Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, which also includes tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes. They grow in a manner much like tomatoes, hanging from the vines of a plant that grows several feet in height. While the different varieties do range slightly in taste and texture, one can generally describe the eggplant as having a pleasantly bitter taste and spongy texture. Eggplant is rich in phenolic antioxidant compounds that have been shown to protect cell membranes from damage.
We’ve enjoyed this recipe for lasagna where we’ve substituted eggplant for lasagna noodles. We hope you like it too!
1 small eggplant
¼ cup parsley
¼ cup parmesan cheese
½ cup mozzarella cheese or other variety
1-1/2 to 2 cups marinara sauce or pasta sauce
8 ounces cottage cheese or ricotta cheese (or 6 ounces of extra firm tofu)
1 egg (optional)
Salt and pepper
Slice eggplant into thin slices and bake for 15-20 minutes or until soft at 400 degrees F on baking sheet. Meanwhile, in a bowl mix cottage cheese, parsley, parmesan cheese, egg (if using) and salt and pepper. Prepare 1 cooking vessel by coating the inside with cooking spray or oil. Add ¼ cup of marinara sauce to the bottom. Begin layering layer eggplant, cottage cheese mixture, sauce, mozzarella cheese and repeat. Finishing with sauce and topping with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 1 to 1-1/2 hours – until heated through (cooking thermometer should read 165F). Allow to cool before serving.
If using tofu, open package and drain liquid. Allow to rest while eggplant is cooking in oven, to drain excess liquid. In a small bowl, crumble tofu then add parsley, parmesan cheese, egg (if using) and salt and pepper.
Tip: It is recommended to check the cooking vessel about 45 minutes or 1 hour into the cooking process. If there is condensation in the bag check the food. Let cooking vessel rest 2-3 minutes, then open jar and stir contents to check if done. If more time is needed, cook for an additional 10 -20 minutes then check again.