According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the word lasagna comes from Latin meaning chamber pot or cooking pot. Interestingly, it is also thought to be derived from the Greek word, lasana meaning a trivet or stand for a pot.
But whatever the language, I’m sure you will agree, lasagna is a truly a sublime and comforting dish which has won the hearts and taste buds of food lovers all across the world!
Traditionally, lasagna is an oven-baked dish with sheets of fine pasta sheets provide the layers between the meat and béchamel sauce. This recipe calls for the earthy and evocative flavours of eggplant to form the layers which meld into the meat sauce, making it truly delicious!
You will note I’ve left out the béchamel sauce and depending upon your dietary preferences it can be replaced with grated parmesan cheese. So if you’re looking for a gluten-free, wheat-free and dairy-free alternative or just something a little lighter, this recipe is worth a try!
- 2 large eggplants
- 500g of minced beef or lamb
- 1 tin of whole tomatoes (or 2 cups of fresh chopped tomatoes)
- 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped
- 1/4 cup of olive oil or coconut
- several stalks of parsley and basil
- 1 tsp of oregano
- salt and pepper to season
- 1/3 cup of grated parmesan (optional)
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees
- Coat a deep sided baking dish with olive oil
- In a frying pan gently sauté onions in a drizzle of oil til translucent. Add in the garlic being careful not to over cook
- Add the mince and gently brown off, season with salt and pepper
- Pour in tomatoes and add in the oregano and stir through
- Allow the meat mix to gently simmer on a low heat til the liquid starts to reduce and thicken
- When ready add in fresh parsley and half of the basil (leaving the other half for the layers) and allow to cool off the heat
- Prepare eggplants by washing and pat dry with paper towel
- Cut the tops off the eggplant and place the cut side on a cutting board and carefully slice into 1-2 cm slices
- Heat oil in a fry pan and commence browning off each eggplant slice, you should be able to fix approx. 3 or 4 slices in a pan at once
- As the eggplant becomes golden, remove and place on a sheet of baking paper
- Start the assembly by starting with the base layer of meat, followed by a layer of eggplant upon which gets a grating of parmesan and a few basil leaves placed onto
- Continue layering until all ingredients have been used, the final layer should be eggplant with a final sprinkle of parmesan cheese and basil leaves
- Season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil and place in the oven for approx. 30 -40 mins or until golden brown