Eggplant Lasagna and Zucchini Ribbons

It’s my first day back at work after a long weekend and I’m beat.  Fortunately dinner was all but made already.  You may recall that past week I made Eggplant and Goat Cheese sandwiches.  You may also recall that I made a lasagna with the remaining eggplant.  I promised I would write about after I baked it.  Tonight’s the night!  And because it’s July and Central Virginia is overrun with squash the zucchini ribbons are making another appearance.  Admittedly this is more low-carb than it is vegetarian because there is meat in the lasagna sauce, but that would be easy for you to fix in your own version.

The eggplant lasagna was made almost entirely from leftover or pre-made elements.  The eggplant was left from the sandwiches.  The mozzarella was left from the Father’s Day Chicken Parm.  The sauce was made at some point over the Winter and stored in the freezer until this week.  The little bit of feta was left from some salad.  The parmesan is just always in the fridge.  Use the eggplant slices in place of the lasagna noodles.  This sauce has some meat in it, but is mostly tomatoes, carrots, peppers, onions and mushrooms.  Use whatever sauce you like.  Layer the eggplant with sauce and cheese until you run out of eggplant.  The top layer should be cheese of course.  If you use a fully vegetarian sauce you may want to cook it down a little to thicken it.  The eggplant won’t soak up as much liquid as a noodle so if your sauce is thin your lasagna may not hold together very well. 

 

Anytime you make a lasagna you can use the opportunity to sneak in some extra vegetables.  Add in a layer of spinach, some strips of zucchini or some pepper strips.  You could also use a soft tofu to substitute for the ricotta later in a traditional lasagna.  With the tomatoes and cheese you’ll hardly notice the healthy additions.

The ribbons are just a zucchini sliced longways with a vegetable peeler.  Stop when you start to see seeds in your ribbons.  Rotate the zucchini a quarter turn and continue slicing.  Repeat until you’ve sliced all the way around the squash.  Drop the ribbons in a pot of boiling water and boil about 2 minutes.  Drain and serve as a base for the eggplant.  These look nice, add a nice texture and are an easy way to work in an extra vegetable without really noticing it much.  They’re a nice light base for a cheesy dish and they cook a lot faster than pasta!

This is a yummy, yummy dish.  I love that it’s lighter than a noodle based lasagna.  The feta adds a salty, tangy element that’s really nice too.  The zucchini ribbons are a neutral flavor base with a nice firm texture.  I’m sure I have plenty of noodle based lasagnas in my future, but this is a terrific alternative.

Good?  You bet.
Easy? Definitely.
Good for company? Sure.
Special shopping? Nope.

Eggplant Lasagna

Since most of the elements were leftovers I don’t have real measurements.  I had about 10 roasted eggplant slices; maybe 2 ounces of fresh mozzarella; one ounce feta crumbles; about 1 1/2 cups of chunky meat and vegetable spaghetti sauce.  Layer starting with eggplant and ending with cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees until the sauce and cheese bubble.  About 20 minutes if the eggplant and sauce are warm when you start and 40-45 minutes if you assemble the lasagna ahead of time and refrigerate it.

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