm profile image

Miriam has been a freelance writer since 2013. Born in Whittier, CA, she now lives in Montclair, CA, with her husband and family.

A serving of delicious Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna.
A serving of delicious Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna. | Source

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Eggplant Anxiety

How Do I Cook Eggplant?

My husband grows just about any vegetable I mention, including several vegetables I had never tried before. For example, as a child my mom never used butternut squash, spaghetti squash, Swiss chard, or eggplant. So when he brought several eggplants in the house for me to cook, I had no idea what to do with them -- or if I would even like them!

Fried, Grilled, or Baked?

At first, we tried frying them along with our zucchini. I love fried zucchini, onion rings, and many other vegetables are great fried, so I was hoping this method of cooking eggplant would be a hit and we would easily use up all the eggplant we grew. However, although I liked it okay, it was not as tasty fried as I had hoped.

A little later, we tried slicing them, brushing both sides with olive oil, salting them, and then cooking them over the barbecue grill. This turned out okay, too, but I still was not a huge fan of eggplant at this point.

Too Much Eggplant!

Soon we had more eggplant than we knew what to do with, and we had to figure out people to give them to. Then one day, my oldest son, Eric, his wife, Natasha, and my beautiful granddaughter, Sofia came over for a visit. Right before they left for home we asked them if they wanted some home-grown vegetables, like spaghetti squash and eggplant. Natasha quickly said she would love to take some, and then she mentioned that she loved cooking Eggplant Lasagna.

Eggplant Lasagna Recipe

Natasha said her Eggplant Lasagna was delicious so I asked her to send me the recipe. A few days later I sent her a text and asked her to send me the recipe, which she did.

I did not have exact measurements but we wanted to try it, so my husband, Jerry, found a good recipe online -- similar to the one she sent me-- that we could refer to for ingredients and other details.

Very Tasty.... and Vegetarian

This recipe hub is the result of that recipe, but you can add or subtract any ingredients you wish to make it more appealing to you and your family.

I am sure you will love Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna (Click to Tweet!). It is also a very fancy recipe, so if you decide to use it for a potluck, party, or family dinner you will impress your guests so much they will not even notice it is vegetarian!

Source: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015146-lasagna-with-tomato-sauce-and-roasted-eggplant

The Eggplant Flower & Eggplants Growing

The beautiful eggplant flower and some of the plants growing in our backyard.
The beautiful eggplant flower and some of the plants growing in our backyard. | Source

Preparation & Cook Time

Prep time: 40 min
Cook time: 1 hour 10 min
Ready in: 1 hour 50 min
Yields: 9 servings

Slicing the Eggplant

First, we slice the eggplant.
First, we slice the eggplant. | Source

The Ingredients You Will Need

  • 2 medium eggplants, about 24 ounces
  • 8 ounces Ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Salt & pepper, as desired
  • A dash of cinnamon, (optional)
  • 1 jar Ragu pasta sauce, 2 cups
  • 8 ounces No-boil lasagna noodles
  • Sweet basil leaves, as desired, fresh or dried
  • 4 ounces Mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, sprinkle as desired
  • 1/2 cup Black olives, pitted and sliced (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons Olive oil, as needed

Important! Buy This Type of Lasagna Noodles

You need to use "Oven-Ready" lasagna noodles like those in the photo above.
You need to use "Oven-Ready" lasagna noodles like those in the photo above. | Source

Preparing to Cook the Eggplant Slices

Getting the eggplant slices ready for the grill. We use olive oil (or any vegetable oil) and brush on both sides of the eggplant slices.
Getting the eggplant slices ready for the grill. We use olive oil (or any vegetable oil) and brush on both sides of the eggplant slices. | Source

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Slice and cook the eggplant by first cutting off the top and bottom off the eggplant (be careful because there are thorns on the top!). You may wish to peel the eggplant, but I left the peel on for more fiber and vitamins.
  2. Slice the eggplant into 1/4" slices, then brush each slice with olive oil on both sides. You can cook the eggplant however you want, but we used the barbecue grill.
  3. Preheat your barbecue grill on low; you will want to set the eggplant slices on a large tray for easy transfer to the top rack of your barbecue grill. Salt the eggplant right before grilling.
  4. After placing the eggplant onto the top rack, set a timer for about 10 minutes, then turn the slices over for another 10 minutes. Check to make sure the eggplant is as tender as you like by piercing with a fork. Sometimes it may take upto 15 minutes each side, depending on how soft you like it.
  5. While the eggplant is cooking, slice the mushrooms and olives, and then set them aside for later.
  6. Now you need to prepare an oiled baking pan 11" x 13". Oil the baking pan on all sides or spray Pam on the bottom and sides of the pan.
  7. Take out a small bowl to mix the ricotta cheese, one egg, 2 tablespoons of water, and a quick sprinkle of cinnamon. At this point, you may add sweet basil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix ingredients well with a fork. Be sure to use this mix carefully and leave some for the top layer.
  8. START LAYERING: a) Use a spatula to spread pasta sauce thinly over the bottom of the baking pan you have prepared; b) Place lasagna noodles over the pasta sauce;
  9. c) Cover the noodles with dollops of the ricotta cheese mixture and spread evenly with a spatula.
  10. d) Place eggplant slices over the ricotta mixture;
  11. e) Sprinkle mozzarella cheese, then the mushroom slices and sliced olives;
  12. f) Top with pasta sauce and then sprinkle parmesan cheese over all. Repeat layering process until you are out of ingredients.
  13. Cover the Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna with foil and cook on the top grill for about 35- 40 minutes or until everything is bubbling and the noodles are soft. Allow recipe to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and enjoying.

