(714) 625-1847

Re-Imagining Your Vegetables : Starring the Versatile Eggplant

It’s eggplant season, if you’ve planted some in your garden, you’re probably getting your harvest now.  The markets have some beautiful ones available, if you didn’t plant any and your gardener friends aren’t sharing : ).

I love eggplant, and have memories and sometimes cravings for eggplant dishes my Mom made, such as her stuffed eggplant dish (I’ll save this recipe for next week’s blog).

My husband told me he wasn’t a fan of eggplant, but I believe I have converted him, especially with the Eggplant “Lasagna” I made for dinner last night.  Eggplants have a wonderfully meaty texture, making them great as lasagna noodle replacements.

Pondering what low carb entree to make for dinner last night, I had these two pretty eggplants I had picked up at the market, some ground turkey, leftover pesto sauce I’d made on the weekend, some homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella and oh, a handful of peppers a friend had given me from his garden ( a mixture of Santa Fe, Jalapeño and Banana peppers) and decided on lasagna.

Here’s a recipe that you can adapt according to what you have on hand ;

Eggplant Lasagna


  • 2 medium to large eggplants, sliced in 1/4″ slices (I cut mine horizontally, but you could cut them vertically for longer strips)
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • kosher or sea salt
  • 1 pound ground turkey or beef
  • 4 cups tomato sauce or combination of pesto sauce and tomato sauce, if you don’t have homemade, one of my favorite’s is Contadina Roma Style Tomato Sauce with Natural Sea Salt (it is lower in carbs and sugars than most on the market, and is delicious)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic grated or finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 – 8 oz. fresh mozzarella balls, sliced


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.   Line 2 cookie sheets with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray or rub a little olive oil over the foil.
  2. Toss your eggplant slices in a bowl with some of the olive oil, just enough to lightly coat them.  Place your eggplant slices on the sheets, spacing them out so that they are not overlapping (as you don’t want them to steam).  Sprinkle each slice with a little salt.  (If you have other vegetables, such as peppers, you wish to roast as well, toss them in oil, sprinkle with salt and add them to the pans, but make sure to keep an eye on them and remove once they have cooked, as eggplant may take longer to cook.)
  3. Put your trays in the middle and top shelves of your oven and put a timer on for 10 minutes.  At the 10 minute mark, turn the trays around and switch the shelves, so that your slices will cook evenly.  Set your timer for another 10 minutes.  After the 10 minutes, check to see if the slices are slightly brown and pierce with a fork to see if they are tender; if not, leave in the oven for another 5 minutes.  Cook until fork tender.


    Roasted eggplant slices

  4. Remove cooked eggplant from oven and let them cool.
  5. In a medium to large size pot, over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the butter.  Once the butter bubbles, add in the chopped onions, carrots and celery (this trio mixture is called “mirepoix” and is a great base to start stews, soups, sauces).  Stir the mirepoix and cook until the vegetables are soft and wilted, then add in the garlic and stir.  Cook for two minutes more.

    Mirepoix: onions, celery and carrots

  6. Next add in your ground meat, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper and cook, stirring with vegetables until fully cooked.
  7. Once the meat is cooked through, add in your tomato sauce, and if you have pesto sauce add that in too.  Stir in the sauce and turn heat down to low. Taste to see if you might want to add in more salt or pepper.  Also if you roasted other vegetables you can puree them or chopped them up finely and add to the sauce.  (I pureed my roasted pepper combination and added them to the sauce).  Let the sauce simmer for at least 30 minutes on low.   (In my version last night, I had about 1-1/2 cups of pesto sauce and 2-1/2 cups of tomato sauce, so  in my pictures the sauce looks a little greenish but was very delicious : ).
  8. While your sauce is simmering, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees, 15 minutes before you are ready to finish making your lasagna.
  9. In a rectangular oven-proof casserole dish, spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Spoon some of your sauce on the bottom, to cover the bottom and about half-inch deep. Then place eggplant slices over the sauce to cover the sauce.  The next layer are your mozzarella slices.  Then cover this with more meat sauce and repeat the layers, until either you have run out of ingredients or space in your dish.  The final top layer should be mozzarella slices.  Place uncovered in the top third of your oven and cook until your sauce is bubbling and the mozzarella has melted, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, serve and enjoy with a tossed salad.  Buon appetito!