Eggplant Lasagna Casserole

Eggplant Lasagna Casserole recipe - gluten-free and vegetarian-friendy! | FitCakery.com

Let’s talk about our feelings.  Namely, how do you feel about eggplant?  Personally, I feel that it may be one of the most underrated, misrepresented vegetables out there. 

Eggplants have gotten a bad rap, like asparagus and broccoli, for being over- or under-cooked too many times in home-cooked-meal memory.  That, and the fact that eggplant doesn’t have a ton of its own flavor, it can easily seem like the bottom of the veg-chain when it comes to picking ones to eat. 

Eggplant Lasagna Casserole recipe - gluten-free and vegetarian-friendy! | FitCakery.com

To cap it all off, eggplant isn’t really a vegetable.  It’s actually a giant berry.  Talk about misrepresented!  And you thought no one understood you… 

Eggplant Lasagna Casserole recipe - gluten-free and vegetarian-friendy! | FitCakery.com

Anyway, my feelings are that eggplant can make some of the best dishes ever, if you just do it right.  This recipe easily turns the previously peculiar plant into a new kind of noodle that everyone – yep, everyone – is gonna love!  Plus, if you’re looking for ways to get more vegetables and less grains or refined carbs in your diet, this lasagna could not be more perfect!

Eggplant Lasagna Casserole recipe - gluten-free and vegetarian-friendy! | FitCakery.com

Eggplant Lasagna Casserole

vegetarian, gluten-free {makes 12 servings}

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium globe eggplants, peeled and thinly sliced into wide “noodles”
  • About 1 pound vegetarian sausage crumbles or lean ground meat of choice
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 4 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese or mozzarella
  • 1 c. crumbled goat cheese
  • ¼ c. shredded cheese – either parmesan or a blend of shredded Italian cheeses such as Asiago, Romano, and Parmesan – for sprinkling on top
  • About 6 c. loosely packed chopped spinach
  • Prepared recipe tomato sauce (or about 6 cups light tomato sauce):

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Blend your tomato sauce or have it prepared ahead of time to have it ready to go in the next step.
  3. Either using the same skillet or another one while the eggplant is cooking, heat the 2 tsp. olive oil and cook the sausage crumbles or meat all the way through.  Add the sauce and simmer over medium-low heat while you cook the eggplant.  This will help thicken the sauce to keep it from making the lasagna runny.
  4. Preheat another large skillet to medium high heat, coated with a thick layer of cooking spray.
  5. Cook the eggplant “noodles” on the preheated skillet for a minute or two per side, softening them but not cooking through completely.  Move them into a bowl or onto a plate as you go.
  6. When the sauce and eggplant is done, choose either one large (13 X 9”) or two small (8 x 8”) oven-safe casserole dishes, and lay down the eggplant “noodles in a layer like you would for lasagna.  Next, lay down a thick layer of the sauce, and then spinach, and then Monterey Jack and goat cheese, reserving some of each for the next layer (except for the goat cheese – use all of it in the first layer).  Repeat once or twice more, alternating ingredients until they are gone.  Make sure the last layer is Monterey Jack and the shredded Italian cheese.
  7. Bake the casserole(s) in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is starting to brown on top and looks bubbly.
  8. Alternatively, freeze until the night before you want to make it.  Place in the refrigerator overnight to thaw, and then bake about 35-40 minutes!

Makes 12 servings

Nutrition per serving:  334 calories; 18 g fat; 18 g carbs; 5 g fiber; 25 g protein (Bonus: 41% DV vitamin A; 10% DV vitamin C; 32% DV calcium; 12% DV iron)

Eggplant Lasagna Casserole recipe - gluten-free and vegetarian-friendy! | FitCakery.com