grain free lasagna

While I will be the first to admit that this blog is most likely going to feature food selections of the sweeter variety (if the past is any indication), I thought that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to feature some alternative meals as well.  This is a popular one that I intend to revisit soon, but I will post the recipe now, as best as I recall it.  Thankfully, it isn’t something that’s easy to mess up, so I guarantee it will taste good either way!

My roommate at the time gave me the idea for this, because she mentioned something about eggplant permesan.  I was craving lasagna at the time and decided to put the two together.  This recipe is for “regular” lasagna, but it could very easily be made as vegetarian or any other variety depending on what you add to it.

1 lb. ground beef
1 TB garlic powder
1 small onion, minced
25 oz. spaghetti sauce (I made my own but you can easily use a pre-made variety.)

1 large eggplant
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
basil to garnish
Any other vegetables, such as spinach, mushrooms, etc.

Preheat oven to 375.

Start by caramelizing the onions in a medium skillet on medium high heat, adding the beef and garlic shortly afterwards.  When fully cooked, drain the fat, then add the spaghetti sauce.  Simmer on low heat for about 10 more minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Peel the eggplant (I just used a knife, but you could use a vegetable peeler).  Then, cut in thin slices about 3 inches in width and 1/8″ or less thick, depending on the size of the eggplant.  These are the “noodles”; add them to the boiling water for about 5-7 minutes, until they are softer and more easily cut (might want to test it out).

Spread some spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9×13″ pan, to prevent the eggplant from sticking to the bottom.  Arrange the “noodles” in one layer covering the bottom of the pan.  Add a nice layer of ricotta cheese, followed by another layer of eggplant.  Top this with a layer of the meat/sauce mix, and continue until all of the ingredients are used up (it could and will be a bit uneven, but that’s ok).  Here’s where you can add in any other vegetables you may want to use, layering them in with the rest.  Finish the layers with the parmesan and mozzerella cheeses, and garnish with basil to taste.  Bake for about 30-45 minutes, until bubbling.  I turned on the broiler for another couple minutes to add a crispy top, but that’s optional.

Makes one 9×13 inch pan of lasagna.

Enjoy!  Let me know if you change it up or add in anything else, it is really is very customizable and the eggplant is only recognizable upon close examination, trust me.

What other “unusual” uses have you found for vegetables?  I love hiding them in recipes where no one expects them to be!

Edit: I have heard that the lasagna has the potential to turn out a bit watery…this wasn’t the case when I made it but I have a feeling it could be from the eggplant.  After cooking it, try putting it in the warming oven for 5 minutes to dry it out, or roast it instead of boiling it.  If either of these works for you, let me know so that I can let the rest of you know!  Thanks. :)