When something is delicious, it doesn’t need much introductions. So how about when it’s healthy and delicious?
I present to you my meatless zucchini “lasagna”. You won’t miss the pasta and you won’t miss the meat with this one. The cheese is still there and so is the gooeyness.
Ingredients ( 4- 6 servings)
– 1 medium onion ( I had shallots, so I used two), finely chopped
– 2 fat garlic cloves, minced
– 1 eggplant, diced
– 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
– 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
– 1 1/2 cups tomato purée ( if you have peeled tomatoes in their juice, it’s even better. I, however, am unable to find them in a glass jar or a brick and I do not buy them in cans because of BPA lining)
– 1/4 cup water
– 1 tablespoon milk
– 1/8 teaspoon sugar
– 6 leaves fresh basil, julienned or thinly sliced
– salt and black pepper to taste
– 1 pot ricotta cheese ( 250 grams)
– 1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
– 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
Slice 5 medium zucchini thinly lengthwise. Put them in a bowl and add some salt. Let stand for 10-15 minutes so that the water drains out and they won’t become soggy.
Wipe them with kitchen towels removing as much water as you can. Layer them on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes turning them once halfway. Alternatively, you can use a stovetop grill and grill them for a few minutes on each side. Both taste the same, however, the grill marks add a nice touch.
For the eggplant-tomato sauce “bolognese”
In a small saucepan pour a tablespoon of oil and add the finely chopped onion or shallots. Sauté for a couple of minutes and add the minced garlic. Stir and sauté two minutes more ( if they seem to stick to the pan, just add a splash of water). Add the chopped eggplants and stir. Add the tomato purée the water, the herbs, salt and black pepper. When it comes to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer for about 25 minutes. You want a thick sauce so resist the temptation of adding more water.
After 25 minutes, add the sugar and milk ( trust me on these, they are added to balance the acidity of the tomatoes). Stir and leave for 5 more minutes. At the last minute, add the fresh basil. Taste for seasoning and turn off the heat.
In a square baking dish, layer the grilled zucchini in an overlapping manner. Layer half of the eggplant/ tomato sauce, then half the ricotta. Smooth the cheese with the back of a wooden smooth. It’s okay if things don’t look too pretty, we’re gonna cover everything anyway.
Add another layer of zucchini, the other half of the ricotta, then sprinkle the mozzarella and the freshly grated parmesan.
Bake in a preheated (180C- 350F) oven for 25 minutes until the cheese is melting and bubbly. Place under the broiler for a five minutes to brown the cheese.
If you’re not baking immediately, wait for everything to cool, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer. When you want to bake, preheat your oven and remove from freezer. Let it stand for 15-20 minutes then bake for about 30 minutes. Again, place under broiler to get the cheese looking good.
Bon appetit :)
Have you tried to substitute eggplant for meat before? Or have you used lentils or mushroom instead?