I’m sure I’m not the only one constantly inspired by food I see or hear about. As soon as someone mentions a new restaurant, or had an interesting dish or something deliciously sinful, I’m instantly interested. I want to know every detail so that I can try to recreate it myself. Sometimes it’s simply the general idea of how a dish is presented or a picture that catches my attention or a specific ingredient that has my head whirling with ideas!
For over a year now, I have heard about a coworker’s eggplant lasagna. I’ve never had a chance to taste it, but all those that did raved highly about it. Obviously, my interest peaked and I had to talk to Vinny (and yes, he’s Italian, which had me even more interested in his lasagna). Then during the holidays it seemed like everyone was talking about making lasagna. Phyllis at Food Flowers Herbs and Life posted her lasagna recipe for Christmas Eve and several other friends along with my sister were chatting about either making it or having had it at a dinner party.
Obviously my craving for it increased; I really have not made classic lasagna in a few years. Vinny’s recipe basically swaps out the pasta for eggplant slices. I’ve made vegetarian lasagna in the past but liked this idea of no pasta, i.e, carbs! He peels and cuts the eggplant into thin slices, breading and frying them. I skipped the breading part and just fried each slice. While I normally bake my eggplant and he said he does at times also, I agreed that frying the eggplant would give the lasagna a richer taste. And it certainly did; everyone loved it! It was meltingly tender, full of flavor and definitely fulfilled my lasagna craving!
For the eggplant:
2-3 large eggplants, peeled and thinly sliced, about ¼ inch thick
Olive oil for frying
For the sauce:
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 medium onion finely diced
2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes, squeezed or blended into a puree
2-3 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
For the ricotta layer:
1 15 oz container ricotta
1 large egg
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
For the topping:
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
To prepare the sauce: In a large skillet, cook the ground beef and pork until browned. Remove from pan and drain well from the grease. In a large stockpot, sauté the onion in olive oil until soft. Add in the tomato puree, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add in the browned meat and continuing cooking on low heat for about 1 hour. Can be made ahead of time.
To prepare the lasagna: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, fry the eggplant slices a few at a time until browned on each side. Set aside. Mix together the ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, egg, parsley and pepper. In a baking dish, spoon a thin layer of sauce on the bottom and begin layering with the eggplant slices, meat sauce and ricotta mixture. Repeat and finish with the layer of eggplant slices and some sauce on top. Cover the dish with foil, place on a baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese and bake until bubbly, about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and set before serving.
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.
Food, Flowers, Herbs and Life!
Linda, this looks excellent – and I, too, like the idea of swapping the eggplant for pasta – we’re in healthy mode at the moment! And thank you for linking to my lasagna recipe! I’m going to look through your archives for a pizza crust recipe – I’m sure you must have one! Tomorrow night will be pizza night! Friday is almost here!
Here’s my pizza dough recipe, http://savoringeverybite.com/2011/09/21/roasted-cauliflower-pizza-with-roasted-garlic-and-pine-nuts/
I make a pizza every Friday night for my son!! I try to make the dough on Thursday night and refrigerate it overnight but it works just as fine making it the same day! Hope you enjoy!
Mmm, my kind of comfort food. I like how you swaped out the lasagne noodles and decided not to bread the eggplant. I agree frying the eggplant give it a nice rich taste. Your sauce looks good too, nice mixture of pork and beef just like how my mom use to make her sauce. Looks like I’m going to have to make some after my challenge is over! 🙂
Thanks Lisa, I rarely fry eggplant but once in a while I will!!
Eggplant and tomato sauce were made for each other! This looks fantastic, and I love that you use beef and pork. It make is so much more tender!
Thanks – I totally agree, eggplant and sauce are my favorite combo!
this sounds really good! I made a lasagna with courgette slices the other night 🙂
Kay aka Babygirl
I haven’t had eggplant lasagna in such a long time. I remember when my mom first cooked this, I knew I wasn’t going to like it until I took my first bite. And yours look absolutely amazing as well. Love this
My son thought the same way! Actually I didn’t tell him and he questioned what was in it but continued eating anyway!!
Fantastic – like a luxury Melanzane Parmigiana recipe. I really want to try this as Big Man loves lasagne but is not a big fan of Eggplant. I´m sure that done like this I could convert him!
You’ll have to let me know if he eats it!!
Fabulous recipe – love the idea of using eggplant.
awesome recipe, Linda!
I’ve heard of eggplant used as the pasta component, but never found a precise recipe. This is perfect, we’ve been comsidering esting vegetarian only one day per week, and I am in the process of collecting hearty recipes for that.
the photo is beautiful too!
