Hearty Eggplant Lasagna
I was inspired a while ago. I work at a gym that promotes Paleo, I don’t completely agree with it all together, but it does have some good principles (mainly cutting out processed foods). We have a chef that makes paleo food for members so they can pick it up and don’t have to worry about cooking if they so choose. I decided I was going to try one out and one of the meals I tried was paleo lasagna. It was GOOD. But as I was eating it I thought, “I could totally make this at home, right?” I was right. Lasagna is a classic for a lot of families and let’s be honest most people don’t take the time to make it from scratch so the frozen version is a classic. But besides the fact it’s loaded with calories, it also loaded with preservatives and additives. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Honestly, as I got older and started choosing my meals more, I hardly ever ate lasagna. I may have had it once or twice a year. But I have been trying to find ways to incorporate different veggies in my diet. Eggplant has always been one of those veggies that I’ve only had if someone randomly put it in a dish at a party or something. However, I just learned it’s not a veggie, but a fruit! Those seeds. But I wanted to find a way to try and fit it in my diet some. Eggplant is not loaded with tons of nutrients, but it is low in calories and sugar. So it’s a great replacement for those high carb processed noodles. So why not try it in a lasagna, apparently it’s a good alternative.
I was super excited when I kept thinking about how many other veggies I could fit in. I love zucchini and squash and tomatoes are just tasty. Usually I add sundried tomatoes for an extra punch, but I ran out this batch. Also, if you like mushrooms they would be a great addition. I was also thrilled when I found this almond milk ricotta cheese at Whole Foods. I’m not opposed to dairy, this recipe still has dairy in it, but I’m learning my body responds better to certain cheese than others. Ricotta may not be one of those, but cutting
down on a higher calorie dairy cheese made me feel a little better. And the best part, it tasted just as good!
So here’s the deal. This is made from scratch. The sauce included. Now I didn’t make my own cheese-I don’t live on a farm. But I do get to choose exactly what I put in this dish. So it takes some time, but know it’s worth it. And hey you can choose how to prioritize your day. If something is important to you you’ll make time to do it. If you want healthy dishes you can take some time to do it. What’s even better about this dish, if you take the time to make it just for a couple of hours, you will have meals for the rest of the week. So in the end you’re actually saving time. I think Rusty and I got like 5-6 meals out of this! Booya! Less cooking and still great food!
Let’s get started!
For the Lasagna
- 1 Large Eggplant
- 1 Yellow Zucchini Squash
- 1/2 Zucchini
- 6 cups of tomato meat sauce (directions below)
- 2 Cups of ricotta cheese (full-fat or almond milk ricotta)
- 9 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup of fresh shredded parmesan cheese
- 6-8 diced sun dried tomatoes (depending on how much you like them)
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves
- 1 tbsp oregano
For the Sauce:
- 1 lb ground beef (use organic/grass fed beef) (ground turkey is an option as well)
- 1/3 cup of diced onion
- 2 tbsp of minced garlic
- 1 tsp of garlic salt
- 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
- 6 oz can of tomato paste
- 1 tsp of dried oregano
- 1 tsp of dried parsley
- 1 tsp of dried basil
- 1/2 tsp of dried bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- Preheat oven to 400° Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Cut the ends of the eggplant and cut into about 10-1/4″ slices.
- Brush each side of the eggplant slices with olive oil top with salt and pepper. Then bake 7 minutes on each side.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, basil and sundried tomatoes. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Layer half of the eggplant slices on the bottom of an 8x 13 baking dish. Pour 2 cups of sauce on top of the eggplant. Spread into an even layer.
- Add the ricotta mixture here. Layer evenly.
- On top of the cheese add the squash and zucchini.
- Add the rest of the eggplant evenly on top of the other veggies.
- Spread the remaining sauce on top then top with the mozzarella and rest of the parmesan cheese. Top with the oregano.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Let it cool for about 15-30 minutes before cutting.
- In a large non-stick pan over med-high heat brown the beef with garlic, onion, and garlic salt. Drain the excess grease.
- Add the the tomatoes. You will need to crush them until they are broken up.
- To the sauce, mix in tomato paste, mushrooms, oregano, basil, parsley, bay leaf, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, and red pepper flakes.
- Bring the heat to low and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Enjoy and don’t forget to share! 🙂