Try using roasted zucchini and Japanese eggplant to replace the noodles in this vegetable-loaded and gluten-free recipe for vegetarian zucchini and eggplant lasagna.
Oh do I love this vegetable loaded lasagna. It’s the vegetarian lasagna or vegetarian parmesan or casserole of my dreams. It uses vegetables to mimic the layers of lasagna (which means no noodles for an easy gluten-free verion).
A simple marinara sauce and just enough cheese to be decadent but not sleep-inducing.
What kind of vegetables should I use in a vegetarian lasagna?
If you’re wondering what kinds of vegetables to put in a vegetable lasagna, I started by looking at vegetables with shapes that mimic the shape of lasagna noodles. Zucchini and Japanese eggplant were where I landed.
When you thinly slice these veggies, they work the way noodles do in a traditional lasagna.
I like to use Japanese eggplant (as opposed to regular eggplant) because they are more similarly shaped to zucchini, meaning they will fit well into the dish and cook in the same amount of time.
When buying produce for this recipe, try to buy similar sized Japanese eggplants and zucchini to ensure they cook in the same time and you get the same amount of slices out of each vegetable.
The sauce in this lasagna is a simple marinara sauce (I like make my 20-minute marinara sauce), then I dot the layers with ricotta cheese which replaces a bechamel in this recipe. Using ricotta in place of a bechamel takes out a lot of the work that makes cooking lasagna somewhat laborious.
The final layer gets sprinkled with mozzarella cheese so you’ll still have that bubbly, melted cheese on top.
This recipe requires a couple of steps, but it’s all worth it in the end, I promise.
Why do you roast the zucchini and eggplant before making the lasagna?
The first step is to roast the zucchini and eggplant before assembling the lasagna because this ensures the vegetables cook properly and don’t release too much liquid into the dish.
Zucchini and eggplant are both very watery vegetables, so roasting them first will allow them to release some liquid while they cook.
Roasting the vegetables ahead of time also allows them a chance to caramelize which deepens the flavours of the dish. It’s a win, win!
I love to serve this with a big chunk of crusty bread to soak up all of the delicious leftover marinara sauce at the end.
Vegetarian Zucchini and Eggplant Lasagna
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 medium zucchinis, sliced lengthwise in 1/4″ slices
- 3 Japanese eggplants, sliced lengthwise in 1/4″ slices
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/4 cups marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 425F. Toss zucchini and eggplant with olive oil, and salt. Arrange on two baking sheets, roast in the top and bottom thirds of the oven for 10 minutes switching sheets halfway through. Let cool until safe to handle.
- Spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of an 8×8″ baking dish. Top with 4 slices of eggplant, followed by 1/4 cup of marinara sauce, dot with ricotta cheese, layer 4 zucchini slices crosswise on top of eggplant, top with 1/4 cup marinara sauce and dot with ricotta cheese. Repeat with remaining layers, finishing with zucchini, 1/4 cup marinara sauce and 1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese.
- Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes, sprinkle with fresh basil and cut into 6 slices.
Let me know if you give this zucchini and eggplant lasagna a try!