Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna is a specactular vegetarian casserole that even meat-eaters will devour. It’s not quite traditional lasagna since there’s no meat or noodles but in my opinion, it’s even better than the original. This amazing variation is comprised of layers of a herb-filled homemade tomato sauce, flavorful roasted eggplant slices, and a tasty portabella and rice filling. I’d recommend making the tomato sauce and rice ahead of time to make this casserole simple to throw together on the day you prepare it.
Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna
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2 medium eggplant, ends removed and sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
Salt and Pepper
Rice & Portabello Filling:
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves
3 portabello mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup plum tomatoes, diced (3-4 tomatoes)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, adjust according to heat preference
2 cups Rustic Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce (Entire Recipe Yields 4 Cups; Remaining 2 Cups Will Be Used for Layering Lasagna)
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt & Pepper, to taste
2 Cups Rustic Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce
3 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
Roasting the Eggplant
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper (Depending on the size of the baking sheets, you may only need two; make sure all baking sheets fit in the oven at the same time).
2. Arrange eggplant on prepared baking sheets then spray tops with a layer of olive oil spray and season with salt and pepper.
3. Transfer eggplant to oven (it’s okay if you have to put one on the lower rack, just rotate the pans after you flip eggplant) and roast for 10 minutes. Remove baking sheets from oven and flip eggplant slices (the quickest way is to just use your hands!). Respray with olive oil spray and season with salt and pepper. Return eggplant to oven and roast 10-12 minutes more, or until tender. Remove eggplant from oven and reduce temperature to 350 degrees (for cooking the lasagna once assembled). Set eggplant aside.
Making the Filling:
(You can start the filling while the eggplant is roasting)
1. Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat to medium low. Stir in garlic and sauté until fragrant, about a minute.
2. Raise heat to medium then add mushrooms and arrange in a single layer on the bottom of pan. Let mushrooms cook, undisturbed, until golden on the bottom, 4-5 minutes. Stir mushrooms and continue to cook, until browned on all sides, 5-6 minutes more. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper.
3. Once mushrooms are browned, stir in rice, diced tomato, thyme, oregano, and chili flakes. Stir until ingredients are evenly combined, then season with salt and pepper.
4. Raise heat to medium high and stir in 2 cups of the tomato sauce. Once sauce is beginning to bubble, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Remove filling from heat and fold in fresh parsley and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
Layering the Lasagna
1. Make sure oven is till preheated to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 Pyrex casserole dish with nonstick spray.
2. Spread 1/2 cup of the plain tomato sauce on the bottom of casserole dish.
3. Arrange about 1/2 of the roasted eggplant slices on top of tomato sauce. (Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, it will still taste great).
4. Scoop all of the rice filling on top of the eggplant slice and smooth into a even layer.
5. Arrange remaining eggplant slices on top of rice filling (you might not be able to fit all of the eggplant into the lasagna).
6. Pour remaining 1.5 cups of plain tomato sauce on top and spread out so that all of the eggplant is covered in sauce. Sprinkle top of lasagna with fresh thyme.
7. Transfer lasagna to oven and bake for 30-25 minutes or until edges begin to bubble, top begins to crisp, and center feels heated through.
8. Let lasagna cool for 4-5 minutes, then cut into 4 servings and enjoy!
Nutrition Information--approximately 295 calories per serving (1/4 of the casserole)