Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Eggplant and Three Peppers Lasagna
My take on Carol's eggplant lasagna uses thin slices of the purple fruit (vegetable?), about 1/4-inch thick (peeled - my preference), cut in long strips like lasagna noodles and roasted in a fairly hot oven for about 15 minutes. It's layered with a pepper and tomato puree, sliced tomatoes, and colorful cooked pepper strips. Italian seasoning is sprinkled over all and topped with ricotta and mozzarella -- both nonfat -- and then another layer of the whole thing all over again. It's incredibly low-fat and low-calorie, but scores high marks in its pretty presentation and deliciousness!
EGGPLANT AND THREE PEPPERS LASAGNA
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray
Spray 8" square pan with cooking spray
1 large or 2 small eggplants, peeled, and cut in 1/4-inch slices lengthwise (like lasagna noodles)
salt and pepper
minced garlic - about 2 cloves
1/2 cup chopped onion (I like Vidalia)
1 each: red pepper, yellow pepper, orange pepper, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced in 1/4-inch slices, placed on layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture (Carol says this step helps to avoid a watery lasagna.)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup non-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup non-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Place eggplant slices on prepared cookie sheet. Spray tops with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and a little bit of onion powder. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
While eggplant slices are baking, sauté pepper strips with chopped onion in a skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil and a few tablespoons of water. Add minced garlic. After about 10 minutes, when soft, add drained diced tomatoes and cook until hot and bubbly. Take half the peppers/tomato mixture and puree in blender. (I used a Magic Bullet). This will be the sauce for the lasagna. Reserve the rest of the peppers and diced tomatoes for layering.
Cover the bottom of the 8x8-inch pan with half the eggplant "noodles." Spread sauce over the eggplant (not too much, just cover). Layer half the tomato slices over sauce. Add a layer of peppers/tomatoes from the reserved cooked peppers mixture, draining well with a slotted spoon or strainer before adding. Sprinkle well with Italian seasoning. Add half of the ricotta cheese, dropping by spoonfuls over the peppers, and spreading a bit. Sprinkle half the mozzarella cheese over the layers. Repeat this layering one more time: eggplant, sauce, tomato slices, peppers and diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, ricotta, mozzarella. After the last layer of mozzarella, sprinkle grated Parmesan and a little bit of Italian seasoning. Remaining sauce can be reserved and heated up when you serve the lasagna.
Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until cheese is melted and begins to brown a tiny bit, and lasagna is bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 30 minutes before cutting. If it seems a little watery around the outside edges of the pan, use a folded paper towel to absorb excess moisture. (I had to do this, but it worked well.)
It takes a little bit of time, but this recipe is so low fat, so low in calories (half the whole thing is only about 350 calories!), and so delicious - well worth the time and effort!
Bonus shot: My grandsons Peter (almost 3) and Henry (5) enjoying a beautiful fall morning!