Parmigiana (Eggplant Lasagna) Recipe: The Southern Italian Way
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
This eggplant lasagna recipe will be one that you immediately fall in love with and use for many years to come. It not only tastes great, but for the more health conscious cooks out there, it is a healthier, but equally as tasty alternative to a traditional lasagna recipe.
You will use delicious, flavorful roasted eggplant slices in the place of fresh pasta sheets, and pair that with mozzarella cheese to create a delicious eggplant lasagna that everyone will love. From the ricotta mixture to the rich marinara sauce, all of these flavors will marry together and create an explosion of flavor that will always be a crowd pleaser, and you may never go back to traditional lasagna again!
You will also learn how to store your lasagna so that you can enjoy it for longer and even how you can add more to- and customize the recipe to have the perfect bite every time!
What is an Eggplant Lasagna?
This low carb eggplant lasagna recipe swaps the usual fresh noodles for sheets of thinly sliced and deliciously roasted eggplant.
In between these eggplant slices will be a luscious, creamy mix of ricotta, Parmesan, and other flavorful ingredients such as as lemon zest and freshly cracked black pepper. This is a vegetarian lasagna that is hearty, filling, and comforting, just like any good lasagna should be.
Since the roasted eggplant slices stand in for the lasagna noodles (which is quite a serious job in the business of lasagna), it is important that the roasted eggplant both tastes great and has a fantastic texture that will hold up during the cooking- and serving process.
What is so Good About This Recipe?
The great thing about this recipe is that it is light! It’s also hearty, and eggplant is filling and “meaty,” but it doesn’t feel overly cheesy or heavy. There are just enough no-boil “lasagna noodles” to give it structure without completely taking over, which makes the eggplant the real star of this dish.
This recipe is also very fun to make! Roasting the eggplant is probably the thing that takes the most time, but it is definitely a very rewarding process that gives you a lot of room to play around with the flavors of your eggplant. This means that although you use the same basic recipe every time that you prepare the dish, you can tweak the flavors or just mix them around and it will still taste amazing.
This eggplant recipe can also be made in stages which means that you can roast the eggplant a day ahead and frigate. Or if you live somewhere warm, grilling the eggplant is even easier and it adds a great flavor to your dish.
Eggplant Lasagna Recipe With Parmesan Cheese
Cooking and Preparation Times
- Cooking time: 25-40 min
- Prep time: 1-2 hours
- 25 min = roasted eggplant slices
- 30 min = bechamel sauce
- 40 min = marinara sauce
- 10-15 min = rest time for lasagna
Roasted Eggplant Slices
- 2 to 3 large eggplants, 4 pounds, stemmed and sliced vertically into ¼-inch-thick planks
- Sea salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Spices and herbs (optional)
- Set the oven temperature to 176 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Pat the eggplant slices dry and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
- Drizzle the slices generously with olive oil, toss to coat everything evenly, and arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheets (if you would like to add spices, add them with the olive oil).
- Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are tender and golden brown, flipping the eggplant and rotating the pans halfway through.
Bechamel Sauce Layer
- 500ml milk (warmed to just above room temperature)
- 50g butter
- 50g flour
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
- Melt butter over low heat (do not brown the butter, and ensure that it is just melted and not boiling).
- As soon as it is 90% melted, take the pot off the heat and add flour. Combine the two together with a wooden spoon and put it back on the stove.
- Cook the flour-butter mixture for a few minutes on low heat while stirring it (it will look like a big lump but it will loosen up later, and ensure that is not too brown).
- Start adding in the warm milk a little bit at a time and whisk on a medium heat (if the milk is added too quickly lumps will form).
- Once all the milk has been added and the sauce thickens, add the seasonings and cook for another few minutes on a low heat until the mixture sticks to the back of a teaspoon.
- Take off the heat and place a piece of baking paper on the surface of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming as it cools down.
