I love hearty Italian meals and there is one dish in particular that always warms, nourishes and fulfils me. That dish is lasagne. Being the healthy (read – carbohydrate-averse) individual that I am however, I am constantly on the look out for recipes that I can either modify or are carb-friendly in their original form. For an easy carb-free lasagne, look no further than this recipe.
This lasagne is packed choc full of veggie goodness. In place of the pasta sheets, use grilled sliced eggplant. Not only are you removing that yucky carb-y element but you are replacing it with the goodness of eggplant. This boosts flavour as well as nutrients and it surprisingly doesn’t change the structure of the recipe too much.
One important tip when making this recipe – make sure you invest in some quality tomato passata. If you are in Adelaide, I highly recommend the Lucia’s tomato passata. The richness of the flavour really adds to this dish. If you can’t get your hands on the Lucia’s brand, buy the best quality passata you can afford and, as always, make sure you read the ingredients list to ensure there is no added sugar or other nasties included.
Another thing – the cheese in this recipe really makes it. I completely ramp up the amount of Parmesan on top of the lasagne. I usually dob big blocks all over the top before baking (try to aim for one big chunk per piece). The Parmesan gives it a delicious salty kick and melds so well with the flavour of the vegetables. Again, try to invest in good quality Parmesan (Reggiano if you can). if you can. I also find pecorino an excellent addition, in place of traditional Parmesan.
As this recipe makes so many serves, this is a great one to slice up and take for an easy lunch at work. The smell is guaranteed to make your colleagues jealous. Enjoy!
*Note - while the recipe is vegetarian, I love to add some organic, grass-fed beef mince to ramp up the protein. Just pre-cook then layer as per vegetables throughout the dish.
- 2 eggplant – cut into slices lengthways
- 1 red onion, roughly chopped
- 2 capsicum
- 2 zucchini
- 500g pumpkin
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 500ml tomato passata or nepolitana
- Handful of fresh basil, chopped
- 500g fresh ricotta
- Pinch of nutmeg (or cinnamon)
- 30g (more!) of Parmesan or Pecorino
Preheat oven to 200 C.
Grill eggplant in a pan until soft.
Combine the onion, pumpkin, zucchini and capsicum with olive oil, salt, pepper and a little cinnamon.
Roast for 30 minutes until soft then remove from the heat. Fold through the the tomato passata and fresh basil leaves.
Layer the eggplant to line the base of a large baking dish.
Top with half the roasted vegetables.
Place another layer of eggplant over the top then proceed with the remaining vegetables. Finish off with a final layer of eggplant. (If there is any passata left in the jar, I pour it over the entire baking dish and spread evenly).
Spread the ricotta over the top of the eggplant and place thick chunks of Parmesan over the top.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and heated through.