Chareva’s Kitchen: Eggplant Lasagna

      78 Comments on Chareva’s Kitchen: Eggplant Lasagna

When Chareva and I were first engaged, she warned me not to marry her for her cooking abilities.  At the time, it was a fair warning – not that I cared.  Considering that it took me 25 years of dating to find someone I wanted to marry, a lack of enthusiasm for cooking wasn’t exactly a deal-breaker for me.

That was then, this is now.  She’s become an excellent cook over the years, despite the restriction of preparing meals without sugars and grains.  Here’s one of my recent favorites from Chareva’s Kitchen:

Eggplant Lasagna

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. pork sausage
1 large eggplant
12 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 cup plus 1 cup parmesan cheese
1 16 oz. bag shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs
1 Tbs. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 Tbs. parsley
1 6 oz can of tomato sauce (canned tomato sauces tend not to have added sugar).
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the eggplant into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices. If you have the prep time, you can coat the eggplant slices with salt and let them sit for an hour to extract any bitter juices, then rinse clean and squeeze dry with paper towels.  If not, skipping this step doesn’t seem to affect the final taste much at all.

Rub both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil. Place on cookie sheet and bake for about an hour in a 325-350 degree oven.

While the eggplant is baking, brown the ground beef and sausage together in a pan. Pour off the extra grease – nothing wrong with eating  fat, mind you, but you don’t want the lasagna to be runny.

Make the white sauce:  In a medium bowl mix together 12 oz ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 2 eggs, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, and parsley.

Remove the eggplant from the oven once it has browned on both sides. (You may need to turn the slices halfway through baking).

Build the lasagna layers:  Pour a little olive oil in a casserole dish and spread it around. Then create a layer of eggplant slices, browned meat, white sauce, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Repeat. You can probably create two or three layers, depending on the size of your casserole dish.  (The dish in the picture below is 8 in. x 8 in.  There were enough leftover ingredients to make a second batch in a smaller dish.  Tom ate that second batch himself.)

Bake the lasagna for about an hour at 350 degrees. It’s ready when the top layer of cheese begins to brown. Let it cool for 15-20 minutes so it becomes firm before serving. Makes great leftovers and a very convenient packed lunch for the kids and hubby the next day.

(It’s also awesome cold – Tom)


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78 thoughts on “Chareva’s Kitchen: Eggplant Lasagna

  1. Chris

    Not to be too pedantic, but the proper name for this is moussaka…

    It tastes more like lasagna than moussaka. It’s got mozzarella (moussaka doesn’t), no lamb meat, cinnamon or nutmeg, and it’s heavier on the tomato sauce and lighter on the white sauce. Judy Barnes Baker has a great low-carb moussaka recipe in her “Carb Wars” cookbook.

  2. Lori

    If I could eat that much dairy without my face breaking out, I’d love to make this–it looks so good!

    You’re pretty persistent, spending 25 years dating. I gave up a long time ago.

    I’d pretty much given up when I met Chareva.

  3. Firebird

    I wish I could figure out the heating and time conversions to cook this in my convection oven.

    No idea on that one.

  4. Steve

    Tom what up with the the Harris Teeter carton did they coyotes finally get the hens too?

    No, fortunately. We saved some egg cartons for our own eggs. We also ended up buying eggs now and then during the cold months when the chickens didn’t produce nearly as many.

  5. Nick P

    Tom,

    That looks awesome! I am not an eggplant fan, but I am going to give this a try! Thanks again for posting!

    Nick

  6. Cindy

    Have you thought about putting together an e-book with Chareva’s recipes, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it.

    Maybe someday when she has enough recipes written down.

  7. Chris

    Not to be too pedantic, but the proper name for this is moussaka…

    It tastes more like lasagna than moussaka. It’s got mozzarella (moussaka doesn’t), no lamb meat, cinnamon or nutmeg, and it’s heavier on the tomato sauce and lighter on the white sauce. Judy Barnes Baker has a great low-carb moussaka recipe in her “Carb Wars” cookbook.

  8. Lori

    If I could eat that much dairy without my face breaking out, I’d love to make this–it looks so good!

    You’re pretty persistent, spending 25 years dating. I gave up a long time ago.

    I’d pretty much given up when I met Chareva.

  9. Firebird

    I wish I could figure out the heating and time conversions to cook this in my convection oven.

    No idea on that one.

  10. Steve

    Tom what up with the the Harris Teeter carton did they coyotes finally get the hens too?

