Aubergine “Pasta-less” Lasagna

Serves: Makes 6 – 8 portions
Approx cost: €5
Approx calories (per portion, if divided by 6): ~470
Approx preparation and cooking time: 20 minutes preparation, ~1 hour cooking time

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #0B0B61;”]It’s time to own up – I made this dish for two reasons this week. One, because I happened to have three aubergines kicking around in my refrigerator, but two, because Linda, from Savouring Every Bite, recently made an aubergine lasagna and it looked deeeee-licious. My lasagne tend to be pretty simple, which is just as well because Wednesday night was an evening from hell. No – that’s not entirely true. I had a good meal out with my wonderful wife, but that hadn’t been the original plan. We drove out of the office parking lot around 6pm, only to immediately get stuck in the mother of traffic jams. It took us 40 minutes just to get to the end of the road (something that normally takes 10 seconds of driving) and since it didn’t look like it was going to get better we decided to park up instead and go out for dinner. I did want to whip up something fast for dinner yesterday evening though and my thoughts turned to the lasagna I’d seen. Things like ricotta aren’t supplies I regularly have in my fridge, so Linda – I hope you’ll forgive me if you feel I’ve bastardized your recipe a bit. It was a great meal and I love the fact that there’s no pasta inside – I could eat aubergine in any format until it comes out of my ears ;) It actually reminded me a bit of a beef moussaka, and we both enjoyed it a lot, so I hope you give it a try – or try Linda’s… or try both ;) You can never have too much aubergine in your life!

In other news – if you didn’t already, it’s not too late to enter my first of two giveaways. Just go and guess a number on my previous post. I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday. Next week I’ll also be doing the second giveaway, and showing you all a few more photos from my trip – that way I can pretend I’m still on vacation, for at least a few more days!

Have a great weekend everyone – I’m trying to convince my wife that a trip to the American café and cake-shop in Paris on the weekend is actually a really good idea, despite the festive indulgence I partook in, so maybe I’ll be able to enjoy some of their awesome cake on Saturday again! In any case, I’ll be back on Monday with a recipe in some shape or form – hopefully something rather fun (if it turns out well enough) :)

Ingredients

Aubergine Lasagna ingredients

  • 300g Minced Beef
  • 3 medium sized Aubergines
  • 160g Hard Cheese, such as Cheddar, Comté, etc
  • 40g Butter
  • 2 tbsp Plain Flour
  • 0.3 litres Milk
  • 1 large Onion
  • 140g tomato concentrate (~4 tbsps)
  • 1 can (400g) Crushed Tomatoes
  • ~6 tbsps Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp tried Thyme

Instructions

  1. Start off by washing and trimming the tops and bottoms away from the aubergines. Cut them into slices lengthways, about 1cm thick. Brush the slices with 5tbsps of the Olive Oil and then arrange them on a large baking sheet and place under the grill/broiler for about 20 minutes, turning every now and again to ensure even cooking through. If you can barbecue or in some way char-grill the slices that’s even better. Much more flavour!
    Grilling the aubergines
  2. While the aubergine is cooking, peel the onion and chop finely. Heat the last 1tbsp of Olive Oil in a large pan and fry the onion until it’s starting to turn translucent. Add in the minced beef and continue frying until cooked through. Add in the crushed tomatoes, tomato concentrate and oregano and thyme and mix well. Simmer the sauce until quite thick and then remove from the heat.
    Making the meat sauce
  3. In a new pan melt the butter and when completely melted, add in the flour and mix until smooth with a wooden spoon. Add in the milk, a splash at a time, mixing in well, and ensuring the milk has heated through and blended completely with the butter/flour mix before adding more. The quantities cited above should yield a good sauce, but if for any reason you find it too thick you can add some extra milk or water. Once all the milk has been mixed in, stir well and remove from the heat.
    Making the béchamel sauce
  4. In a large roasting dish layer up your lasagna. Starting with a layer of grilled aubergine, then meat, béchamel sauce, more aubergine, meat, aubergine, sauce, and then finally grate the cheese over the top.
    Topping off with cheese
  5. Place into the oven at about 160 degrees Celsius for about 1 hour. Doing it for a nice long time will ensure that the sauce really infuses well into the aubergine and the aubergine itself will become ultra tender. After an hour or so the cheese should be browning nicely, like in the picture below… oh yeah!
    Grilled cheesey awesomeness
  6. Serve up with a fresh salad, some baby spinach, a nice sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper – yummy. Can be stashed away for a lunch the next day, and will even improve if left, as the sauces will infuse even more through the dish! Enjoy :)
    Aubergine Lasagna

Comments

  1. says

    Charles, I love the idea of pasta-less lasagne and yours looks simply gorgeous! I still remember Linda’s recipe and I have been meaning to give it a try too. You have just convinced me it’s really urgent :-)

    • says

      Haha :D I had some more for lunch again today… too yummy! Let me know if you give it a go! I’m sure that with your love of trying out variations you could develop something even more delicious!

