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No-Pasta Eggplant Lasagna with Greens

Did you know that the eggplant, known as an aubergine in France and England, is not a vegetable, but is a berry of the nightshade family (Solanaceae)? Interesting, isn’t it?

Please make sure all your dairy products come from grass-fed animals.  Not only for the animals’ sake, but so you get more nutritional bang for your buck.  Grass-fed=more CLA, conjugated linoleic acid, which helps prevent belly fat.

Serves 6

2 medium eggplants* (about 2½ lbs) 2 C favorite no-sugar tomato sauce
About ¼ C extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp black pepper
1 lb greens such as chard, kale, spinach 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced,
15 oz whole milk ricotta  or 8 oz perlini mozzarella*
1½ C grated Pecorino romano cheese handful of fresh thyme, oregano, basil
1 lb favorite melting cheese*     or a sprinkling of these as dry herbs

Cut eggplants lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices (don’t peel eggplant, just trim the stem end). Brush with extra virgin olive oil and place on rack and grill outside over med flame until tender and beginning to brown.  Flip once.  Alternatively, roast eggplant slices in a 450 degree oven on baking sheet 5 min per side.

Chop garden greens and use your hands to mix with ricotta, romano, ½ the grated melting cheese* (read below). If you’re using Applegate havarti as part of your melting cheese, hold that aside.  In a 9×13-inch baking dish (or thereabouts), spread half the tomato sauce over the bottom. Layer half the eggplant slices over the pasta sauce, dollop the ricotta-vegetable filling over the eggplant and press to distribute evenly so eggplant is covered.  If using Applegate sliced havarti, place half the slices on top now.

Layer the remaining eggplant on top. Spoon remaining tomato sauce on top, cover with remaining melting cheese, then mozzarella*.  Garnish with thyme, oregano and basil. Place in a 350-degree oven and heat until greens are tender and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes.  I’ve made this in covered skillet on top of the stove, too, and it works just fine.

*Any variety eggplant will work.  I love to use half Mexican cojita, which I shred, and half Applegate sliced havarti, both of which melt beautifully.  Don’t shred the havarti slices and don’t mix into the ricotta/romano mixture.  If using perlini mozzarella, the balls are tiny enough that you don’t need to slice.  Just sprinkle them over the top of the lasagna where they will melt with a soft sigh….

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