    No, fortunately. We saved some egg cartons for our own eggs. We also ended up buying eggs now and then during the cold months when the chickens didn’t produce nearly as many.

  11. Nick P

    Tom,

    That looks awesome! I am not an eggplant fan, but I am going to give this a try! Thanks again for posting!

    Nick

  12. Cindy

    Have you thought about putting together an e-book with Chareva’s recipes, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it.

    Maybe someday when she has enough recipes written down.

  13. TonyNZ

    Firebird:

    If I understand your issue, the 325-350 would convert to 160-175 degrees celsius. When cooking convection, I tend to drop the temp about 20 degrees C relative to conventional.

    Tom:

    Forgive me for being an ingredient snob (and given that I haven’t eaten this so can’t comment for it’s taste or your palate) but wouldn’t this take off with fresh herbs, garlic, onion and freshly grated parmesan? Do you have a herb garden?

    I’ve made the switch (when possible) to fresh ingredients and the flavour improvements are huge. Rosemary, thyme, parsley and mint can all grow like weeds, and basil and chives are pretty easy to grow in most climates. The difference between a store brought paste for a Thai green curry (full coconut cream please) and the exact same curry cooked with a handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves and stems before serving is immense.

    I love garlic and onions, but can’t stand their powder forms and the volatile flavour content of parmesan is destroyed when it’s ground up like that.

    Make the most of the variety that a garden can throw at you.

    We don’t have an herb garden yet, but it’s on the to-do list. What had what appeared to be onions growing around the property, but they don’t taste good. They’re probably not onions.

  14. Rae F.

    Hmm. Adding eggplant to the list of veggies I’ll be growing after we move away from TN.

    Moving way from Tennessee? Say it ain’t so.

  15. Nads

    You can just pan fry eggplant in butter instead of all that oven time. I pan fry eggplant then stack like pancakes with bolognaise sauce thru the layers and over the top. It always gets a great reaction from family or guests and is easy!

    I’d have called this moussaka too.

    I like that idea.

  16. TonyNZ

    Firebird:

    If I understand your issue, the 325-350 would convert to 160-175 degrees celsius. When cooking convection, I tend to drop the temp about 20 degrees C relative to conventional.

    Tom:

    Forgive me for being an ingredient snob (and given that I haven’t eaten this so can’t comment for it’s taste or your palate) but wouldn’t this take off with fresh herbs, garlic, onion and freshly grated parmesan? Do you have a herb garden?

    I’ve made the switch (when possible) to fresh ingredients and the flavour improvements are huge. Rosemary, thyme, parsley and mint can all grow like weeds, and basil and chives are pretty easy to grow in most climates. The difference between a store brought paste for a Thai green curry (full coconut cream please) and the exact same curry cooked with a handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves and stems before serving is immense.

    I love garlic and onions, but can’t stand their powder forms and the volatile flavour content of parmesan is destroyed when it’s ground up like that.

    Make the most of the variety that a garden can throw at you.

    We don’t have an herb garden yet, but it’s on the to-do list. What had what appeared to be onions growing around the property, but they don’t taste good. They’re probably not onions.

  17. Galina L.

    It was very timely. I’ve bough an eggplant with the intention to make some layered casserole dish just before I read your post. The idea of adding a sausage to the ground meat is excellent. I often pre-cook my sliced eggplants in a Foreman grill in batches. I love eggplant, I found it worked better as a pasta substitute in appropriate dishes than zucchinis.

  18. Rae F.

    Hmm. Adding eggplant to the list of veggies I’ll be growing after we move away from TN.

    Moving way from Tennessee? Say it ain’t so.

  19. Marilyn

    Eggplant is right up there with liver in my book — I can eat it if it’s disguised with enough other stuff. This looks like it just might do the trick. It looks wonderful, as a matter of fact!

    I don’t mind eggplant by itself, but I’m with you on the liver. Chareva hides it in her chili and I can’t taste it at all.

  20. Nads

    You can just pan fry eggplant in butter instead of all that oven time. I pan fry eggplant then stack like pancakes with bolognaise sauce thru the layers and over the top. It always gets a great reaction from family or guests and is easy!

    I’d have called this moussaka too.

    I like that idea.

  21. Merlin

    I’ve made an eggplant parmesan that’s rather similar in taste. We use ground golden flax seed to “bread” the eggplant slices, then bake or fry them before assembling the dish.

  22. Rae F.

    “Moving way from Tennessee? Say it ain’t so.”