  2. says

    Mmmm.. this is a fantastic alternative for my gluten-free eaters… I always feel sorry for my cousin that she can’t eat all the amazing foods I enjoy (I’m such a carb-y person).
    Will give this a go and tell her about it, I’ve never tried it before so if we all give it the thumbs up here, I’m sure she will, too. :)

    • says

      Hi Fati – I hope you all like it. Personally I find it very difficult not to love these… especially if you make them thin enough, they’re just like chips. Let me know if you serve them up to your cousin… I hope she’ll like them too!

      • says

        Aww, thanks Charles, but you see… the poor thing, she lives on the other side of the globe where gluten-free food is minimal… basically corn bread, rice, meat and veggies. So she’s always missing out on pastas, pâtisseries, cakes and the like.. I’ll try to buzz her the recipe via email and tell her all about how amazing it tastes :)

  3. says

    This looks wonderful. I made lasagne last night for dinner but with Barilla lasagne noodles so the leftovers could be for my son’s lunch….today’s his birthday. I much prefer using eggplant or aubergine (sounds so gourmet). Your sauce looks incredible too! I’ll keep this in mind for special occasion dinners.

    • says

      Hi Lisa – Happy birthday to your son :) Lasagna for birthday lunch? That’s never wrong! Yummy :)

      The different names are strange aren’t they. I used to think they were different things. And then, on the other hand – the US word for “courgette” sounds much more classy. I mean, come on: “zucchini”… makes me think of Italy, garlic and olive oil :D

  4. says

    Charles, I’m glad I so inspired you with my eggplant lasagna! I actually was thinking of the version as well to do, it’s a Greek dish correct? and I know I’ve made it many years back. I’m always looking for recipes to use eggplant as like you, I could eat it quite frequently! Having never been to Paris, I about fell over reading you might have to “convince” your wife to go there for the weekend!! If someone said that to me, I’d be packing my bag immediately!! Hope you have a great weekend!!

    • says

      Hi Linda, I actually posted about Moussaka, here, a few months ago. If you can get it, and enjoy lamb mince, it’s a beautiful dish, with delicately spiced meat… yummy.

      As for Paris – it’s even better for me than that. I actually live just 20 minutes away from the centre of Paris by car, so we’ll actually be heading in just for a cup of coffee in the delightful little coffee-shop, and then coming back home to the comfort of home :)

      If you’re interested, I actually posted some photos from around Paris a bit before Christmas. You can take a look in this post here!

      Have a great day :)

    • says

      Hi Jen – loving the idea of bison meat… makes me wish I could get such a thing in France :( Oh well… regular old minced beef it is for alas ;)

  5. says

    I’ve been thinking about this since I read Linda’s post too. I’m with you – I could eat eggplants until they come out of my ears. I think I need to get on this dish next week. Yum, yum, yum. And I can totally relate to those types of traffic jams. Took me an hour and a half to get home yesterday due to snow. I guess I feel better about it taking that long when it’s snow. At least there’s a reason. Not like the night I had to go into the city for work and a 35 minute drive took me 2 hours for no apparent reason. Ugh. I hope you have a great weekend Charles! And I think a trip to the cake shop in Paris sounds like a fantastic way to spend the weekend!

    • says

      Thanks Kristy – let me know if you try the dish :) If I go to the cake shop I’ll try to remember my camera this time and get some nice photos from round the area… it’s a nice part of Paris actually :)

      At least if there’s snow you can sit in the warm car and look out at the prettiness while you’re waiting in the traffic queue… I guess that might get old real soon though :D

      Have a good one Kristy!

