I was looking for a way to use the beautiful little eggplants I picked recently. The end of the growing season approaches and the glut of vegetables begs to be used up or frozen, or canned. I’ve got plenty of produce on my hands to use in main dishes.
This one is pretty simple – I’m making vegetable lasagna and substituting eggplant slices for the noodles. I am jazzing it up by using homemade ricotta – it’s simple, and rich. The only things store bought for this dish are the mozzarella and olive oil. I love a self sufficient dinner!
Use whatever veggies you have on hand. Peppers, onions, spinach, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms are all good candidates. Got broccoli? Use it?
For a 9×9 pan…. (serves 6)
2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil divided
2 carrots chopped – about 1 cup (250 ml)
1 medium onion chopped – about 1 cup (250 ml)
1 medium bell pepper chopped – about 1 cup (250 ml)
4 cloves Garlic minced – I like it, so I use a lot – feel free to use less
2 cups (500 ml)fresh spinach – chopped
3 tablespoons (45 ml) chopped fresh herbs – basil, oregano, rosemary
1 lb (500 g) ricotta
8 oz (250 g)fresh mozzarella – sliced
16 oz (500 g) pasta sauce – I used some from this years’ tomatoes – you can use store bought
Salt and pepper
- Salt eggplant slices liberally and place in a colander – let rest for 30 minutes. While eggplants weeps start vegetables…
- In a large pan over medium high heat add 1 tablespoon oil.
- Add carrots and a pinch of salt and cook stirring often, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, onions, peppers and cook until onions are translucent.
- Add remaining tablespoon of oil and spinach.
- Add pinch of salt and spinach – cook until spinach wilts but is not mushy.
- Add herbs, stir in and cook 1 more minute
- Taste and adjust seasoning (Salt and Pepper) if needed
- Take off heat.
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Rinse and blot eggplant slices
- Assemble lasagna – put a thin layer of tomato sauce in bottom of baking dish
- Put down a layer of the eggplant
- Put down thick layer of the ricotta
- Add another layer of eggplant
- Add cooked vegetables – smooth into even layer
- Add last layer of eggplant
- Pour sauce over the top
- Finally top with mozzarella slices
- Place filled baking dish on a rimmed cookie sheet, cover baking dish loosely with foil
- Bake for 45-60 minutes until lasagna is bubbly
- Remove foil and continue cooking until cheese top starts to turn golden brown – about 20 minutes
- Remove from oven and allow to stand 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
The richness of the ricotta, and the natural sweetness of the vegetables are offset by the acid of the tomatoes and are fabulous combination.
It is quite satisfying to make dinner almost solely from the fruits of our labor. It is a feeling, an accomplishment that while rare today, is only a couple generations from routine.
Food needn’t come in a box with ingredients you can’t pronounce. You can do it too!
Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging.