Eggplant and Spinach Lasagna

December 22, 2011

It’s awfully easy to love lasagna. It combines pasta and tomato sauce (if you do a red one), as well as cheese. And it’s nice and thick and gooey. Perfect for a cold winter night. I definitely prefer vegetarian lasagna – I kind of feel that sausage or other meat gets in the way of the pasta, tomato and cheese. But I love vegetables in lasagna. This time I chose to make eggplant and spinach lasagna. (Should you prefer meat lasagna, feel free to substitute it for the eggplant).

I decided to make new tomato sauce rather than use up my precious last serving of heirloom tomato sauce from this summer. (I can’t believe I’m down to just one bag!) And I was pretty pleased with how the sauce turned out. I used a large can of fire-roasted tomatoes as well as some tomato puree, plus a bunch of garlic, Mexican oregano and basil.

For cheese, I used a mix of fat-free mozzarella and part skim mozzarella, 12 oz in total. I have used fat-free cheddar by the same company for years in my chilaquile, and it tastes great, but the fat-free mozzarella just isn’t quite right. So next time I’ll use 8 oz of part-skim mozzarella and skip the extra 4 oz. I think fat-free cottage cheese tastes just fine (I actually like it better than non-non-fat), so I won’t change that. I also used a mix of red pepper and spinach garlic flavored lasagna noodles, which worked okay, but did muddy the flavors a bit. So in the future, I’ll just use plain noodles. (Plain is such a boring sounding term, isn’t it? But ‘pasta flavored’ just doesn’t sound right).

Eggplant and Spinach Lasagna Ingredients

Eggplant and Spinach Lasagna Ingredients (Next time I’ll go with plain-flavored lasagna noodles)

The noodles I used were from Pappardelle’s, and I guess I didn’t really do a good survey of the size of the noodles compared to the size of your usual boxed noodles. I cooked nine noodles, because that’s what I’ve used every single time I’ve made lasagna. But when I set out to put the first layer of noodles down, two of them covered 80-90% of the width of the pan, and they were too long as well! So I got out my cooking sheers (so very handy!) and turned it into an arts and crafts project. I cut some strips from the extra end pieces, and filled in the side. I altered where the small cut-up pieces were in each of the three layers so that I wouldn’t end up with a lasagnalanche later on.

I thought the pictures of each layer looked kind of cool together:

Putting Together the Eggplant and Spinach Lasanga

Putting Together the Eggplant and Spinach Lasagna

Eggplant and Spinach Lasagna
serves 6-8

6-9 lasagna noodles (however many you need for 3 layers in your pan)
1 lb eggplant
12 oz baby spinach
8 oz part-skim mozzarella, grated
16 oz fat-free cottage cheese
3/8 oz pecorino romano, shaved
28 oz crushed tomatoes
26 oz stewed tomatoes (or just use another 28 oz crushed tomatoes)
4 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp olive oil
1+1/2 tsp Mexican oregano (divided)
1/2 tsp basil
3/4 tsp salt, divided
ground pepper

In a large, wide skillet, sauté the minced garlic in the olive oil over low to medium-low heat for a minute or two. Remove 2 tsp of the garlic and set aside. Add the tomatoes, 1 tsp Mexican oregano, the basil, and 1/2 tsp of salt to the garlic. Stir well, and adjust spices to taste. Cook the sauce over medium-low to medium heat until it thickens, 20-30 minutes. (Turn it down if you need to prevent splattering). Once done, set aside. You can continue with the other steps while it’s cooking – just check it fairly often.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the eggplant into rounds about 1/3 inch thick. Spray a couple of cookie sheets with cooking spray, place the eggplant slices on the sheets, brush lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. (I actually didn’t brush them with olive oil, and they turned out fine – your choice). Bake about 10 minutes (check at 5 minutes) until lightly browned. Turn the pieces and bake for another 2-5 more minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Once cooled, cut into pieces that are about 2″ in size. Set aside. You’ll want the oven at 350 degrees for the lasagna.

Combine the cottage cheese, shaved pecorino romano, 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano, 1/4 tsp salt, and the 2 tsp of garlic. Set aside.

Steam the spinach (or just put it in the microwave, covered for about two minutes), so that it is wilted, but still bright green. Set aside.

Cook the lasagna noodles as per directions. Drain.

Assemble the lasagna in the following, evenly spread out layers:

  • A thin layer of the tomato sauce
  • A single layer of lasagna noodles
  • 1/3 of the tomato sauce
  • 1/2 of the cottage cheese mixture
  • A little less than 1/2 of the mozzarella
  • The eggplant
  • Another layer of lasagna noodles
  • 1/3 of the tomato sauce
  • The spinach
  • The remaining cottage cheese mixture
  • A little less than 1/2 of the mozzarella
  • Another layer of lasagna noodles
  • The remainder of the tomato sauce
  • The remaining mozzarella

Cover loosely, and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover the lasagna and bake for another 10 minutes.

Eggplant and Spinach Lasagna

Eggplant and Spinach Lasagna (updated photo – this batch was made entirely with red-pepper noodles)

Eggplant and Spinach Lasagna

Eggplant and Spinach Lasagna (old photo from the pre-real-camera days – made with red pepper and spinach noodles

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3 Responses to “Eggplant and Spinach Lasagna”


  1. […] Eggplant and Spinach Lasagna « boulderfoodie It's awfully easy to love lasagna. It combines pasta and tomato sauce (if you do a red one), as well as cheese. And it's nice and thick and gooey. Perfect for a cold winter night. I definitely prefer vegetarian lasagna – I kind of feel that sausage or other meat gets in the way of the pasta, tomato and cheese. But I love vegetables in … I altered where the small cut-up pieces were in each of the three layers so that I wouldn't end up with a lasagnalanche later on. I thought the pictures of each … https://boulderfoodie.wordpress.com/ — Thu, 22 Dec 2011 13:55:56 -0800 […]

  2. Karen Says:

    Your recipe sounds good…like eggplant parmesan meets lasagna.


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