  6. says

    Looks gorgeous! I’d “accidently” made something very similar to this when I thought I had some lasagna sheets and didn’t. And it was too late to go get some from the shops. I love this version. My husband calls it the Naked Lasagna. You’re right to say it’s kind of like a cross between a moussaka and a lasagna :D

    • says

      Hi Ping! Haha, I love when things “accidentally” come to pass :) I’m sure all the best things in food came about that way. Apparently ganache was created by accident… so one story claims at least :D

      Glad we share the love of “naked lasagna”… I’m wondering if it would be even better still with pasta… AS WELL! :)

  7. says

    I saw Linda’s recipe and fell in love with it. I too can eat aubergine all week long and won’t get tired of it!
    I think I really need to get some aubergines on my way back from work tomorrow (yes I am lucky enough to work on Saturdays.
    I know what you mean about getting stuck in traffic, most of my appointment coinside with the rush hour so I get stuck in traffic at least 2 times a week and I hate it every time

    • says

      Hi Sawsan – hope you can give the recipe a try… let me know what you think!

      It’s too bad your appointments coincide with rush hour traffic… I feel sometimes it’s not so bad being in traffic. Some nice music, a nice sunset, Friday night on the way home maybe (or Saturdays for you), but other times… urgh… it’s just so horrible :(

  8. says

    Before you even said it, Charles, I thought of Moussaka because of the eggplant. What a great dish, and the compte or hard cheese would have fine since egg plant is pretty darn creamy on its own!
    40 minute traffic? Sounds absolutely horrible. I am not looking forward to tonight’s drive home because today we had our very first snowfall of the season. Only about 5 or 10 cm, but you know how stupid people are, it’s like they’ve never driven in snow EVER. We live in CANADA for god’s sake, you would think we would have some memory of how to drive in snow as it happens EVERY darn winter. There. When I worked downtown in the financial district, it once took me 3 hours for a standard 15-20minute drive home. It was because of snow.
    PS I hope you get to go to the American café and cake-shop in Paris.

    • says

      Hi Eva – 40 minutes was only just to get around the corner… 100 metres driving distance :p Would have been hours to get home… I’m glad we parked up in the end!

      I was impressed with how efficiently snow was handled in Sweden. Ploughing everywhere, not a single road ever blocked, and people fit snow tyres from about October and keep them on until about end of April, so it’s usually no problem at all!

      • says

        Quite the opposite in Toronto (can’t speak for the rest of Canada as I haven’t experienced the first snow fall anywhere else). Quebec mandates snow tires (love the way you spelled tyres!), even for visitors – they can take you off the road if you don’t have them! We don’t really get enough snow in Toronto to do that and subsequently people drive with the cheapest, crappiest tires, particularly our cabs – which they hardly maintain! And, as I mentioned before, on the first snow fall, people really lose their minds. About 12 years ago, our idiot mayor (and I’m being generous) called in the army to help when we had a snow storm. REALLY? I don’t like our current mayor much more, but I don’t think he would call in the army (he’s just a big bully).
        http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/1999/01/14/snow990114.html

  9. says

    I love moussaka and I’ve been on a bit of a Greek food train lately — so this fits well. Sounds like Sunday night dinner to me! Your post about the traffic delays was timely because as Eva mentioned, we’ve just had our first real snow fall here in Toronto. I’m not looking forward to rushing off for skating classes (for the ponytails) tonight. It’s a real scramble on the best of days!

    • says

      Hi Barb – let me know if you try this! It would make a wonderful Sunday night meal I think :)

      You’re lucky to have snow… not a thing here alas, but I can appreciate the road chaos it can cause. Drive safely! :)

  10. says

    I love the idea of pasta-less lasagnas and also caught Linda’s lovely post. This looks great Charles – your filling sounds hearty and full of flavour. I also admire how ‘clean’ your image looks… I find lasagna so tricky to photograph! (that, and whole chicken have been my biggest photo challenges so far I think…). Did you ever discover the root of the traffic jam? Have a great weekend Charles ~

    • says

      Hi Kelly – it was really tasty… we finished it off got lunch today in fact :) I got a confession to make though… you uncovered my ruse. The lasagna was actually stone cold when I cut it and took the shot. That’s how I could get such a clean edge. It’s a handy trick for lasagne though – will definitely photograph future ones when cool :D

      As for the jam – yeah, they’re building a tramway through my town at the moment to connect some towns up. It’s causing traffic chaos as it is at rush hours, but to add to that, Wednesday was the first day of the January sales, AND the day when all the children are off in France (all kids get Wednesday afternoons off from school… damn slackers!) so it was just a recipe for disaster!

