Saturday, December 15, 2007

Eggplant Lasagna

In recent years, we have had Eggplant Lasagna for Christmas. Not everyone that we share Christmas with is vegetarian, so the lasagna has been a nice choice. Not only will it feed many people, but it is also something that non-vegetarians and vegetarians can eat happily together. I haven't decided yet what I will make this year though. So if anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to share.

Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna

1 package whole grain lasagna noodles
1 eggplant, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 small package fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
dash of wine (or up to 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
1 28oz can organic crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 15 ounce container ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1 package of grated mozzarella or mixture of melting cheeses

optional additions: saute in step 2, along with the other veggies: grated carrots, red bell pepper, or chopped zucchini, etc.

1. Place the peeled and chopped eggplant in a colander, sprinkle with salt and set in sink to drain. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil lasagna noodles according to package directions, drain.

2. Meanwhile, chop the rest of the vegetables. Heat olive oil in a skillet and fry the onion until transparent. Add the eggplant, mushrooms and garlic and saute until tender. Add a dash of wine and stir. Add the crushed tomatoes and Italian seasoning and bring to a simmer, uncovered. Simmer at least 15 minutes to develop flavors. Salt and pepper to taste.

3. In a bowl, stir together the ricotta or cottage cheese, the egg, the chopped parsley and the grated Parmesan. Set aside.

4. Oil lightly a rectangular baking pan. Assemble the lasagna in alternating layers: tomato sauce, ricotta or cottage cheese mixture, shredded mozzarella, noodles, then more sauce, more cheeses, noodles, etc until all the pan is filled and ingredients are used. The top layer should be just tomato sauce and mozzarella.

5. Bake for at least 30, but up to 45 minutes, until bubbly and the cheese on top becomes golden and crusty. Remove from oven and let stand for about 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

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