If you love lasagna, here's a healthy, delicious, gluten free, no noodle eggplant lasagna with amazing sauce and three cheeses. You won't miss the noodles!
I'll let you in on a little secret that only my family knows - I develop an addictive personality when there's lasagna in the house. I joke that I can't be left alone with lasagna - but it's really no joke - I can't focus on anything for more than five minutes before I'm headed to the fridge to slice off "just a little taste". That goes on all day until the lasagna is gone and I'm crashing from an overdose of carbs, meat and cheese! So sadly, I rarely make lasagna.
But a few days ago a lightbulb popped on in my head about a way that I could make my favorite dish a lot more light and healthy. So instead of panning the globe, I spent the week experimenting in the kitchen. (My family and neighbors ate lots of lasagna this week!) The happy result is No Noodle Eggplant Lasagna.
HOW TO MAKE NO NOODLE EGGPLANT LASAGNA
Firstly, roasted eggplant slices take the place of noodles as the structural element of this lasagna.
As I embarked upon this "no noodle" lasagna project, I was worried that if the noodles were truly a critical element of lasagna, I'd be in trouble. I asked myself - what is it about lasagna that makes it so irresistible? I decided that the noodles are far down on the list in terms of flavor.
They do provide a good texture and a great structure - making it easy to cut the final lasagna into perfect squares. But if you don't mind your "squares" being a bit "rustic" - there's really no need for noodles. In my opinion, a lot of the excitement over lasagna comes from the cheeses, and most of the flavor is in the sauce!
I love a rich, thick, meaty sauce. This one is very meaty, only there's no meat. I added "meaty-ness" by caramelizing chopped carrots and mushrooms to bring out their umami flavors. Then I added lots of chopped broccoli for meaty texture and healthy fiber. A food processor makes the chopping quick and easy.
The carrots and mushrooms cook for about 15 minutes in some olive oil, which brings out their meaty, umami flavors.
The fuzzy tops of broccoli have a great texture. If you turn a broccoli crown on its side and shave off ½-inch slices, you'll get a perfect sized chop. The broccoli goes into the sauce raw and gets cooked in the oven when you bake the lasagna, so it retains a lot of freshness and crunch!
Adding the broccoli and the caramelized carrot-mushroom mixture makes for a delicious, thick and "meaty" vegetarian tomato sauce. I made this 4 ways, before finding the perfect recipe for a veggie-intense sauce with tons of great flavor that's also thick enough to hold the eggplant lasagna together.
Eggplant - to salt or not to salt? I had to get to the bottom of this debate before I could feel comfortable making a recommendation. I did the research and my conclusion is "don't salt and sweat eggplant." It's a waste of time and effort.
Here's an article by Bon Appetit that will help you decide whether or not to salt eggplant. The conclusion is: salting is not necessary to draw out bitterness but it does add some flavor, so it's up to you whether or not to salt. (I say don't bother!)
I did my own experiment. I nibbled on the leftover scraps of unsalted, roasted Italian eggplant and they were sweet and delicious! I also cut up and roasted a large globe eggplant to see if it's more bitter than the little ones, as some of my research suggested. It was also sweet and delicious with no salting and sweating!
This eggplant lasagna is layered the same way you would approach a traditional lasagna, only you have to be a little creative about how you arrange the eggplant "noodles" so they fit well in the casserole.
One of my challenges was to find the best roasting time for the eggplant slices and the right sauce consistency so that the lasagna would hold together when sliced. By the fourth try, it worked. Voila!
For all of my fellow lasagna addicts out there, here's another resource I'm sure you'll appreciate: 25 Healthy and Lighter Lasagna Recipes from Cookinglight.com
Here's the recipe for No Noodle Eggplant Lasagna. And here's to going back for seconds, thirds and even fourths!
If you try this eggplant lasagna recipe I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think.Print