Friday, April 23, 2010

When the cat’s away…

Eggplant penguins The eggplant comes out to play.

That's right, I'm on my own for a few days, so that is my cue to make something with eggplant in it. I love eggplant, and I don't know why it gets such a bad rap.

Most people that say they don't like it tell me that it is because of the texture. I don't really get that, because it often has a crispy coating on it. But then I also love squash of all kinds, so if there is a texture phobia, I don't have it.

Usually I make Eggplant Parmigiana, but I came across a new recipe on one of my recipes sites a while back, and thought I'd give it a try. First the recipe, then my comments and review.


Eggplant Lasagna

1 package lasagna noodles (cooked and drained, or use no-boil noodles--I used no-boil)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion (I used more)
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt (I omitted this)
1/8 tsp pepper (also omitted)
2-3 cups spaghetti sauce
1/2 pound Muenster or Port Salut cheese, shredded (I used Muenster; also see NOTE below)
1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp Italian seasonings: Basil, Thyme, Oregano (I used more basil, then just some Italian seasoning blend)
Some extra Muenster/Port Salut cheese for the top, or some shredded mozzarella

Sauté garlic in oil until brown. Add eggplant and onion, cook about 5 minutes, stirring. Add water, cover, and cook 10 more minutes until tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

In medium bowl, combine ricotta, Muenster, eggs, bread crumbs, and seasonings. Stir in eggplant and onion mixture straight from pan. Don't drain the oil. (The eggplant absorbs most of it, anyway.)

Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick spray. Pour enough sauce in the bottom of the pan to cover bottom. Place a layer of lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. Spread a layer of eggplant-cheese mixture on noodles. NOTE: I love fresh mozzarella, so in the eggplant cheese mixture, I used a little less Muenster. Here I included a layer of sliced, fresh mozzarella, 8 ounces of it. You can't go wrong with fresh mozzarella in my book! Cover with sauce, being careful not to drown it with too much. Another layer of noodles, then eggplant-cheese mixture, then sauce. End with a layer of noodles, sauce, and sprinkle the extra Muenster cheese on top. Cover with foil (be sure to spray the underside with non-stick spray) and bake in a preheated oven at 375° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more. NOTE: If using no-boil noodles, like I did, cook according to the recipe on the package. Mine called for 50-60 minutes, so that's how long I left it in the oven before uncovering it.

Alternative use: you can stuff manicotti shells with the eggplant-cheese mixture. Pour half of the sauce on the bottom of the dish, place shells and rest of sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese. I think that would be really good, too!Eggplant LasagnaAt the risk of tooting my own horn, I can tell you that this totally kicked ass. Oh man, it was so freaking good! The eggplant wasn't overpowering at all, and there was plenty of cheesy goodness with the fresh mozzarella I added. If you wanted to be more authentic than I am, you could make your own sauce (or gravy, as I'm told is the correct terminology), but I think Prego is mighty tasty. What can I say? I'm German, not Italian. One thing I wish I'd done differently is using a larger pan. I have one that is a couple of inches bigger, and that would have accommodated all of this much better than the 9x13 one. Some of the sauce gooshed out before I even put it in the oven, so I made sure I put it on a foil-covered cookie sheet when I baked it, just so I didn't have an oogy mess afterwards.

I can hardly wait to eat more of it tonight, which is a good thing, because I barely put a dent in it! I'm guessing I ate maybe a sixth of it.

I would definitely make this again; it is a fine addition to my eggplant repertoire. It's not vegan, because of the cheese and eggs (vegans don't eat cheese, right?), but I would think it could be easily adapted.

All you eggplant haters just keep on hatin'. I adore these beautiful purple ovals of vegetable goodness. Eggplant-o-lanterns


  1. we might make this tasty dish this weekend when you say to chop the eggplant, how small should the chunks be? like southern hash brown sized cubes or larger like when you make potato salad?



  2. Well it does LOOK very good! In all fairness to eggplant..I've never tried it. Perhaps I should give it a go one of these days. Glad you enjoyed your feast so much!!

  3. I could take or leave eggplant or squash, but if I ever happen through Northern Indiana THAT dish is what I'd like to see on the menu!

  4. Hi Beth,
    Looks great. I think eggplant can be delicious in some dishes, not as much in others. But the version of it in your photo looks great!

  5. I love eggplant, too. The lasagna looks wonderful. The penguins stole my heart! Verhy cool, Beth.

  6. Mmmmmmmmm that sounds delish! Back in the 80's the big wigs decided all the Admitting staff should be in professional looking clothes. They were mostly skirts with matching blazers and of course bouses, etc. We were given a printed notice about our new upcoming wardrobe & one suit color was listed as "Eggplant." We all sort of scratched our heads wondering what that would look like. When all the stuff arrived, I actually liked the eggplant outfit the best, the color was good for my fair skin & blonde hair. I've printed out your recipe....I'm going to try it. (you should be able to freeze some portions for a later date) Linda in Washington

  7. Tryed a taste tonight, not bad, I could even make a small, small neal of it.

  8. The eggplant plants are growing the garden as I write. May have to give this one a try, as we love pasta and love eggplant. I make an eggplant dressing with rice that everyone likes....even the folks who say they don't like eggplant. It has such a mild flavor it really is hard to detect when mixed with other ingredients. Of course, being from the South, I'll always have to fry some. ;o)

  9. When I saw the title and the picture, I was going to ask you if you'd ever had eggplant lasagna. I worked with a lady who used to make, but I have never tried. I think I'll have to go get some eggplant and make this this week.


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