Are you a seasonal cook – trying to use the fresh ingredients in the season in which they are their best? Summer is such a great fresh vegetable season and the farm markets are full of great local vegetables that ripened on the vine or stalk and were picked at the right stage for freshness. I try to stay local and seasonal when there are fresh ingredients being grown nearby to take advantage of, and it’s so easy to come up with great dishes. I made this roasted lasagna in a smaller portion for my husband an son, and then made a bigger version to bring to my mother in law’s for a family gathering. It’s deceitful, you think there’s meat and pasta, but there isn’t. The eggplant replaces the pasta, holding up really well and the crumbled goat cheese mixed with herbs almost give you the texture of crumbled meat and the creaminess of ricotta (which you could use instead) at the same time. Filling in with roasted tomatoes, onions and red peppers in between the layers bumps up the flavor.
Everything in this dish came from either the farm market, or the Market Bag that we get once a week. Even the sauce is local, because it’s my homemade sauce from last years farm market vegetables. I have a couple of jars left over from last year that we didn’t use up ( I hate emptying jars that I just put up, it feels as though my efforts to stock up were in vain when they disappear to early). I will warn you that the dish isn’t pretty when you cut into it because eggplant turns a brown color when heated. Eggplant can take the place of meat almost like a mushroom is able to or tofu can. It is very mild in taste and can take on the flavor of whatever you cook it in (or with).
When I was cooking in the square glass pan, I slice the eggplant across the width, but when I used a long ceramic pan, I sliced the eggplant down the length. Both times I scraped the skin off, because eggplant skin can be tough compared to the meat of the vegetable and I used a mandolin in order to get slices of uniform length and width. I brushed the eggplant slices with olive oil and placed on a cookie sheet to roast. I also sliced cherry tomatoes and other small tomatoes in half , de-seeded red peppers and threw slices of onion on other cookie sheets, brushed with oil and roasted them. Fresh herbs and garlic scapes were mixed together with fresh chevre and sprinkled on top, the cheese layer also had fresh mozzarella. You can use any sauce you like, but use lightly because veggies add a lot of liquid. If after you get the layers assembled you notice too much liquid around the edges, hold the layers in the pan and tip to let some out. That happened to me when I didn’t roast the veggies long enough, but didn’t harm the lasagna at all. Roasting the vegetables and then draining them before putting them in the lasagna pan will help.
So, no meat, no pasta, no frying – but pretty darn tasty. I received compliments and an empty pan as thanks for a good grub.
- 1 large eggplant or two smaller - peeled
- 2 large red peppers
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 16 oz chevre
- 1 tbs minced parsley
- 1 tbs minced basil
- 1 tbs minced garlic scapes
- 8 - 12 oz fresh mozzarella
- Spaghetti sauce
- Grated Parmesan
- Using a mandolin - slice wide strips down the length of the eggplant. Layer on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, flip over and brush the other side.
- Core the red peppers and slice open so that it lays flat. Brush both sides with olive oil and lay flat on another baking sheet.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and lay on baking sheet. Slice the onion and throw it on to the same pan with the tomatoes to roast.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and roast in a 250 oven until they seem tender and golden.
- Combine the herbs and cheese together evenly.
- Peel the skin off the pepper and slice the pepper into strips. Drain the tomatoes.
- Eggplant slices
- Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions in an even layer together
- Sprinkle the Herbed Chevre and a layer of Mozzarella.
- Grated Parmesan
- Repeat. (if you have enough ingredients repeat twice)
- The last layer should be:
- Roasted Veggies
- Herbed Chevre and Mozzarella
- Grate Parmesan over the top.
- Bake @375 for 20 -30 min pulling it out of the oven when it's hot and bubbling with a nice melted cheese crust on top.