Pesto Eggplant Lasagna

Are you an eggplant lover or an eggplant hater?  If you are in the hater side probably is because you haven’t been able to experience its full potential.

Lately I have been trying to work more vegetables into our diet, as well as cut some calories and simple carbs. I find that often the best way to do this is to use a vegetable where bread or pasta would traditionally be used. You get a double benefit of eating more veggies and reducing the overall calories in a dish. Pasta is just a vehicle for sauce anyway.  If you truly love pasta and can’t give it up, you could half the amount of the eggplant  and add both lasagna noodles and slices of eggplant into this recipe.

6

PESTO EGGPLANT LASAGNA

Prep Time: 30 minutes.
Cook Time: 40 minutes.
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minuttes.
Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

For the Lasagna

2 Eggplants

2 15 oz cans pure tomato sauce

2 cups homemade pesto (see recipe below)

2 garlic gloves

16 oz whole milk ricotta cheese

½ cups shredded parmesan cheese 3tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp dried basil

1/2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

 

For the pesto

½ cup freshly chopped basil

1/2 cup spinach

1/8 cup pine nuts

1 garlic clove 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil

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INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat Oven to 425
  2. Slice eggplant into ½ inch slices. Lay on a baking sheet (you will probably need to use 2 sheets) and salt liberally on both sides, allow to sit for about 30 mins.
  3. After eggplant has been sitting for 30 mins, blot with paper towel to remove moisture and excess salt, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper.
  4. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and adjust temperature to 375.
  5. While eggplant is sweating and roasting, start the tomato sauce and homemade pesto.
  6. In the blender bowl, add the tomato sauce, dried oregano, dried basil , salt and sugar to taste. Blend until smooth. Reserve.
  7. For the pesto:  put the fresh basil, spinach, pine nuts, garlic, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil in the food processor. Pulse until you get a creamy pesto sauce. Reserve.
  8. To assemble, spread about ½ cup of sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Follow with a layer of eggplant slices. Spread ⅓ of the ricotta mixture on top of the eggplant. Sprinkle ⅓ of the parmesan cheese on top of the ricotta mixture. Top with about 1½ cups of the sauce. Repeat this step three times.
  9. Tightly cover with foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray to avoid sticking. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes.
  10. Remove foil and continue baking for 25-30 more minutes, until top is bubbling and golden. If the top isn’t browning the way you want it to, finish under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to get it nicely golden.
  11. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  12. Sprinkle with extra chopped basil if you wish. Cut and Serve.
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