Eggplant Cooking Made Simple!

Totally Eggplant Cookbook (Totally Cookbooks)
Totally Eggplant Cookbook (Totally Cookbooks)

Any way you slice it, this cookbook has every method for cooking eggplant you can think of! From baking to roasting, grilling to frying-- and even more! This handy pocket-size cookbook can go anywhere you travel, and there are recipes to entice every taste bud. This book is available for your Kindle, or in paperback and is affordably priced, too.

Customers are writing great things about this cookbook, as it contains some of the best eggplant recipes available in print. Eggplants are well known for being one of the healthiest vegetables , plus they make a great substitute for meat, whether or not you are vegetarian!

 

Grilled Eggplant Slices

The grilled eggplant slices are recipe ready.
The grilled eggplant slices are recipe ready. | Source

Building the Layers

Layering the casserole.
Layering the casserole. | Source

The Last 2 Layers

The final layers before cooking.
The final layers before cooking. | Source

Health Benefits of Eggplant

Many people love to use eggplant in pasta dishes. If you look at recipes for eggplant you will notice there are many Italian recipes, such as Eggplant Parmesan and Eggplant Lasagna.

If you are vegetarian, eggplant can be used in many main dishes as a meat-substitute because it takes on the flavor of the foods that surround it. Eggplant is spongy in texture when cooked, similar to mushrooms, and is also very similar to zucchini and other summer squashes. However, eggplants belong to the nightshade family, just like tomatoes, bell peppers, and potatoes.

Health Benefits

Like all vegetables, eggplants have many health benefits. Here is a short list of some of the good reasons to include eggplant in your diet.

  • It is low in calories; a one cup serving of eggplant provides just 66 calories.
  • High in vitamins and minerals
  • Contains phytochemicals, such as phenolic compounds. These compounds include caffeic and chlorogenic acid.
  • Contains the flavonoids, such as nasunin, which has been well researched.
  • Nasunin, an anthocyanin phytonutrient (plant chemical) is a powerful antioxidant that guards us from the damage of free-radicals (negative cells which damage healthy cells and promote fatal diseases).
  • Eggplant is also a great source of phenolic antioxidant compounds which protect it from the stress of oxidation, such as environmental contaminants, such as bacteria and fungi.
  • Chlorogenic acid, (derivative of the phenolic antioxidant) protects us from free radicals, thus, provides anti-cancer and antimicrobial properties, lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad type) and antiviral protection.
  • Improves blood pressure and strengthens arterial walls due to several phytonutrients found in eggplant, including nasunin and terpene.
  • Nasunin is also an iron chelator which rids the body of excessive iron. Excessive iron intake encourage the production of free radicals that promote abnormal cell growth, a contributor to cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

Source:http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=22&tname=foodspice

These are just some of the benefits of eating eggplant and researchers are finding out more all the time. So keep eating your eggplant and reap the benefits that natural foods have for you and your family.

One Serving of Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna

One healthy serving of Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna.
One healthy serving of Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna. | Source

Nutritional Values for Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/9 of recipe
Calories 248
Calories from Fat126
% Daily Value *
Fat 14 g22%
Saturated fat 5 g25%
Unsaturated fat 6 g
Carbohydrates 21 g7%
Sugar 6 g
Fiber 4 g16%
Protein 12 g24%
Cholesterol 52 mg17%
Sodium 446 mg19%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Other Meat-Free Recipes for Eggplant Lasagna

I have included other recipes below that may interest you. Some of them are using a different type of eggplant, such as Japanese Eggplant.

Japanese Eggplant is longer and more slender than the ones I used in my recipe, but I am sure they are just as tasty.

Please enjoy these videos and leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

Thank you!

Eggplant Lasagna

Eggplant Lasagna-- Low Carb

From Scratch:; Vegetarian Cheese & Eggplant Lasagna

© 2015 Miriam Parker

Please Leave A Comment!

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    • miriamyentraccm profile image
      Author

      Miriam Parker 22 months ago from Montclair, CA. 91763

      Hi, justthemessenger,

      You will be amazed at the different ways eggplant can be prepared. Thank you for the compliment!

    • justthemessenger profile image

      James C Moore 22 months ago from The Great Midwest

      I always wondered what you can do with eggplant besides grill it. This is a good mouth watering hub.

    • miriamyentraccm profile image
      Author

      Miriam Parker 23 months ago from Montclair, CA. 91763

      Thank you, Alphadogg16! You will love it because you do not taste the eggplant and it is really good for you, too.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 23 months ago from Texas

      This looks and sounds absolutely delicious miriamyentraccm and I have never really like the taste of egg plant. I'm definitely going to give this a try. Thumbs up on your recipe.