I have a confession to make: I am a pasta snob. Save for mac and cheese (scratch made, obviously), I refuse to use dried pasta. There was a pasta crank on my Amazon deals of the day once, I impulsively bought it, made an easy pasta recipe and was completely blown away. No dried pasta could compare to fresh, even my first, very amateur attempt. There was another thing I learned in making my own pasta though: making pasta is a pain in the ass. Is it worth it? Absolutely. But also I really don’t eat pasta very much in general and now that my tastes were ~elevated~, I really had no desire.
So I had been craving lasagna for a while, but if I was going to have to make my own pasta, it was not going to be a Monday night meal. I also have more energy the more I limit my carb intake. But shout out to those Tasty videos on Facebook! Enter in everyone’s favorite emoji entendre: the eggplant. Eggplant Parmesan has shown us that the veggie is a lovely vehicle for tomato sauce and cheese, and slicing an eggplant longways is basically just a lasagna noodle. I had homemade tomato sauce in the freezer, ricotta and eggplant in my HEB cart, and I was ready to rock and roll.
I began by slicing the eggplant long ways and laying it out on a baking sheet with a rack in it and generously salting it. It’s super important to do this step first so you don’t get a soggy eggplant. So much liquid sweats out of the eggplant in this step, so you want to leave it for at least 30 minutes, which will give you time to do your other mixing and prep.
Now you could make this a vegetarian dish, but that’s not for me, fam. I browned some ground turkey I found in my freezer and added mined onion and garlic, and some roasted garlic from the HEB olive bar I’d bought to snack on. (Did I mention this was also an exercise in cleaning my fridge?)
While the meat and onions were cooking, I mixed up my ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, and grated mozzarella. I like to add a little Italian seasoning in this step too.
If you’re reading The Extra Life, you presumably know that I am extra AF, so when you read the next sentence, I already know what it sounds like. Once the meat and onions and browned, I added some homemade tomato sauce. I prefer homemade tomato sauce since I like to control the amount of sugar, and I prefer a more savory tomato sauce to a sweeter one. HOWEVER, if you don’t just have scratch tomato sauce in mason jars in the fridge, store bought will do just fine. (What up Ina Garten) I do recommend putting an anchovy in the sauce to add a nice bit of umami, since the eggplant will err sweeter than pasta. I will post my sauce recipe hopefully soon in case you’re curious. Let that simmer on low while you do the next step before assembly.
At this point, your eggplant slices should be sweatin’ like a sinner in a church house. Pat them dry with a paper towel, then sear them quickly on each side in a hot pan, grill pan preferred.
I’m not gonna lie, I thought this was even better for lunch and dinner the next day. The flavors had more time to develop and sitting in the cold fridge allowed everything to firm up even more. Most lasagnas I feel like dry out after a day, but this just got better over the next couple days. It didn’t last any longer than that!
I’ve embedded my recipe below, but I also am linking to the Tasty recipe as well for a slightly quicker version with no meat in it.
My adaptation of a low-carb lasagna
Feel free to add some more veggies in or a different type of meat!
- 2 eggplants, thinly sliced
- salt + pepper
- ground turkey
- medium sweet onion
- 5 cloves of garlic
- however much roasted garlic you need to use in your fridge
- about 2 pints of tomato sauce + diced tomatoes (if needed)
- 16 oz ricotta
- 1 egg
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella, divided
- 4 oz shredded parm, divided
- plenty of Italian seasoning
- Pre-heat oven to 375 F
- Slice eggplant thinly length-wise and salt and pepper generously on a baking sheet to remove water content
- Brown turkey, onions, and garlic in a skillet Once cooked thouroughly, add tomato sauce and extra tomatoes if needed
- Mix ricotta, mozzarella, parm, egg, and Italian seasoning in a bowl and set aside
- Pat eggplant dry and grill or sear quickly in a hot, dry pan
- Layer in a greased casserole dish, tomato sauce, eggplant, ricotta mixture, repeat
- Top with remaining cheese and bake for 45 minutes at 375F and then broil for 5 minutes
- Let sit for 15-20 minutes before serving, or cool to room temperature before chilling in fridge overnight to portion for meal prep.
Let me know if you try it and like it, or if you added something fun!