      Have a good one Kelly :)

        • says

          Yeah – normally it’s not a luxury I have either. It was only because I was making it the night before and cutting it up for storing into boxes for lunch the next day that I could mess about a bit with it. Normally, fiddling about with hot food incurs the wrath of my wife who’s patiently waiting at the table with knife and fork in hand :D

  11. says

    This looks fantastic, as did Linda’s. I love the idea of an American bakery in Paris, just makes me chuckle. I’ve heard they have good French baked goods there too.

    • says

      Hi Greg… French baked goods? Well, one or two :D But in all seriousness… I get really sick of the ridiculously rich, overly complex, artsy cakes and pastries they have here. Sometimes I just want a big slice of chocolate pistachio fudge cake, or a pecan caramel slice. Good luck finding those in a French bakery :D

  12. says

    This looks amazing. I love aubergines and lasagne so I will definitely love this. Must try it soon. It’s perfect for winter months. Have a great weekend too and I hope you get to your American cafe and cake shop :)

  13. says

    I hate eggplants. Yes, I said it charles…. That’s why when you wrote “It’s time to grow up” it hit me right on the nail! I guess i should give them a second chance… I don’t want to, but i should…..

    • says

      Nooooooo Jesica – you’re not allowed to hate eggplant! They’re so good! When was the last time you tried them? I love them deep-fried in oil with some garlic so they’re golden and crispy on the outside… too delicious, but I can understand they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. I hope you can bring yourself to give them another chance some day!

  14. says

    Wow, I love this…!! Actually I have made aubergine lasagna in the past when I was trying to eat more Atkins-style – which didn’t last very long because I love my carb too much…;)!! The bottom picture looks almost like a grilled sandwich – I’d love it either way, both lasagna or grilled sandwich :).

    • says

      Haha, CG, well, I guess a couple of slabs of bread around the “lasagna” wouldn’t detract from the overall enjoyment at all. Grilled sandwich here we come :D

  15. says

    Oh, that traffic jam! How hideous. Just before Christmas I went to the ballet with my mother and we parked in the Sydney Opera House carpark (which costs an arm and a leg) and after the ballet we returned to our car and we couldn’t move and didn’t move for 40 minutes. We were down on level five and by the time we finally got out of there we’d been stuck for an hour and ten minutes. Problem: only 2 of the 3 exits were operating. We both said we should have gone out for dinner after the ballet and had a wonderful dinner overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge instead of being stuck underground. And your recipe looks fabulous and great for the gluten free out there who can’t eat pasta but love lasagne!

    • says

      Hi Hotly Spiced – thanks for dropping by! That sounds terrible – being stuck underground in a parking lot for so long!! When I see people sitting queues for so long I wonder why more people don’t do what we did that night. The road where I was is right next to a large shopping mall and the car-park there was almost empty. There were plenty of spaces all over and we just drove up the road and pulled in there and then walked back in the crispy evening air. Had a nice cup of coffee and then dinner. By the time we were done almost everyone had gone and we could drive freely home… that’s the way to do it :)

      Hope you give the lasagna a try! Have a good day!

  16. says

    Charles, this looks scrummy! I often make pasta-less “pasta” dishes because I tend to eat waaaaaay too much pasta! Aubergines pair perfectly with all the traditional Italian flavors, don’t they? I like to make dishes like this a day ahead because, as you say, it will even improve if left.

    • says

      Hi Jean – both my wife and I have big weaknesses with pasta – it’s WAY too easy to just over-eat on it… you can just go on and on and suddenly realise that you’ve put away 2 portions… oops :D Removing the pasta is at least a good way to avoid that ;)

    • says

      Thanks Karen – I love the stuff too… it’s so good… creamy, smooth inside, slightly chewy skin… yummy! Hope you’re having a relaxing Sunday!

  17. says

    That Lasagna Linda posted was absolutely delicious.. and now you’ve gone and given me another option for this recipe :). Thank you. I love how it’s pasta less and I love how ooey gooey it looks. I do realize that’s not a word, but I couldn’t help it. This looks good

  18. says

    ooh i love this! when it’s summer i go crazy for aubergine (and courgettes and peppers and tomatoes. all the things in a ratatouille make me very happy). the aubergine makes lasagne less rich and sinful for sure, kind of reminds me of a greek moussaka at the same time! yum, could definitely go for this right now. and yes, i did just have lunch.

