Typically, when you hear about eggplant lasagna- a vegetarian dish comes to mind. That would normally be just fine for me, however the other night I had a strong craving for meat and veggies, and what better to add to that then a good helping of cheese? So I decided to throw them all together in this meaty, cheesy eggplant lasagna. It was heavenly.
Lasagna is a very simple dish to make. I love it because anything with meat, cheese and tomato sauce is my kind of comfort food, but it’s also fun to make because you can get creative with all the lasagna layers. I changed up the traditional lasagna recipe in this case by using roasted eggplant slices instead of the wide pasta noodles as my main wide layers, and I think I might have found my new favorite lasagna recipe here. The roasted eggplant layers absorbed so much more flavor from the meat and the tomato sauce, plus once they cook down they become so tender and delicious- it’s amazing the way all these flavorful layers work together in this dish!
Meaty Eggplant Lasagna
1 24 oz can of your favorite tomato sauce
1 eggplant, sliced into 3/4 inch layers
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini sliced in 1/4 inch thick ribbons
6-8 slices of oven roasted tomatoes
16 oz. ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Hand full of basil leaves
1 tbs oregano- divided
2 tbs olive oil
Slice your eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes, drizzle evenly with olive oil sprinkle with salt and oregano. Roast the tomatoes on a separate cooking tray from the eggplant and zucchini. Roast the vegetables the oven at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes turning the eggplant slices over halfway through cooking. Add more oil if they begin to look dry. (the zucchini will cook much faster. remove them from the pan as soon as they become tender- about 10-15 min in to cooking).
Next step- ready your meat. In a skillet add a drizzle of olive oil, and the minced garlic. Swirl around to cook the garlic just lightly so that it begins to release it’s flavor (about 1 min), then add your ground beef. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add about a half a tablespoon of oregano. Cook the meat only half way through, and then set aside in a bowl. It will finish cooking in the oven.
In a separate bowl mix your ricotta cheese with one egg, and a teaspoon of salt. Set aside for the layer assembly.
Once your vegetables and beef are cooked- it’s time to assemble the layers:
1. Tomato Sauce to coat the bottom
2. Roasted Eggplant
3. Ricotta Cheese
4. Roasted Tomatoes
5. Ground Meat
6. Tomato Sauce
7. Zucchini ribbons
8. Ricotta Cheese
9. Ground Meat
10. Tomato Sauce
11. Roasted Eggplant
12. Basil Leaves
13. Ricotta cheese, and Mozzarella, with a sprinkle more of oregano for color.
Cover the dish and bake in the oven at 350 degrees, for about half an hour until the edges are bubbly.
Like I said- have fun with the layers! You don’t have to follow my recipe exactly. I’d love to know what kind of creative lasagna layers you all have tried before! Please share.