    Yep. Moving from Signal Mountain (Chattanooga) to warm, flat Orlando. Gardening can be tricky here due to shallow soil and we like the idea of actually being able to have some “cold weather” crops during the FL winter. Did I mention its warmer? I will miss all the trees though. That is for sure.

    I would definitely miss the scenery around here if we moved to a flat area. Good luck in Florida.

  23. Jim Butler

    Might want to switch from canned tomato anything. Apparently, that industry has been very resistant to using BPA-free packaging, and the acidity of tomatoes tends to exacerbate the problem. We’ve gone to buying tomatoes/sauces that are in cardboard cartons instead.

    I’m actually not an eggplant fan either, but I DO miss some pasta dishes every now and then, so will give this a spin. We use some of the Dreamfield’s low-carb pasta from time to time, and I can’t really tell the difference between that, and Prince, however, I’ve never seen a lasagna noodle by them.

    I’ll probably make the cheesy “bread” sticks to go with this…they’re wonderful, and no flour.

    Jim

    I’d avoid that Dreamfield’s pasta:

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2011/05/19/low-carb-pasta-in-your-dreams/

  24. LyndaF

    The recipe and picture look great. It’s definitely lasagna, not moussaka which has some sort of cream (bechamel?) sauce too.
    I’ve made my low carb lasagna with both japanese (long) eggplant and zuchinni. I cut them lengthwise to get long strips. I didn’t bother cooking them first, but that would probably cut down on the wateriness of the end product, good idea.
    For those who don’t like the bitter flavour of regular eggplant, try the long ones instead, they’re never bitter and taste great sliced lengthwise, brushed with oil and bbq’d or grilled (same with zuchinni).

    Yup, baking the eggplant first is mostly to drive out the water, which makes for firmer lasagna.

  25. Galina L.

    It was very timely. I’ve bough an eggplant with the intention to make some layered casserole dish just before I read your post. The idea of adding a sausage to the ground meat is excellent. I often pre-cook my sliced eggplants in a Foreman grill in batches. I love eggplant, I found it worked better as a pasta substitute in appropriate dishes than zucchinis.

  26. Firebird

    Thanks Tony.

    Tom…lasagna is always best the following day and cold. Love the tip on liver in chili. Now I know what to do with some of the liver I purchased last week.

    I’d say the same about moussaka. Love it cold.

  27. Dave, RN

    For those that are not eggplant fans, just substitute butternut squash for the eggplant. Just half it lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, then slice it.

    And liver?

    Boil very gently. Don’t overcook. Let cool. Pick/cut out little hard bits. Chop it up a bit.
    Put in food processor
    Add1/4 cup chopped onion
    Add half a stick of melted butter. From pasturedd cows of course.

    Food process the living daylights of it until smooth and creamy. Natures vitamin! Good warmed up by itself or spread on almond crackers.

  28. Marilyn

    Eggplant is right up there with liver in my book — I can eat it if it’s disguised with enough other stuff. This looks like it just might do the trick. It looks wonderful, as a matter of fact!

    I don’t mind eggplant by itself, but I’m with you on the liver. Chareva hides it in her chili and I can’t taste it at all.

  29. Nads

    My dad used to fry slices of eggplant in butter for dinner and must admit I’ve done it too.

    A go to quick dinner idea for me is grated carrot and zucchini, mixed with egg, then fried as fritters in butter.

  30. Merlin

    I’ve made an eggplant parmesan that’s rather similar in taste. We use ground golden flax seed to “bread” the eggplant slices, then bake or fry them before assembling the dish.

  31. Jason

    Sounds like an awsome recipe i will have to try. I will however be not using the package of pre-shredded cheese and would likewise suggest you do not either. From Mark Sisson’s site: ”
    I learned that pre-shredded cheese often contains natamycin (an antibiotic-based mold inhibitor), cellulose powder (aka. wood pulp), and anti-caking agents that often contain potato starch. Additionally, your bag of shredded organic cheese has likely sustained oxidative damage in its processing and packaging”.

    Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/introducing-rich-food-poor-food/#ixzz2LU876lj3.

    This from the new book he is promoting and only one of the things he shared about it.

    The brand Chareva bought does contain potato starch, but it can’t be much since the carb count is still less than one gram per serving. Natamycin isn’t listed.

  32. Jim Butler

    Ok…the “rational” part of me knew that Dreamfields was likely just too good to be true.

    Cross another one off the list.

    Thanks, Tom. Grrrrrrrrrr…

    Jim

    It’s not quite the same, but we use spaghetti squash for spaghetti dishes.

