For the longest time, my family has called this meal Eggplant Parmesan. I still don’t fully understand why. For the most part it just causes people to confuse it for a knockoff of the popular Italian-American dish which it is nothing like. Nonetheless, it is and always will be, Eggplant Parmesan in my family. For the sake of your understanding and my sanity, let’s call it Eggplant Lasagna today.
I know what you’re thinking: “what is the point of lasagna without noodles?”. Trust me when I say that I am the last one to jump on the carb-free train. I sure as hell value an embarrassingly large plate of creamy fettuccine alfredo. This is one carb-free meal, that I can guarantee you will make, more than one time. My boyfriend always laughs at me for saying that food can change your life. This one certainly changed mine. I can’t give you the recipe without giving credit to my mother, who still manages to make it better than I do despite my many attempts to prove her wrong. She has been making this recipe on Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. Oftentimes, she subs noodles in one side of the pan for the non-believers but take my advice and- don’t. My family isn’t one to follow recipes with exact precision so there is a ton of flexibility here. Here is everything you will need:
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 medium white onions (or 5 tiny ones if you have unfortunate luck like me)
- 1 package frozen chopped spinach
- 2 large eggs
- 1 container of cottage cheese (or sub ricotta)
- 2 pounds lean ground beef (don’t cheap out here, trust me)
- 2 cups shredded cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, or whatever is in the fridge)
- 2 jars of tomato sauce of your choice (I opted for the PC spinach + cheese)
Now this is going to look like A LOT of steps/work but I swear it’s mostly just layering more and more delicious ingredients on top of each other. She’s worth it.
Step 1: Defrost spinach and strain to remove extra water. Then set aside.
Step 2: Fry your garlic and onions in a pan with olive oil until soft.
Step 3: Add ground beef and stir until fully cooked.
Step 4: Peel eggplant and cut into slices approximately 1 cm thick.
Step 5: Add thin layer of tomato sauce to the bottom of lasagna-sized dish.
Step 6: In a separate bowl, mix spinach, container of cottage cheese, and 2 eggs until blended.
Step 7: Add the spinach mixture to pan.
Step 8: Add a layer of sauce.
Step 9: Add a layer of eggplant noodles.
Step 10: Add beef mixture.
Step 11: More sauce.
Step 12: More eggplant noodles.
Step 13: the rest of that sauce.
Step 14: Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until boiling and getting crisp on top.
Step 15: Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for an additional 7 minutes.
Step 16: Let sit 5 minutes and enjoy with a garlicky caesar salad.
Step 17: Try not to fall off your chair in amazement.
Let me know how your eggplant parmesan or eggplant lasagna turned out in the comments below! Are you ready to give up lasagna noodles forever?