Strolling through the produce section of the grocery store, nothing catches the eye quite like a big, deep purple, odd-looking eggplant. They’re so… strangely beautiful, aren’t they? Normally, I take a glance, smile to myself and then proceed to the vegetable patches that seem a bit easier to incorporate into my weekly meal plan. You know, the regular old tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis and the like. But every once in a while, I can’t resist the urge to pluck an eggplant from the pile and put it in my basket – even if I haven’t the faintest idea of what to make.
Poor, poor eggplant. It so often gets pigeonholed into the typical “parmesan” recipe. I’m guilty of it too. This time, I decided to use my bright and beautiful veggie in a lasagna. I replaced the traditional pasta slices with eggplant slices!
It was an easy switch. Just slice the eggplant lengthwise into long strips. TIP: You can either tenderize the eggplant by drizzling with olive oil, salt and pepper and baking before layering up the lasagna – or – fancy them up with a dip in egg wash and bread crumbs like a “parmesan” recipe. (That’s what I did this time around)
What’s your favorite way to incorporate eggplant into a dish?
2 large eggplants
1 pound of ground turkey
15 oz container of skim ricotta (recipe uses half)
16 oz bag of shredded mozzarella cheese (recipe uses 2/3)
2 jars of your favorite pasta sauce, divided
2 cups of italian bread crumbs
10 basil leaves, rolled and sliced into thin strips
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray. In a small bowl crack the eggs and add a tablespoon of water, mix into a wash. Pour bread crumbs into a wide bowl.
2. Cut the tops and bottoms off of the eggplants and slice into 1/4 inch strips lengthwise. Dip each strip into egg wash, then bread crumbs and lay them on the baking sheets. Bake eggplant until tender, about 20 minutes. Flip each eggplant slice over half way through the baking period.
3. While the eggplant is cooking, brown the ground turkey with oregano. Once brown, drain meat (if needed) add pasta sauce. Use one full jar and 1/4 of a second jar. Reduce heat to warm the sauce/turkey mixture.
4. In a 9×13 inch baking dish spread 1/4 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom. Add a layer of baked eggplant until the bottom is covered. Spread a thin layer of ricotta cheese over the eggplant. Add a layer of the meat/sauce mixture. Cover with a thin layer of mozzarella cheese and some basil. Repeat with another layer of each ingredient until mozzarella is on top again.
5. Cover lasagna loosely with foil. Bake until sauce begins to bubble, about 20 minutes. Uncover the baking dish and bake until cheese is bubbling, 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the dish to cool before serving. Garnish with more basil.