Eggplant Zucchini No-Noodle Lasagna
Using roasted strips of eggplant and zucchini in place of flat noodles, this recipe makes a lasagna that tastes like the traditional stuff. The only thing missing is the pasta... and I’ll bet you won’t even be able to tell.
This dish is always a hit. It’s often what I make for potluck parties, family get-togethers, or holiday feasts. It meets just about any dietary need (except for vegan because of the ricotta) without any sacrificing. (It is gluten-free, grain-free, nut free, and vegetarian). You can make it without the ricotta, but then it’s more of a 'vegetable stack'. Which is also good, it’s just not really lasagna anymore. Or try pureed white beans in place of the ricotta for a vegan lasagna.
I rarely eat dairy, but I do on occasion for certain meals. Nachos and this noodless-lasagna are two of my exceptions.
The following recipe is the basic version. You can get very creative here. Feel free to use all eggplant or all zucchini. Add red pepper strips or onion to roast with the eggplant and zucchini. Try layering in pesto, wilted spinach, fresh tomato slices, sun dried tomatoes, additional fresh herbs, or your own special tomato sauce. If you love cheese, add some mozzarella in the layers or to the top. You can also take it a different direction, for instance using zucchini and lots of fresh garden herbs (mint, basil, cilantro) for a more ‘Spring’ lasagna.
I find the easiest way to prepare the eggplant and zucchini for roasting in the oven is to wash them, cut off the tops (the stem ends) and then stand each one on end while I slice long strips.
Roasting the eggplant and zucchini in the oven brings out the flavors in a way that no other type of cooking can. As always, I make extra roasted veggies while I’m at it to have in sandwiches or lunch bowls later in the week. This lasagna also makes great leftovers… if you end up with any extra!
Recipe for No-Noodle Eggplant & Zucchini Lasagna
Makes one 9x12 lasagna.
5 eggplants (washed and cut into long strips)
5 zucchinis (washed and cut into long strips)
2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 container ricotta (1.5 or 2 cups)
1 small can tomato paste (or use your favorite tomato sauce)
1 bunch fresh italian parsley (finely chopped)
Fresh basil (finely sliced)
Balsamic reduction (the very thick balsamic concentrate/glaze, if you’ve got it)
Heat oven to 350F (175C).
Wash then cut the eggplant and zucchini into long strips, between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.
Layer in a big baking dish. Start with olive oil in the bottom of the pan. For each layer of eggplant, top with fresh lemon juice, a thorough sprinkling of salt, and a good drizzle of olive oil. Put the minced garlic somewhere in the middle between the veggies.
Bake 50-60 minutes until completely tender. Turn/flip the layers every 15-20 minutes. Kitchen tongs are the easiest way to do this. The bottom layer of the pan will get tender the fastest. (I pick up entire sections and fully flip them the first time. Then I mix them around as they cook down, to make sure each piece gets the attention it needs.)
While this cooks, you can do other things and assemble the rest of the ingredients.
When the eggplant and zucchini are tender, remove from the oven.
Leave the oven on for the final step...
Assemble the lasagna in a 9x12 baking dish. Here’s how I do it:
-Olive oil in the bottom
-A layer of roasted eggplant strips (close together as ‘noodles’)
-Half of the ricotta (spread into a thin layer)
-A layer of roasted zucchini strips (change the direction you lay them in the pan)
-Half of the tomato paste (or tomato sauce)
-The rest of the ricotta
-Another layer of eggplant strips
-Top with the rest of the tomato paste (or sauce)
For a thicker lasagna, you can add more layers, if you’ve got the ingredients.
Cover loosely with foil and bake in the oven another +/-25 minutes, until hot and bubbly all the way through.
Remove from the oven and top with fresh chopped flat-leafed parsley and basil.
Cut into squares, drizzle balsamic reduction over the top, and serve!
Layering zucchini and eggplant strips to roast
Ready to roast
Done cooking, now ready to assemble the 'lasagna'
Layering the lasagna using roasted eggplant and zucchini as the 'noodles'
Ready to eat!
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