I mentioned it last week, but this recipe was one of our favorites during our no-meat Lent. Of course, it would also be delicious with a meat sauce in place of the marinara, so feel free to add the meat in--just keep the veggies, too!
Serves 6-12, depending on your serving sizes. I like a small serving (1/12 of a casserole) for lunch, but for dinner I might eat two of those or serve a salad on the side.
- 1 large or 2 small eggplants
- 2 large or 3 medium zucchini
- Salt, pepper, and olive oil, to taste
- 12-18 ounces fresh spinach
- 1 egg
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 16 ounces mozzarella cheese (the “log” form is ideal)
- 10 whole wheat lasagna noodles
- 3 cups of your favorite marinara sauce
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Fill up a large, shallow bowl or casserole dish with very warm water and place the noodles in the water. Let them sit for about 20 minutes while you prep the rest (this way they won’t get soggy in the lasagna).
Meanwhile, slice your zucchini crosswise (about ½-inch slices), and slice your eggplant crosswise in ½-inch or ¾-inch slices. Spread the eggplant on a large baking sheet (or two), brush lightly with olive oil on both sides, sprinkle with salt and pepper (to taste), and roast at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned but not soggy.
While the eggplant roasts, toss your zucchini with olive oil, salt, and pepper (I placed the slices in a Ziploc and shook the whole thing up), then spread on another baking sheet. (To reduce dishes, you can wait until the eggplant is done and then use the same sheet, but I like to let the eggplant cool on its baking sheet to avoid it getting soggy.) Roast the zucchini for about 5-7 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Next up: wilt the spinach. This step is super simple. Just throw the spinach by big handfuls into a large pan over medium heat, tossing occasionally until wilted. Keep adding more spinach as it cooks down. Let cool slightly.
Then mix up your ricotta mixture. Throw the ricotta, egg, and spinach into a medium bowl, mix well, and set aside.
Now it’s time to assemble! Be sure to grate your mozzarella if needed, then grease your 9x13 casserole dish with olive oil. For the layers, bottom to top:
- 1/2 cup (approx.) of marinara on the bottom of the dish, spread evenly
- Layer of half the eggplant slices (can be slightly overlapping, and some parts may not be covered)
- Layer of half the zucchini slices
- Layer of 5 noodles (feel free to break some up as necessary; no one will notice)
- Layer of half the ricotta/spinach mixture
- Layer of half the mozzarella
- Layer of about 1 cup of marinara sauce
- Then repeat: rest of the eggplant, rest of the zucchini, 5 more noodles, rest of the ricotta
- Last step: spread the last of the marinara over the ricotta, then sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella on top!
You can freeze at this point, save for the next day in the fridge, or cook right away. Bake covered for 15-20 minutes, then remove the foil/lid for about 15-20 minutes. For an extra treat, broil the lasagna for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
I recommend a great red wine with this dish, and of course a delicious Caesar salad on the side wouldn’t hurt!