There are a lot of recipes for low-carb lasagna out there. Most of them involve doing something labor-intensive to slices of eggplant or zucchini. Sure, a breaded and fried eggplant parm can be a wonderful thing, but I’m just looking for a low-carb alternative to lasagna noodles. Armed with a new mandolin slicer, I decided to make a direct substitution of eggplant slices for noodles.
Building from my regular lasagna recipe, I endeavored to make a low carb alternative. Because I was also making meatballs to accompany this dish, I did not put meat in the lasagna. Adding meat to this dish would be as easy as browning a pound of ground meat and mixing it in with the sauce before layering. Also, I didn’t have ricotta on hand, so I substituted goat cheese.
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3-4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 (6oz) can of tomato paste
6 oz of beer or red wine
salt and pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
fresh basil and parsley, to taste
4 oz. goat cheese or ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
one medium to large eggplant
1-2 cups shredded mozzerella or Italian cheese blend
Preheat oven to 300. Saute the onions and garlic in the melted butter in a medium saucepan until onions are softened. Add chopped tomatoes, paste, booze, salt, pepper. Cook until tomatoes break down. Add fresh herbs and cook until wilted in the sauce. Process with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Cook the sauce down so it’s thicker than an ordinary pasta sauce. A thicker sauce (i.e. less liquid) is necessary in this recipe to offset the liquid that the eggplant will release as it bakes.
If you want to add one pound ground meat, do so now. I recommend browning the meat first in a separate skillet before adding to the red sauce.
Meanwhile, combine the goat cheese (or ricotta), the egg, the parmesan and the sour cream in a separate bowl. If using goat cheese, a fork or whisk will help break up the cheese. Beat or whisk until as smooth as possible.
Quarter the eggplant lengthwise. Slice thin with a mandolin slicer. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9×9 square pan. Put down the first layer of eggplant slices. Spread with a layer of cheese mixture and then another layer of sauce. Repeat layering: eggplant (I like to alternate each layer crosswise), cheese, sauce. Finish with a layer of eggplant and sauce.
Bake at 300 for one hour. Add shredded cheese and bake for another 45 minutes. The long and slow baking time helps to get rid of excess liquid without burning the contents of your casserole. If your oven runs hot, you may even want to try 250.
This recipe turned out quite tasty, indeed. The eggplant was soft, but sturdy, like a noodle, and the layers held together quite well. The goat cheese as ricotta substitute worked out quite well and makes me think I’d like to try it in a regular lasagna as well. This recipe also makes me curious to try other vegetables as noodle substitutes, perhaps zucchini or some kind of squash or sweet potato.