Sweet Basil Eggplant Lasagna

Like I mentioned earlier, I absolutely love Italian food and a favorite of mine has always been Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo but today I wanted to share my obsession with Eggplant with you! I first discovered my love for eggplant when I had a cream sauce based vegetarian  eggplant lasagna in middle school during Art Club. Now, I’m a meat eater and anyone who knows me knows that. So naturally, I would typically add meat to lasagna. If its not your thing, then you can just stick with sauce and noodles (or something noodle like as a substitute). However, I know that everyone is trying to watch their weight after the new year and while grains are an IMPORTANT part of your diet, sometimes its easier to temporarily cut calories when you lessen the amount you are consuming and one easy way to do this is to make this Sweet Basil Eggplant Lasagna.

Growing up mom’s lasagna was always great. Now, there were a few things she did that I’ve jimmied with in this recipe, or applied. For instance, she typically used a can of Hunts tomato sauce with some Italian herbs and I’ve actually found a recipe that changes that a little bit to make a sweeter sauce. Mom also has always used hamburger meat instead of or in combination with sausage, and to me this is pretty normal! She also always uses cottage cheese instead of ricotta because she prefers the texture. I carried on both of these things in this version.

To start out you’ll need to begin making the noodles out of eggplant. This isn’t hard. Isn’t this eggplant beautiful?!

You’ll need to wash it and then you should cut the eggplant length-wise into thin noodles. It’s VERY important to eliminate the pieces that have skin all over the bottom of them because you won’t be able to cut it once it’s baked. (I may or may not have done this the first time I made this recipe).

You’ll then take a brush and cover them in olive oil.

Next, sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Bake these between 10-14 minutes depending on their thickness.

 

While they are baking, go ahead and start your sauce. Ever since I found out there was such a thing, I’ve wanted to try making it! In a sauce pan add hamburger meat and saute with the onions until they become softened (they should be translucent) and until the meat is done.

Next, you’ll be adding the crushed tomatoes.

Season them with the sugar, basil and some salt. Add garlic and oil as well. You’ll need to simmer this on low for around ten minutes and then your sauce will be ready to go.

Now you’re ready to build! Begin by ladling some sweet tomato basil sauce in the bottom of a greased casserole dish.

Then add a layer of cooked eggplant ‘noodles’.

Put more sauce on the eggplant and introduce a few spoon fulls of cottage cheese. Spread with the back of a spoon (brb #swooning right about now!)

You’ll next need to add the cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan. Adequately cover the whole layer.

Repeat this until you’re done! (You will need a larger dish than this, my fiance doesn’t do the whole eggplant thing so what is pictured actually turns out to be about a half recipe.)

Then, you’ll just pop this baby in the oven for 40 minutes (the edges should be golden brown) and the middle should appear to be cooked.

After cooling then serve!

Do you substitute vegetables for grains sometimes or are you just an eggplant freak like me? This Sweet Basil Eggplant Lasagna definitely scratches that itch for me!

Sweet Basil Eggplant Lasagna

Ingredients

Noodles

  • 2 Eggplants
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Sauce

  • 1 Lb of Hamburger Meat
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 teaspoons of Olive Oil
  • 28 oz can of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoons of Sugar
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 6 Tablespoons of  Dried Basil

Cheese

  • 16 oz of Cottage Cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups of Mozzarella Cheese

Instructions

Noodles

  1. Wash eggplants and cut them lengthwise so that you have thin noodles. Make sure to cut most of the skin off, except for around the eggplant pieces. That will be fine.
  2. Brush Olive Oil onto them.
  3. Season them amply with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 10-14 minutes (depending on thickness) at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sweet Basil Sauce

  1. Brown 1 Lb of Hamburger Meat with 1 Chopped Onion until the onion softens and is translucent.
  2. Add  28 oz can of crushed tomatoes to meat. Season with 4 teaspoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, salt, 6 Tablespoons of dried basil and 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
  3. Mix well and simmer for 1o minutes.

Building the Lasagna

  1. Ladle one spoonful of Sweet Basil Sauce onto the bottom of a greased casserole dish.
  2. Lay down the first layer of eggplant noodles.
  3. Top with Sweet Basil Sauce until it’s spread over the entirety of the layer.
  4. Place a few spoonfuls of cottage cheese down and spread with the back of a spoon.
  5. Add enough Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese to cover the layer.
  6. Repeat until you fill the dish, and be sure the top is cheese.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-50 minutes, or until the edges are brown and the middle seems to be cooked.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

 

Lauren

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