Eggplant Lasagna

Active Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 2 Hours 30 Mins
Yield: Serves 8 (serving size: about 2 cups)

Our eggplant lasagna is a delicious, crowd-pleasing dinner that results from swapping traditional lasagna noodles for slabs of fresh eggplant. Besides being a great gluten-free and low-carb alternative to classic lasagna, this comforting casserole is the perfect way to put a load of summer eggplant to good use. The best eggplant to use in this lasagna recipe are the most tubular-shaped that you can find, as these will give you the most even planks of eggplant (vs. the eggplants with large, round bottoms). This cheesy eggplant bake also gets bonus points for being make-ahead friendly. You can prepare and assemble the eggplant lasagna and refrigerate for up to two days before baking; just plan on the lasagna needing a couple of extra minutes in the oven. 

Ingredients

  • 1large eggplant (about 1 to 1 1/2 lb.)
  • 12 ounces ground beef chuck
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1 onion)
  • 1/2chopped red bell pepper (from 1 bell pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1(24-oz.) jar marinara sauce
  • 2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2large eggs, beaten
  • 16 ounces pre-shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 7 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut eggplant into 12, (3/8-in.-thick) slices. Arrange eggplant on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until slightly dried out, about 15 minutes. Set aside. Bake in 2 batches, if necessary.

Step 2

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add beef to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally to break up chunks, until well browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in marinara. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Step 3

Stir together ricotta and eggs in a small bowl. 

Step 4

Spread 1/2 cup meat sauce in bottom of a greased 13- x 9-inch glass baking dish. Arrange 3 pieces of eggplant in a single layer over sauce. Top with 3/4 cup meat sauce, 1/2 cup ricotta mixture, and 4 ounces of shredded mozzarella. Repeat layers 3 more times. Top with fresh mozzarella pieces, and sprinkle with thyme. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 400°F for 45 minutes. Remove foil, and bake until top is browned, another 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven, and let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

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