Eggplant Lasagna with Mushroom Ragu

In an almost Garfield level consistency my boyfriend and I crave lasagna. Do I really need to explain why??? I’m no stranger in trying to find slight ways to “health up” lasagna. But I wanted to take it even farther. So I came up with this version that promises no carb bombs or meat sweats.

Instead of a classic bolognese I made a mushroom ragu to give that meaty texture and flavor, and swapped out noodles with layers of roasted eggplant. The end result is kind of like eggplant parm meets lasagna. And. Im. Am. Into. It. And the best part? Despite eating a bowlful I still feel ready to take on the world, or in this case my house cleaning.

Mushroom Ragu:

  • 1 lb cremini or button mushrooms roughly chopped
  • 1 onion diced
  • 5 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp crushedred pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sherry or red wine
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about five to seven minutes. Make sure to stir pretty regularly. Add the garlic and continue to saute until fragrant, another minute. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook until they have just released their juices, about three to five minutes. Add the wine and allow it one minute to burn the alcohol off. Add the crushed tomato. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 15-30 minutes. You can cook this up to a week in advance.

Roasted Eggplant:

  • 3 of the longest eggplants you can find, sliced in about 1/4 inch thick disks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. Toss the eggplant in the olive oil and make sure it is evenly coated. Lightly hit each side with salt and pepper, and then line them up on two, maybe three baking sheets. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, flip them, and again for another 15 minutes. You want the eggplant to look a little shriveled and to look completely cooked.

Cheese filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups ricotta
  • 1 cup parmesan
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach or stemmed kale
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella

Mix together the ricotta, parmesan, basil, and a small pinch each of salt and pepper. Set aside for assembly

To assemble grab a 9×13″ baking dish and get ready. Spoon about 1/4 of mushroom sauce on the bottom of the pan. Follow that with a layer of eggplant, another 1/4 of sauce, 1/3 of the ricotta mix and 1/3 of the spinach. Top with another layer of eggplant and repeat 2 more times. Top the final layer with the mozzarella. Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

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