    • says

      Hi Shuhan! Mmm, I haven’t had ratatouille in *ages*. You can’t beat that in the summer sun. Sopping up the oily sauce with some crusty bread… yummy. Must put that on my list of things to make for summer :)

      It’s quite a lot like a moussaka, indeed, though the beef isn’t spiced. Hope you decide to give it a try :) Have a good Monday tomorrow! :)

  19. says

    Nooooo I’m allergic to eggplants! Strange, right? I didn’t know people could be allergic to plants. But every time I eat eggplant, my throat swells up. Even so, this aubergine lasagna looks and sounds (it’s that French getting to me) delicious!

    • says

      Oh noes! :( That sucks… you know what though, I ate an aubergine once which was……. really weird. Maybe it was under-ripe or something… it seemed fine though, and when I cooked it it made my mouth feel really strange. Dry and tingly. Maybe it was a slight reaction to the stuff inside aubergine which causes the stronger reaction in you. It’s too bad though. They’re so glossy and delicious when roasted or fried :( Oh well – it’s not like it’s a “bad thing” if you replace the aubergine with pasta (yummy) :D

  20. says

    Dear Charles,

    I can go on without carbs unless it’s like my fave pasta sauce or recipe. I think eggplant / aubergine is such an underrated ingredient when it can actually taste so nice with so many different recipes and using them in lasagna is great because they will soak up that beautiful sauce like a sponge. Well done!

    • says

      Hi Chopinand – I totally agree – I wish I had easy access to the kind of aubergines which are used more regularly in asian cookery – the smaller ones which are quite strong purple. Still, they have white and speckled ones in my store sometimes, so I’ll try those too, although to be honest I guess they’re identical to regular ones!

      Hope you had a good weekend :)

  21. says

    This looks great!
    Lasagna is one of the things that I used to cook a lot, but it’s so deeply unhealthy that I can’t even start thinking about it right now.
    This looks so tasty and still no pasta – will definitely try it! Thanks for the idea )

      • says

        Moussaka… I just love Moussaka, though I must admit that my experience with it is mostly limited by M&S precooked dish, but anyway. Could we go to the Greek restaurant instead maybe? Maybe just consider it! I’ve never been to a Greek restaurant, will you let me die without it? )

        • says

          lol – I didn’t have Greek food in ages actually… I’m sure we can find a place in Paris when you come on over. I wonder if the plate-smashing place is still open :D

    • says

      :o Oh my – you’re missing out. A good lasagna is a life-changing experience Kiran :D If you’re not such a fan of layered pasta and meat then fair enough though – Aubergine makes a wonderful alternative!

  22. Stefanie says

    This looks absolutely amazing. Already bookmarked, and now I just need to make sure I have the ingredients! I do have eggplant already, so hopefully I can try this soon! Thanks for sharing!

  23. says

    What a gorgeous, healthy recipe! I have to try this! I’m going to be posting a recipe called “Lasagna-style stuffed spaghetti squash” in a couple weeks. Substituting squash for noodles is an awesome idea. Have you ever made zucchini “spaghetti” noodles? :)

    ~Melissa

    • says

      Hi Melissa – looking forward to reading your post. I *tried* to make squash spaghetti one day… I roasted the squash, tried to fork it into noodles and ended up with mush. It was at this point that I realised that you have to actually use a special squash, called “spaghetti squash” (yeah, I’m that dumb!), so to answer you – yep, I’ve tried, and yep – I’ve failed miserable :D

  24. says

    ah, but you realized your mistake. The spaghetti squash makes all the difference :) It’s actually like noodles! So cool. I bet you’ll love it. The zucchini “spaghetti” takes a little practice, but that’s darn good too. Your eggplant lasagna looks incredible.

    • says

      Yeah – I realised as soon as it turned to smush under my fork :D Problem is, spaghetti squashes are very rare here… I never saw one tbh. I was able to get a patty pan squash a few months ago. That was a lot of fun… like a big flying saucer :D

  25. says

    I still haven’t made lasagna yet, but after reading this post, I think I might actually prefer eggplant lasagna as I love eggplant to begin with. The texture is amazing and it will go well with the meat. I love this recipe!

    • says

      :o Hi Nami, I can’t believe you never made it! You just gotta give it a try :) Let me know if you’re able to get around to trying it… I’d love to know :)

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