Eggplant and Ricotta Lasagna
Serves 4 to 6
I love this dish because you can throw it together in no time using mostly what you already have in the pantry. Try to find the most gorgeous eggplant you can. You want shiny, vibrant purple and unblemished skin. Also, check around the stalks to see if they look fresh. This dish is better on the second day, so don’t fear if you have leftovers. I like to serve this simply with a good gluten-free roll or baguette to sop up all that sauce and goodness.
– Jilly Lagasse
- 2 large eggplants, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
- Salt of choice (I use kosher salt)
- Olive oil
- One 24-ounce jar of pasta sauce of choice (I like Emeril’s Home Style Marinara)
- Grated Parmesan
- Gluten-free rolls to serve, if desired (I love Schär's rolls)
- Fresh basil, optional
- Ricotta filling
- One 15-ounce container of low-fat ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Pinch of crushed red chili flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
To remove excess moisture from the eggplant requires salting and then baking it at high heat to remove as much excess moisture as we can before slow cooking.
Lay your eggplant rounds on 2 large baking sheets and generously salt both sides. Leave for 30 minutes, until the salt has drawn out some of the moisture. Rinse the rounds and pat until they are as dry as you can get them.
Heat your oven to 425° F.
Once the eggplant rounds are dry, brush them with a bit of olive oil on both sides and bake for 15 minutes. This also will draw out excess moisture and keep your lasagna from getting very watery in the slow cooker. If the excess liquid doesn’t bother you, feel free to skip the baking step.
After the 15 minutes set the eggplant aside, dabbing off any excess liquid.
Meanwhile, make the ricotta filling by combining all the ingredients together into a medium mixing bowl and mixing well.
To assemble: Place a spoonful of the pasta sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker and layer some eggplant rounds on top. Cover with a bit more sauce, ensuring the eggplant is covered and moist. Then add a dollop of the ricotta mixture and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese on top of each eggplant. Keep layering the lasagna like this until you have the last eggplant rounds on top. Top them with the remainder of the pasta sauce and a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan.
Place the slow cooker lid onto the pot and cook on high for 3 hours, until the eggplant is fork tender. Turn off the heat and allow to sit on warm for 30 minutes before serving.
Serve with a crusty gluten-free roll and a sprinkling of fresh basil or grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
Preparation time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 3 hours. Cooling time: 30 minutes.
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