Meatless meals. I love them, my husband, not so much. Well that’s really an understatement. He hates them. But this one, he loved.
I keep calling this a lasagna, yet I don’t know why, because there’s no pasta in it. But it does have layered things and mozzarella and Pecorino Romano cheese. Maybe it should be called a clean eggplant Parmigiano because the eggplant is neither breaded nor fried and there’s very little olive oil in it. No matter, this is really, really good. It’s fresh and bright tasting and the zucchini was still a little crisp with the crunchy goodness of the bread crumbs – this is my kind of dish!
Perhaps you could suggest some names for me?
So I made this a week ago last Wednesday. I really try to do one meatless meal a week and two fish nights and then chicken, pork or lamb. We rarely eat beef. How about you – what’s your meal make-up?
When I made this, I made a huge portion as you can see in the video – but that turned out to be a great benefit. Steve and I had it for dinner the night I made it and then I carefully saved the rest, lifting it out of the pan, keeping the breadcrumbs on top. We had one other portion as a side vegetable one night for another dinner and then I served it as a first course for dinner with our friends Margaret and Wayne, last Saturday. It was perfect, warmed up in the oven, flash broiled again to crisp up the breadcrumbs. It received rave reviews!! Really. (and they had no idea it was a leftover)
Here’s the recipe:
VEGETABLE LASAGNA WITH A SIDE OF PASTA
– serves 6 as a main course or 8 – 10 as a starter
3 small striped eggplants, washed, dried, sliced into 1/4″ – 3/8” rounds
2 zucchinis, washed, dried, sliced into 1/8″ rounds
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2.5 – 3 lbs. of fresh plum tomatoes, sliced into 1/4” rounds
7 cloves of garlic, minced
A handful of ramps, if you can find them or 1.5 Tbs. of fresh thyme leaves or whatever herb you like, chopped
1.5 Tbs. olive oil
1 scant cup of bread crumbs
3 Tbs. chopped parsley
3 Tbs. fresh grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 Tbs. olive oil
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Pour a little bit of peanut oil on a paper towel and wipe a rimmed baking sheet with it. Lay eggplant slices on top and season with fine grind sea salt and pepper. Roast on the bottom rack of your oven for 20 minutes. When done, remove slices with a thin metal spatula so the browned parts stay on the eggplant and not on the pan. Reduce oven heat to 350 – 375 degrees.
Meanwhile prepare the zucchinis, tomatoes, garlic and ramps or thyme. TIP: Slice your cheese while it’s cold as it’s easier that way. Then leave out to get to room temperature.
Slick a tiny bit of olive oil in the bottom and sides of a 9” x 13” Pyrex glass pan. Put in a layer of sliced tomatoes, Then a layer of roasted eggplant, then the minced garlic, mozzarella cheese and then zucchini. Grind some pepper on top. Drizzle on top 1.5 Tbs of olive oil, then the ramps or thyme, and then the final layer of tomatoes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 – 375 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes, until liquid is bubbly and the zucchini are fork tender.
Meanwhile, mix 2 tbs. olive oil with the breadcrumbs, parsley and grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Toss to combine in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Remove the aluminum foil and turn your broiler on. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the whole dish. Broil the dish to get the breadcrumbs crispy, about 2 – 3 minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn!
Let rest for 10 – 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!! I served this with a side of pasta with some garlic and parsley. Delish!!