  33. Rae F.

    “Moving way from Tennessee? Say it ain’t so.”

    Yep. Moving from Signal Mountain (Chattanooga) to warm, flat Orlando. Gardening can be tricky here due to shallow soil and we like the idea of actually being able to have some “cold weather” crops during the FL winter. Did I mention its warmer? I will miss all the trees though. That is for sure.

    I would definitely miss the scenery around here if we moved to a flat area. Good luck in Florida.

  34. Jim Butler

    Might want to switch from canned tomato anything. Apparently, that industry has been very resistant to using BPA-free packaging, and the acidity of tomatoes tends to exacerbate the problem. We’ve gone to buying tomatoes/sauces that are in cardboard cartons instead.

    I’m actually not an eggplant fan either, but I DO miss some pasta dishes every now and then, so will give this a spin. We use some of the Dreamfield’s low-carb pasta from time to time, and I can’t really tell the difference between that, and Prince, however, I’ve never seen a lasagna noodle by them.

    I’ll probably make the cheesy “bread” sticks to go with this…they’re wonderful, and no flour.

    Jim

    I’d avoid that Dreamfield’s pasta:

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2011/05/19/low-carb-pasta-in-your-dreams/

  35. LyndaF

    The recipe and picture look great. It’s definitely lasagna, not moussaka which has some sort of cream (bechamel?) sauce too.
    I’ve made my low carb lasagna with both japanese (long) eggplant and zuchinni. I cut them lengthwise to get long strips. I didn’t bother cooking them first, but that would probably cut down on the wateriness of the end product, good idea.
    For those who don’t like the bitter flavour of regular eggplant, try the long ones instead, they’re never bitter and taste great sliced lengthwise, brushed with oil and bbq’d or grilled (same with zuchinni).

    Yup, baking the eggplant first is mostly to drive out the water, which makes for firmer lasagna.

  36. Firebird

    Thanks Tony.

    Tom…lasagna is always best the following day and cold. Love the tip on liver in chili. Now I know what to do with some of the liver I purchased last week.

    I’d say the same about moussaka. Love it cold.

  37. Dave, RN

    For those that are not eggplant fans, just substitute butternut squash for the eggplant. Just half it lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, then slice it.

    And liver?

    Boil very gently. Don’t overcook. Let cool. Pick/cut out little hard bits. Chop it up a bit.
    Put in food processor
    Add1/4 cup chopped onion
    Add half a stick of melted butter. From pasturedd cows of course.

    Food process the living daylights of it until smooth and creamy. Natures vitamin! Good warmed up by itself or spread on almond crackers.

  38. Nads

    My dad used to fry slices of eggplant in butter for dinner and must admit I’ve done it too.

    A go to quick dinner idea for me is grated carrot and zucchini, mixed with egg, then fried as fritters in butter.

  39. Galina L.

    I love eggplant. One of my favorite veggies when cooked. It is great in salads with raw tomatoes and cooked peppers.

    Dave RN gives a good recipe for the liver pate, but I would use sauteed onions instead of raw ones.

  40. Jason

    Sounds like an awsome recipe i will have to try. I will however be not using the package of pre-shredded cheese and would likewise suggest you do not either. From Mark Sisson’s site: ”
    I learned that pre-shredded cheese often contains natamycin (an antibiotic-based mold inhibitor), cellulose powder (aka. wood pulp), and anti-caking agents that often contain potato starch. Additionally, your bag of shredded organic cheese has likely sustained oxidative damage in its processing and packaging”.

    Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/introducing-rich-food-poor-food/#ixzz2LU876lj3.

    This from the new book he is promoting and only one of the things he shared about it.

    The brand Chareva bought does contain potato starch, but it can’t be much since the carb count is still less than one gram per serving. Natamycin isn’t listed.

  41. Jim Butler

    Ok…the “rational” part of me knew that Dreamfields was likely just too good to be true.

    Cross another one off the list.

    Thanks, Tom. Grrrrrrrrrr…

    Jim

    It’s not quite the same, but we use spaghetti squash for spaghetti dishes.

  42. Craig

    We have a farm-to-table restaurant in town that is generally really good but the most frustrating thing they do is on their Italian night. They offer two types of lasagna — a vegan version that uses eggplant instead of noodles as part of the recipe along with fake soy cheese product and a traditional version made with local pastured beef and real noodles. So close yet so far…

    Ugh. If only they’d make a meat-and-eggplant variety.

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