It’s a common refrain. There are nights when I have neither the time nor the energy to spend hours in the kitchen, chopping and stirring. This vegetarian eggplant lasagna is for those nights.
The recipe takes all of the components of a vegetarian lasagna – vegetables, tomato sauce, lasagne noodles, and cheese – and quickly builds one layer upon the other. All in one skillet. All on the stovetop. And, if you ignore the salting/sweating, all in well under an hour of mostly hands-off time to make a salad, help with a kid’s homework, or just sit down and have a glass of wine.
This recipe is a variation on the skillet lasagna from the America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook. It is so simple that it makes my eggplant casserole recipe (a simplification of eggplant parmigiana) look fussy.
And it’s so obvious a concept that I can’t believe I’ve never made dinner this way until now. You can expect additional variations and flavor combinations in the weeks to come.
FAQs about this vegetarian eggplant lasagna recipe
That’s a great question. “Lasagna” is singular, and “lasagne” is plural (from the Latin word lasanum meaning “a cooking pot”). “Lasagne” is used when talking about the noodles. When talking about the casserole, U.S. convention uses “lasagna,” whereas “lasagne” is used elsewhere.
Smaller eggplants are better because they are less likely to be bitter. Pick an eggplant with smooth skin, is slightly firm, and feels relatively heavier.
Yes, lasagna freezes very well. It just won’t be as pretty. Reheat it in a microwave or in a casserole pan in the oven, with a little bit of water at the bottom and covered with foil.
It’s not 100% essential, but salting and sweating the eggplant does decrease the amount of oil that the eggplant takes up, resulting in an improved final texture. Better if you have a finicky eater in your family.
Of course. Mushrooms would seem an obvious substitution, but please feel free to use whatever vegetables you have on hand. And let me know what you’ve created!
One pan vegetarian eggplant lasagna
- 2 medium Japanese eggplants or one small globe eggplant, roughly chopped into ~1/2" pieces (no need to peel)
- salt for sweating and to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup yellow or white onion, chopped fine
- 2 cloves garlic
- 10-12 Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 28 oz can chopped tomatoes
- ¼ cup homemade or store bought tomato sauce
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 12 no-boil lasagne noodles, broken up roughly
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ lb fresh mozzarella, chopped
- 1 oz Parmesan, grated, plus more for topping
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- About 30-60 minutes before starting to cook, salt the chopped eggplant in a sieve, toss until covered, and let sit in the sink.2 medium Japanese eggplants or one small globe eggplant, roughly chopped into ~1/2" pieces (no need to peel), salt for sweating and to taste
- When ready to cook, rinse off the salt and pat some of the water off with a paper towel or kitchen towel. You can even get rid of a bit more of the water out by squeezing the eggplant gently (but there's no need to squeeze like you are making latkes).
- Using a large (12") skillet that has a lid, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat, and then cook the onion for about 5 minutes until starting to soften.1 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 cup yellow or white onion, chopped fine
- Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is starting to brown (about 5 minutes)
- Add the garlic and olives and cook, stirring, for one minute.2 cloves garlic, 10-12 Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
- Add the canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and red pepper flakes and stir to combine.28 oz can chopped tomatoes, 1/4 cup homemade or store bought tomato sauce, 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- Add the broken lasagne noodles as a top layer (do not stir them in), cover the pan, and let simmer with occasional bubbles for about 10 minutes.12 no-boil lasagne noodles, broken up roughly
- At about the 10 minute mark, stir in the noodles and continue to let the mixture cook, covered and at a simmer, for about another 10 minutes until the noodles are soft. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Add in salt and pepper to taste (I start with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper).salt and pepper to taste
- Remove from heat and stir in the chopped mozzarella and the Parmesan, reserving a tablespoon or two of the Parmesan for serving.1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, chopped, 1 oz Parmesan, grated, plus more for topping
- Add the ricotta in large (~2 tbsp) dollops around the pan, but don't stir in. Cover the pan and let it sit for 5 minutes.1 cup ricotta cheese
- Sprinkle with basil and Parmesan and admire your handiwork before serving.1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
If you make this one pan vegetarian eggplant lasagna or want to see more one pan, one pot, or sheetpan recipes, please comment here or share a pic with me on Instagram!