Thanks Sally, it’s not vegetarian with the meat sauce, but you could definitely just use a marinara without any meat – I just may try that out next time and bread the eggplant in leu of the meat in the sauce.
Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
This looks just wonderful. I rarely make lasagna. It’s just so honking big, we have it all week even if we serve it to company. No space in the freezer. Anyway, you’re so great at seeing something and putting a spin on it to make it your own.
Lasagna freezes well, Greg. We often freeze half since there are just two of us here (soon to be three — my brother is moving back in in the spring).
Elina (Healthy and Sane)
Mmm, a good lasagna is so comforting. Glad you finally were able to obtain the recipe to satisfy your cravings! 🙂
Oh. My. Wow. This looks so beyond good. I usually make lasagna once each winter and haven’t yet. I think I will soon though now. How could I not after this post and that mouth watering picture!
Lasagna can be a fun layering event for the kids!!!
Look how high that lasagna is stacked!! I’m with Kristy on the “Oh.My.Wow.” I can’t stop staring at the photo. Yummmm!
Thanks Caroline! It went over really well with everyone!
I have never ever even eaten eggplant lasagna and have always wanted to. Maybe this is the year and this the recipe. 🙂
Hope you do try it Courtney!
I have already seen (I think at Inspired Edibles) a vegetable lasagna and promised myself I would make it: the lack of carbs also appeals to me!
Yours looks so gorgeous I’m sure many people wouldn’t notice at first there is no pasta! Thank you for this healthier idea.
My son ate it without realizing it had no lasagna noodles! It didn’t stop him at all from enjoying it!
Geni - Sweet and Crumby
If I write Yum 100 times, that would not be enough! The photo says it all, but the description does take it to crazy place. The fried eggplant sounds DIVINE! Your photos have been awesome lately Linda! Did you get a new camera for Christmas or is the photographer just that good? 🙂
No on both counts !! No new camera and, NO the photographer is not that good!! Lucky shot I suppose. Really, I struggle with the photos; I’d love to take a class or learn from a pro on lighting and such. Plus a new camera would be nice too!!
I love the idea of replacing pasta with eggplant. Melty cheese, tomatoes and eggplant sounds amazing!
i love to put chopped eggplant in the marinara sauce of traditional lasagna instead of meat (but I especially like it if I use marinara that contains Italian sausage with the fennel and pepperoncino).
Now that sounds really good too Sharyn. My son would love the pepperoncino and so would I!
This looks so GOOD! I’m drooling right now!
I’m so obsessed with lasagna right now, but never make it with eggplant….sometime the veg and me don’t get along too well. Nonetheless I’m thinking I might have to start making an exception if yours tastes as good as it looks. 😉
I’ve read that eggplant is an inflammatory veggie… mushrooms do me in so I completely avoid them!!
Amy (Savory Moments)
I’ve been on a lasagna kick lately that came out of nowhere. This looks so good! I love to make all different kinds and the eggplant in there looks great.
I’ve heard so many people on a lasagna kick lately – must be the season!!
Hi Linda, I’d pay to eat your lasagna, for the record! I’ve been eating quite a lot of heavily spiced stuff the past couple of weeks – I’m really craving auberginey, cheesey type stuff right now – this looks beautiful!
That’s a great compliment Charles!! I’m ready to lighten up alot in my meals too, those holidays of splurging are over!
This is gorgeous! I can almost smell it. I’ve used this technique with the eggplant … but your pork/beef sauce is inspired!
Thank you David!
Most excellent. I love to find this kind of recipe. It is always nice to have an old favorite that has been given a new spin. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary
Kelly @ Inspired Edibles
Linda, what a fantastic looking lasagna! I know from experience that lasagna is not easy to photograph – hard to capture the true essence without it looking like a non-descript blob – but you really framed it here. I would be absolutely over the moon if someone served me this beauty…
Thanks Kelly, taking photos of my food is the hardest part! Cooking is the easiest!! The lasagna also firmed up nicely; when it’s too hot it will blob!!
Kelly @ Inspired Edibles
good point… thanks for the tip! 🙂
How beautiful and delish.
I love eggplant rollatini that is made with ricotta. Your recipe reminds me of that only so much better.
Sawsan@ Chef in disguise
Egglant lasagna..what’s not to love!
Lasagna, my favorite dish! Next to you, of course!
Flattery will get you everywhere!
Since my spouse and I are both Italian-food freaks and trying to shift gears to lower carb/no flour dining, this could be exactly the ticket! Thanks for the recipe. 🙂