Eggplant lasagna is a baked Italian dish made with aubergines, tomatoes and cheese sauce. The dish can also be considered to be a variation of the Southern Italian food, eggplant parmagian. While the traditional recipes for this lasagna recommend using meat and eggs, vegetarian and vegan versions also abound which are cooked with eggplants and non-dairy products. Several vegetables like zucchini and squashes are used with the eggplants while mushrooms are also added frequently to enhance the taste and nutritive value of the dish. The vegetable-based eggplant lasagne are lighter and healthier than its meat filled counterparts and can be served as entrees or snacks instead of being the main dish.
The lasagna dish is usually served with a platter of steamed vegetables or green salad. Fried, French bread is also considered to be an ideal accompaniment to the pasta dish.
Eggplant Lasagna Recipe Overview
The simplest recipe for the Southern Italian classic dish involves frying thinly sliced eggplant in hot olive oil and setting them aside on a paper towel which absorbs the excess oil. The lasagna sheets are boiled in hot water until al dente while a Marinara sauce is prepared by sautéing garlic flakes and tomatoes in olive oil which is then flavored with fresh basil leaves. Béchamel sauce made with flour, butter and scalded milk or the traditional white sauce serves as the one of the main ingredients in this baked pasta dish too.
The ingredients are assembled in alternate layers with the fried eggplants being placed on top of the lasagna sheets and covered with ricotta cheese as well as the marinara sauce. The topmost layer is created with Béchamel sauce and a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano cheese. The dish is baked at 350 degrees for about half an hour and allowed to cool a little before being cut into squares and served.
Popular Eggplant Lasagna Recipe Variations
Some of the most popular variations for the eggplant lasagna include:-
- Low-fat Aubergine Lasagne- This is considered to part of diet food and is prepared with part skimmed or cottage cheese with the eggplant slices being fried in vegetable spray.
- Eggplant-Beef Lasagna- This dish is prepared with minced beef and spinach leaves in addition to the usual ingredients of eggplant fries and cheese mixture.
- Vegan Lasagna- This is a vegan variation prepared with soy cheese and tofu instead of the traditional varieties of cheese.
- Eggplant & Nut Lasagna- This dish is baked with a layer of vertically sliced, fried eggplants followed by a combination of pine nuts, white wine vinegar and Italian herbs blended together, all covered with a layer of Marinara sauce.
- Noodle less Eggplant Lasagna- A baked dish consisting of alternate layers of baked eggplant slices, ricotta cheese sauce, and grated Parmesan cheese. This dish is known as lasagna due to the similarity in the method of cooking.
Eggplant lasagna, prepared with skim cheese and tomato slices is considered to be a diabetes friendly dish.