Saturday, February 19, 2011

Roasted Eggplant Lasagna

A good friend shared one of her favorite recipes with me. Roasted eggplant lasagna is a delicious and hearty meal that I find to be very satisfying.  Nutritionally, it's great -- almost no fat, loaded with tomato-ey goodness, and layered, like traditional lasagna, with cheeses.  A hefty serving of this dish is very low in Weight Watchers points (I'm currently following Weight Watchers Point Plus program on-line).  Forget that it's wonderfully healthy, forget that it's low in points.  Savor the delicous goodness and warm aromas that fill the kitchen.  What follows is my take on the recipe.  I've adjusted it here and there for family preferences.  You can customize this recipe any way you like -- add crumbled chicken sausage or mushrooms, or a variety of vegetables sauteed until soft in just a little oil and some water or chicken stock.  If you aren't counting points, use whatever cheeses you like.  Make it your own, and you'll be making it again!

Roasted Eggplant Lasagna

Prepare two cookie sheets and a rectangular baking dish (about a 9x13) - spray with vegetable spray

2 medium-sized eggplant (peeled or not - your preference.  I prefer peeled)
1 cup tomato sauce (I use Classico's roasted garlic version - very low in sugars and fat)
3-4 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 pint non-fat ricotta cheese (I like a cheesey lasagna)
1 egg white
salt and pepper
Italian seasoning
garlic powder
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese  (I use fat-free; low-fat is fine)
grated or shredded parmesan or parmesan and romano cheese - a few tablespoons.

First, cut the eggplant lengthwise into thin slices, between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick.  These will be the lasagna "noodles."  Place eggplant slices on prepared cookie sheets, spray tops lightly with vegetable spray, sprinkle with salt and pepper,  and bake at 425 degrees Farenheit for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven.

Mix ricotta cheese with egg white, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and a 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp. of Italian seasoning.

Assemble lasagna.
Put about 1/4 cup tomato sauce in the bottom of pan.  Spread to edges.  Add one layer of eggplant.  Spread tomato sauce over eggplant, just enough to coat.  Add 1/3 of the tomato slices and whatever additional vegetables you like.

Drop teaspoonfuls of 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture evenly over tomatoes. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese and lightly sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the parmesan/romano over the top.  This is your first layer.

Repeat layers with your ingredients (I got three layers) ending in mozzarella and parmesan/romano cheeses.  You may find you want to use more tomato sauce than the recipe calls for - that's up to you.

Bake at 350 degees (F) until hot and bubbly .  To brown the cheese a bit more, turn the broiler on for the last couple of minutes and watch carefully.  Remove just as the cheese begins to brown.  Let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting.

On Weight Watchers Point-Plus program, one fourth of my version of this recipe racks up just six points.  You can trim that considerably by using less cheese, but know that you will be very satisfied that you've had a great meal whether you are counting points or not!

Photo:  thanks to my friend C for the photo and the inspiration!

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