- 15-oz tub part-skim Ricotta cheese
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese
- Garlic, oregano
- Lemon zest
- Salt and pepper
- Combine the ricotta and the egg and beat the mixture until it is smooth.
- Fold in the cheese and add the garlic, oregano, lemon zest, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Mix everything together and store it covered in the fridge until you need to use it.
Tomato Sauce Layer
- 30 g extra virgin olive oil (normal oil will work just fine as well)
- 170 g fresh onions, diced
- 20 g fresh garlic, diced
- 2500 g fresh tomatoes, room temperature
- 50 g fresh basil, sliced thin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place a big pot of water on the stove to heat up and add 2 pinches of salt into the water.
- While the water heats up, take the eye out of all the tomatoes and cut an x on the bottom.
- Fill a large bowl halfway with water and ice.
- Once the water is boiling, place the tomatoes in the water for 10-40 seconds until the skin starts to peel off, and then transfer them to the bowl with the ice water (do not add all the tomatoes to the pot at once as the tomatoes will not heat up evenly and the skin will struggle to come off).
- Allow the tomatoes to cool down in the ice water for a few minutes until you are able to touch them and then peel off the skins. After the skins have been taken off, cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze the seeds into a separate bowl.
- Cut your tomatoes into small cubes and keep them with the rest of your ingredients.
- In a pot, on medium heat, add your olive oil and allow it to heat up for a few seconds. Add your cut garlic to the pan and cook it until fragrant, for around 1 min, then add in your onions.
- Cook the onions and garlic until the onions start to go softer and start to caramelize for 5-10 min.
- Add your diced tomatoes to the mixture and switch the stove to a lower heat. Cook the mixture covered for 15-20 min and stir it every now and then to ensure that it does not burn or stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Cook the mixture uncovered on a high heat for 10 min and stir it with a wooden spoon to ensure it does not burn (this step ensures that there is no excess moisture left over). Add in the basil and simmer everything together for 2-3 min then take it off of the heat.
- Allow it to cool for a few minutes and then blend the until smooth (be careful when blending the sauce as it may come out of the top of a stand blender, use a hand blender or an immersion blender if you can). You can also leave a little bit chunky for some added texture.
- After the sauce has been blended, add in your salt and pepper to taste and then your sauce will be ready to use.
- Roasted eggplant slices
- Marinara sauce
- Bechamel sauce
- Cheese filling
- Mozzarella cheese, grated
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- Set the oven temperature to 176 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce at the bottom of a 9×13-inch or similar baking dish.
- Cover that with a layer of roasted eggplant slices.
- Top with half the cheese filling and dot with another 1/2 cup tomato sauce.
- Add another layer of eggplant.
- Top with the remaining ricotta and dot with the remaining sauce.
- Add a final layer of eggplant. Top it with the grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
Can I add meat sauce to this eggplant lasagna recipe?
Yes, you can absolutely add a meat sauce to your layers so be sure to follow this recipe below for an amazing addition to your eggplant lasagna recipe.
- Heavy bottom pot, lid
- Cooking time: 30-45 min
- Olive oil
- 1 small carrot, chopped fine (about 54g)
- 1 celery stalk, chopped fine (about 54g)
- 1 small onion, chopped fine (about 54g)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 15g)
- 120ml red wine
- 400g ground beef
- 300g peeled tomato, cut small (canned tomatoes or fresh)
- 300ml beef broth
- Fresh basil, cut fine
- Thyme, cut fine
- Salt and pepper
- Prepare all the ingredients.
- In a pan, add a splash of olive oil and allow to heat up. Add in the finely chopped vegetables with the garlic on medium heat and start sautéing.
- A sediment will start to form at the bottom of the pan (take care not to burn the contents of the pan), add a 1/3 of the wine and cook it down. Continue until the wine is gone.
- Remove the contents of the pan and set it aside.
- Add in some more olive oil and add the ground beef on a medium heat. Start breaking it up to avoid lumps (do not excessively stir the beef as it is cooking, otherwise it will turn grey, rather let it gain some color whilst cooking).
