Eggplant Lasagna- a cozy, hearty vegetarian dinner recipe made easy with no-boil noodles. Top it off with flavorful Arugula Almond Pesto! Keto, GF and Vegan-adaptable!
This delicious Eggplant Lasagna is so warm and comforting -it is one of those dishes you actually get kind of excited about the leftovers. I am actually eating the last piece as I type, and feeling a bit sad about it. After making a big batch last Sunday- it has been nourishing me all week long. Vegetarian comfort food at its best!
Why make Eggplant Lasagna?
What I love about this recipe is how surprisingly light it is. It’s hearty, don’t get me wrong- eggplant is filling and “meaty” but it doesn’t feel overly cheesy or heavy- meaning, it does not put me in a food coma.
There are just enough no-boil lasagna noodles to give it structure without completely taking over- making the eggplant the real star of the dish.
Roasting the eggplant is probably the thing that takes the most time, but I’ve made it as easy as possible for you. I really don’t think you’ll mind the process.
And once that part is done, just assemble and bake. You can also tackle this in stages, roasting the eggplant a day ahead. Or if you live somewhere warm, grilling the eggplant is even easier and adds great flavor!
Eggplant Lasagna | 60-sec video
The thing that elevates this Eggplant Lasagna is the Arugula Pesto. Yes, of course, you can always use store-bought pesto or your own version of pesto would work fine too.
But if you have an extra 5 minutes, make the Arugula Pesto, trust me, you need this in your life. 😉
How to Make Eggplant Lasagna
Prep the Eggplant & Preheat the oven to 400F
How to cut Eggplant for Lasagna:
Slice 3 large globe eggplant, lengthwise, into 1/2 inch thick slices. You can cut them into rounds, but then there are more to manage that way.
Place onto 2 parchment-lined sheet pans.
Salt the eggplant to release water and remove bitterness.
Let this sit 15-20 minutes, allowing them to sweat, which removes bitterness, while the oven heats up.
Blot the moisture that is released from the top side.
Then flip them over. Repeat: Blot and spray. Easy, right?? 🙂
Roast the Eggplant to prevent watery Lasagna!
Roasting the eggplant ahead prevents the lasagna from becoming watery. Place the eggplant in the middle of the 400 F oven until deeply golden 30-40 minutes.
Roast until translucent and golden. So check them and be intentional here. Undercooked eggplant is never good.
Step 2: Make the Filling
While the eggplant is roasting, make the filling. Saute one onion and 4-8 garlic cloves.
Add a heaping mount of fresh spinach.
Wilt it and season with salt and pepper.
Even though I used whole milk ricotta here, it did not feel even remotely heavy – so I recommend using whole milk ricotta.
Step 3: Assemble the eggplant Lasagna
Here I’m using a 25-ounce jar of store-bought marinara sauce.
Trader Joe’s Organic Marinara is flavorful as well and this brand or Organic “no-sugar-added” Marinara Sauce made with 100% olive oil and no weird seed oils.
Add the lasagna noodles, add 3/4 cups more sauce, then overlap half of the eggplant.
Top with 1/2 of the ricotta mixture.
Add all the filling. It doesn’t look like I added it all here but I went back and added the rest, and forgot to take a picture.
Please add all the filling. 🙂
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup or 3/4 cup mozzarella and a few tablespoons of pecorino (or parmesan).
Add the second, final layer of no-boil lasagna noodles.
Cover with 3/4 cup marinara sauce.
Add the remaining eggplant overlapping.
Top with the remaining marinara sauce.
Add the remaining ricotta- yep it will be on the top this time. Sprinkle with Mozzarella and Pecorino.
This is what I’m using:
FYI: I do prefer saltier pecorino here versus tangier parmesan. Up to you.
Step 4: Bake the Eggplant Lasagna
Cover with parchment and foil (basically don’t let the foil touch the lasagna) and bake covered, until bubbling, then uncover for the last 10-15 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Step 5: Make the Arugula Pesto
While the Eggplant Lasagna is baking, make the Arugula Almond Pesto. It only takes 5 minutes and it totally elevates.
When it is done, it will be slightly puffed, golden and delicious smelling – and you’ll feel especially proud of yourself.
Bask in it.
It brings me joy just thinking about it.
Garnish with the arugula pesto or serve it on the side.
Because I can read your mind, let me answer some of your questions. 😉
Can I make the Eggplant Lasagna recipe without lasagna noodles to make it keto or low carb?
- Yes. I would increase the eggplant by roasting off one more. You can also brown some ground meat with the onions before adding the spinach to “beef it up”. Or add mushrooms!
- I will say, I do like the structure the lasagna noodles add, especially when using these thin no-boil lasagna noodles, they are very very light. Even cutting back to one layer is an option. 🙂
Can I make this Gluten-Free?
- Yes of course, here are no-boil gluten-free lasagna noodles -they do exist!
Can this be made ahead?
- Yes, feel free to make and assemble the Eggplant Lasagna ahead and bake it before serving (bring it to room temp first).
- Or make it in stages: Roast the eggplant ahead, make the ricotta mix ahead, and the arugula pesto ahead refrigerating all. Assemble and bake the day of.
- It does reheat well also.
Can this be frozen?
I don’t know. My guess is probably, and I would freeze after baking- but haven’t personally tried this. If you try it, please let us know the results in the comments below.
Can this be made vegan?
Yes, again, probably! I haven’t tried this- but what I would do is make the tofu ricotta recipe, leave out the egg but add the basil and nutmeg. Use meltable vegan cheese as a substitute. Again, if you try this, please let us all know how it turns out…very curious. 🙂
Other Cozy Vegetarian Recipes you might like!
- Butternut Lasagna with Mushrooms and Sage
- Polenta Lasagna with Smoky Red Pepper Sauce
- 20 Vegetarian Dinner Recipes!
- Baked Ziti with Mushrooms & Spinach (No Boil!)
- Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups with Spinach & Basil
I truly am excited for you to try this Eggplant Lasagna. It’s a beautifully rewarding meal to make on a slower Sunday, and then you’ll get to enjoy the leftovers during the workweek.
A beautiful nourishing gift to yourself and your family.
P.S. I used something similar to this 12- inch Clay Baking Dish if you are interested!