This week's FRESH PRODUCE BOX included some deliciously in-season eggplant so naturally our recipe centres around them. We hope you enjoy this yummy vegetarian lasagna that's perfect for a cold mid winter night. Just add cheese! Please let us know if you've tried it or if you have any other recipe pairings for us to feature.
Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna
Eggplant can be cooked in a variety of interesting ways: broiling, grilling on the BBQ, sautéing, baking and frying. The cooking method you choose will determine how the eggplant is cut up and the kinds of seasonings that may be added. Usually you merely rinse and trim the eggplant and use without peeling.
Serves 8 to 10
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided 1 medium onion, small dice 8 ounces white or brown mushrooms, small dice 1 small eggplant (about 12 ounces), small dice (do not peel) 1 small zucchini or yellow summer squash, small dice 1 medium red bell pepper, small dice 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano Pinch red pepper flakes (optional) 1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach 1 (24-ounce) jar good marinara sauce (3 cups) 15 dry lasagna noodles
2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese (15 to 16 ounces) 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (12 ounces)
Heat oven to 400°F.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook until the onions are sweated and are just starting to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid and most of that liquid has evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the eggplant, zucchini, and bell pepper, and cook until all are softened, 3 to 5 minutes more.
Push the vegetables aside to clear out some space in the middle of the pan. Add 1 teaspoon of the oil, garlic, salt, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes if using. Stir the garlic until it is fragrant and just starting to turn golden, about 30 seconds, then stir it into the vegetables. Add the spinach and stir until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Spread a thin layer of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Lay 5 of the lasagna noodles over the sauce, breaking them if needed to create a single layer and to fully cover the bottom of the dish. Spread 1 cup of the ricotta over the noodles. Top with 1/2 of the vegetables, 1 cup of the marinara sauce, and 1 cup of the mozzarella.
Arrange another 5 noodles over mozzarella, followed 1 cup of ricotta, the remaining vegetables, 1 cup of the marinara, and 1 cup of the mozzarella. Top this with a final layer of 5 noodles and the remaining sauce. (Reserve the remaining mozzarella for the end of cooking.) Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake for 1 hour. Check to make sure the noodles are done by poking the lasagna with a knife; the knife should slide easily through all the layers. If it doesn't, cover and cook for 15 minutes more. When the noodles are done, sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella over the top. Bake, uncovered, until the mozzarella has melted, 10 to 15 minutes more.
Turn on the broiler and arrange an oven rack 6 inches below the heating element. Broil the lasagna until the mozzarella is browned and bubbling, 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove the lasagna from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Recipe originally from www.thekitchn.com (posted with permission)