- While the beef cooks and starts to form a sediment in the pot, add 1/4 of the beef broth and allow it to cook down.
- Add the vegetables back in and combine everything together.
- Add in the chopped tomatoes, the remaining beef broth and the herbs then allow everything to simmer on a low heat for about 10 min or until it starts to thicken. Stir in between to ensure it does not burn.
- Once it has started to thicken, allow it to cook together for a few minutes before removing the sauce from the heat.
If you are using this recipe in your eggplant lasagna, reduce the amount of marinara sauce in your dish or take it out completely depending on the amount of meat that you would like to add.
Prepare Ahead, Leftovers and Storage:
To prepare ahead: You can roast the eggplant and prepare the ricotta cheese filling 1 day in advance. Keep them both refrigerated in separate containers. Assemble just before baking and when you are ready to bake, let the lasagna stand at room temperature while you preheat the oven to ensure that it cooks evenly.
Leftovers & Storage: You can refrigerate the leftovers for up to 4 days. Rewarm, covered, in a medium heated oven.
To reheat: Warm your lasagna covered in a 350 degrees heated-oven (be sure not to add a dish to the oven straight out of the fridge as this can cause some dishes to shatter and/or the outside will heat up quicker than the inside).
What do I serve my eggplant lasagna recipe with?
Grilled Chicken or Grilled Shrimp: By offering a side of grilled chicken or grilled shrimp it will please the meat-eaters at your table as well those that like a little more variety at dinner time.
Green Salad: Eggplant Lasagna pairs beautifully with a big, creamy, green salad and the best ones to try are Caesar Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad or toss some Romaine lettuce with a Homemade Caesar Dressing. During the summer months, Strawberry Spinach Salad is perfection.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts: For an extra-healthy side option that still tastes amazing, serve your Eggplant Lasagna with a side of Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Chili Oil.
Garlic Bread: While some appreciate that Eggplant Lasagna is a low-carb alternative, others in your household may crave some carbs and by including a side of homemade bread, it is a foolproof way to satisfy everyone at your dinner table. Spread slices of bread with butter, sprinkle it with Parmesan and the tiniest pinch of garlic salt, then pop it into a 204 degrees Celsius (400 degree Fahrenheit) oven to toast for about 10 minutes.
This eggplant lasagna recipe will become a regular staple in your household and it will certainly become the favorite of any friends or guests that taste it so be sure to try it out and enjoy the deliciousness for yourself.
If you would like to try the traditional version of Lasagna Bolognese then take a look at our wonderful recipe and you will love it just as much!
Disclaimer: Please be aware that the food images displayed on this website are for illustrative purposes only. They do not represent the actual dishes or presentations you might achieve when following our recipes. While we strive to inspire your culinary journey, the appearance of your dishes may vary.
Frequent Asked Questions
Depending on variety and size, and how they are cut, eggplants take 15 to 25 minutes to fully cook. Undercook them and you’ll be left with a bitter-tasting veggie that has the texture of a cotton ball.
In an oven preheated to 375 degrees F, this homemade lasagna should be perfectly baked in about 50 minutes (30-40 minutes covered, 5-10 minutes uncovered).
Soaking eggplant before cooking is not a requirement, but it can be helpful in certain situations. The decision to soak your eggplant depends on factors such as the eggplant’s age, bitterness, and the dish you are preparing.
To magically remove the bitterness from the eggplant and greatly improve the texture, soak the eggplant in milk overnight. Once the slices of eggplant have taken a long, luxurious, milky bath, they are tenderized and primed for frying. Simply tap off the extra moisture, dust the eggplant slices with sea salt and flour.
The peel of an eggplant is completely edible. However, as the eggplant grows bigger and matures, the peel may become tough and bitter. People often prefer to peel larger eggplants because of this, but smaller eggplants do just fine unpeeled. It ends up being a matter of personal preference.