Pasta-less Eggplant Lasagna

I have tried dozens of recipes over the years in search of the perfect lasagna. I’ve used spinach, feta, pepperoni, turkey, chicken, cottage cheese, fontina; you name it and I’ve probably tried it. Once, after watching an episode of The Sopranos, I added a layer of fresh basil, just like Carmela did.  In all that time and all those recipes, there was only one that I didn’t like; the one that used cottage cheese.

This recipe is a mashup of all those lasagnas I’ve tried over the years, and I absolutely love it.  It uses thinly sliced eggplant in place of the usual pasta and is very cheese and delicious. I usually make in in two 8×8 pans, instead of the one 9×13, freezing one for an easy weeknight meal.Printer friendly version

Pasta-less Eggplant Lasagna
2 eggs
2 tablespoons water
1  cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced. (Lengthwise works best for assembly, while width wise is easier to slice; it’s a personal preference, either way works. Do, however, use a mandolin for uniform slices, 1/8″ to 1/4″)

1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 (16 ounce) jar marinara sauce
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can mushroom pieces and stems
1 large sweet onion small to medium dice

1 (8 ounce) package grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 (16 ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 TBSP freshly chopped parsley
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt

1 (8 ounce) package Italian blend cheese


Preheat oven to 375. Brown ground beef or ground turkey in a saucepan, drain and return to pan.
Add onion and sauté only until soft.
Stir in jar of marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, Italian seasoning; salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes over low heat, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Prepare 2 baking sheets and a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.
Whisk eggs and water together in a shallow dish.
Combine Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt, and ground black pepper in a separate shallow dish.
Dip eggplant slices into egg mixture, then press each gently into bread crumb mixture. Gently tap off any excess crumbs. Arrange slices on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake eggplant slices in the preheated oven until tops are golden brown, 6 to 9 minutes. Flip eggplant and bake an additional 5 to 8 minutes. (Depending on size of oven, it may take two to three runs to bake all the slices)
Remove eggplant from the oven and increase temp. to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)

After all eggplant slices are baked:
Measure 1 cup of Parmesan cheese and set aside.
Stir ricotta, remaining Parmesan, eggs, salt, fresh parsley, and Italian seasoning together in a bowl.

Start by spread a small amount of marinara sauce mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish, about 1/2 cup.

Place first layer of baked eggplant slices.
Cover eggplant layer with a layer of the ricotta mixture.
Sprinkle 1/4cup Italian blend cheese on top of the ricotta mixture.
Cover with about 1/2 cup sauce.

Repeat two times with remaining ingredients, ending with a final layer of eggplant topped with the reserved 1 cup Parmesan cheese and last 1/4c of Italian blend cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven until sauce is bubbling and cheese is browned, about 40 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes before serving, garnish with finely chopped parsley.


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