Veggie Lasagna Hold the Pasta!

lasagna

Veggie LasagnaMeatless meals. I love them, my husband, not so much. Well that’s really an understatement. He hates them. But this one, he loved.

Really!

I keep calling this lasagna, yet I don’t know why, because there’s no pasta in it. But it does have layers and mozzarella and Pecorino Romano cheese. Maybe it should be called a Clean Eggplant Parmigiano because the eggplant is neither breaded nor fried and there’s very little olive oil in it. No matter, this is really, really good. It’s fresh and bright-tasting and the zucchini was still a little crisp with the crunchy goodness of the bread crumbs. This is my kind of dish!

As a rule, I try to do one meatless meal a week, alongside two fish nights and then chicken, pork or lamb. We rarely eat beef.

This recipe serves 6 as a main course (or 8-10 as a starter).

Veggie Lasagna Hold the Pasta!

Ingredients

  • peanut oil
  • olive oil
  • 3 Small striped eggplants, washed, dried, sliced into 1/4″-3/8” rounds
  • 2 zucchinis, washed, dried, sliced into 1/8″ rounds
  • 1 lb mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 2-2.5 lbs of fresh plum tomatoes, sliced into 1/4” rounds
  • 7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • A handful of ramps, if you can find them or 1.5 tbsp of fresh thyme leaves or whatever herb you like, chopped
  • salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 scant cup of bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons fresh grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Pour a little peanut oil on a paper towel and wipe a rimmed baking sheet with it. Lay eggplant slices on top and season with fine grind sea salt and pepper. Roast on the bottom rack of your oven for 20 minutes. When done, remove slices with a thin metal spatula so the browned parts stay on the eggplant and not on the pan. Reduce oven heat to 350-375 degrees.
Meanwhile prepare the zucchinis, tomatoes, garlic and ramps or thyme. Tip: Slice your cheese while it’s cold as it’s easier that way. Then leave it out to get to room temperature.
Slick a tiny bit of olive oil in the bottom and sides of a 9” x 13” Pyrex glass pan. Put in a layer of sliced tomatoes, then a layer of roasted eggplant, then the minced garlic, mozzarella cheese and then zucchini. Grind some pepper on top. Drizzle on top 1-1.5 tbsp of olive oil, then the ramps or thyme, and then the final layer of tomatoes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350-375 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until liquid is bubbly and the zucchini are fork tender.
Meanwhile, mix 2 tbsp olive oil with the breadcrumbs, parsley and grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Toss to combine in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Remove the aluminum foil and turn your broiler on. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the whole dish. Broil the dish to get the breadcrumbs crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn!

Let rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy! I served this with a side of pasta with some garlic and parsley. Delish!

When I made this, I made a huge portion, but that turned out to be a great benefit. Steve and I had it for dinner the night I made it and then I carefully saved the rest, lifting it out of the pan, keeping the breadcrumbs on top. We had one other portion as a side vegetable one night for another dinner and then I served it as a first course for dinner with our friends Margaret and Wayne. It was perfect, warmed up in the oven and flash-broiled again to crisp up the breadcrumbs. It received rave reviews!

Mary Frances writes about food in her blog LOVE – the secret ingredient.

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