Gluten Free Eggplant Lasagna Style Recipe
I volunteer for a non-profit organization that once a month or so hosts a dinner to ply our invitees with delicious food (hoping they will pry open their wallets and fork over their hard-earned cash to our worthy cause).
Normally, I have a lot of say as to the menu. However, I was absent from the last menu planning meeting and they decided to do a pasta dinner. Pretty much a gluten free cook’s nightmare. They signed me up for lasagna. (Note to self – don’t schedule important things like a mani-pedi on the night we are to decide the menu!)
Back when I was more insecure about my gluten-free lifestyle (in the closet as it were) I would have just made regular lasagna. But no more. Now I know that great food is great food, regardless of the wheat content.
So I prepared my version of lasagna. I don’t know if technically it can be called a lasagna as it contains no noodles, but whatever it is called, it is FABULOUS! Even the die-hard wheat eaters were begging for this Gluten Free Eggplant Lasagna Style Recipe. So here it is.
Now I firmly believe that there is a time and place for homemade tomato sauce and that the preparation of this lasagna is not it. If you are a die-hard homemade person, then by all means make your own. If you are lazy like me, use a good store bought sauce. I like Classico Tomato & Basil as it has no sugar added – making it great for low carb diets and I doctor it up with extra onions, garlic and oregano. If you have a bottle of red wine in the fridge then add it. If not, then either leave it out and add a bit more water or use this as an excuse to open one!
By the way, you will see that I use dried parsley in this recipe. This is the ONLY time I ever use dried parsley but I prefer it to be fresh in this case.
Gluten Free Eggplant Lasagna Style Recipe
- 2 medium or large eggplants
- ¾ cups olive oil
- 5 teaspoons dried oregano – use divided
- 3 teaspoons kosher or sea salt – use divided
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper – use divided
- 5 cups tomato sauce – about 1 ½ jars of 26-ounce store bought
- 1 ½ pounds Italian sausage - mild or hot depending on your preference
- 1 large white or yellow onion - chopped
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- ½ cup red wine – optional
- 1 large container ricotta cheese
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese – grated or shredded
- 2 large eggs – beaten
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 3 cups mozzarella cheese - grated
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix olive oil with 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cut the ends off the eggplant and slice into ¼ inch slices. Brush eggplant slices with olive oil mixture. Grill on a hot, dry grill pan or broil under pre-heated broiler for about 4 - 5 minutes (until browned) and flip, cook on other side until browned and slightly soft about another 3 -4 minutes. It will cook more in the oven so slightly undercooked is okay. Set aside until layering the lasagna.
- Remove the casing from the Italian sausage and crumble into a large stockpot or skillet that has been heated over medium high heat. (If your pan is not non-stick, add just a touch of olive oil to the pan first. Cook until browned and no longer pink inside, breaking up the sausage as it cooks.) Add chopped onion and cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce, wine if using and 1 teaspoon dried oregano. Let cook for about 15 minutes until heated through. Check the consistency. You'll want it a little saucy so if too thick, you could add some water. I usually have to add about 1/4 - 1/3 cups.
- In a large mixing bowl mix the ricotta cheese with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, the parsley, 1 cup Parmesan cheese and eggs.
- Brush a large lasagna dish with some olive oil. Ladle in a little bit of the tomato sauce and spread over bottom of dish. Try to just add the sauce - no sausage chunks.
- Layer half the eggplant slices in the bottom. Add half the ricotta mixture then top with half the sauce. Repeat layering. Top with mozzarella cheese and spread evenly over the top.
- Bake about 1 hour until hot and bubbling and cheese is browned.
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