It was unseasonable cold while we were in Switzerland and we even had a few days of snow! It was fun to have snow while in the Swiss Alps – it seemed very fitting. Given the cold weather, I was making warm comfort foods and this eggplant lasagna was one of our favorites!
Begin by slicing two small eggplants into rounds, coating with olive oil, and roasting in the oven at 400 until they are cooked through (about 30 minutes). Remember that smaller eggplants tend to be more flavorful, so I recommend using two small eggplants for this recipe instead of one large one. Check on the eggplant once while it’s cooking and flip over the rounds so they brown nicely on both sides.
While the eggplant is cooking, make the sauce for the lasagna. Since we’re on the road, I used two cans of cubed tomatoes, but at home I would have used some of my frozen tomatoes. Simmer the tomatoes with one diced yellow onion, five minced cloves of garlic, chopped basil (or a scoop of pesto), a dash of cayenne pepper, and salt to taste.
One of my favorite parts of making lasagna is layering all the ingredients together. I suggest the following order –
sauce in the bottom of the pan
lasagna noodles (I like whole wheat spinach noodles)
roasted eggplants (or any other filling you are using)
cheese (I used a mix of mozzarella and parmesan for this lasagna)
cheese (make this the thickest cheese layer so you have a nice melted top to your lasagna)
Pop the whole thing in the oven at 400 for 30 – 45 minutes. Remember to check it regularly to be sure it doesn’t burn. I like to serve lasagna with a big green salad. In this case, it was mache, arugula, tomatoes, and avocado with a pesto vinaigrette. Delish!
Lasagna seems to be one of those foods that gets a bad rap for being unhealthy. In fact, it is a perfect example of a dish that is as healthy as the ingredients you choose to use. In this case it is filled with veggies, uses whole wheat pasta, and you can keep the cheese in check.
Interestingly, there are some vegetables that are more nutritious when cooked and lasagna is a great way to eat these ingrediants. Tomatoes are a terrific source of lycopene, an important antioxidant and carotenoid. Lycopene has been studied for its role in supporting heart health and anti-cancer properties (especially as related to prostate cancer). Lycopene from tomatoes is better absorbed by the body when the tomatoes have been cooked and are eaten with small amounts of fat, such as the sauce and cheese on this lasagna. So, load up your lasagna with healthy ingredients and feel good about eating this lycopene super food!