A delicious lasagna of eggplant with fresh vegetables is always a go to for me. The preparation is always the biggest job, but once it's in the oven you can start enjoying aperitifs. It is one of the recipes from the early period of Gerechtenweb, the Dutch version of Surprising.Recipes. It first went online in June 2009. But so many years later, it remains a classic.
About eggplant lasagna with fresh vegetables
This is a lasagna without the classic lasagna sheets. In this version we actually replaced them with thinly sliced aubergine. This makes it low in carbohydrates and super healthy. It's not vegetarian, but you can easily omit the cooked ham. However, we are far removed from vegan because of the béchamel sauce with milk and cheese.
The eggplant gives off a lot of moisture. It is therefore advisable to cut the aubergine slices first. About half a centimeter (0,2 inch) thick. Then place them on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt. That will draw out the moisture.
The tomato sauce
You can flavor the tomato sauce to your own taste with additional vegetables and herbs. In the very first version I just used two cans of diced tomatoes that I seasoned with herbs.
These days I like to use extra vegetables to make the taste more complete. On the one hand, garlic, onion and a red chili pepper give the tomato sauce a lot more flavor. With the bell pepper and especially the carrots I create more bite, so that you still have something to chew on.
The béchamel sauce
The béchamel sauce is a classic cheese sauce. I usually use a mixture of Emmenthaler (or Gouda) and Parmesan. The latter brings extra depth to the taste. And I always like to add a good dash of nutmeg. But you can also just use salt and pepper.
Making and baking the lasagna
Now it's time to arrange everything in a greased baking dish. I always start with the eggplant. Then comes the tomato sauce. This way you are sure that the eggplant does not dry out. Finally, I layer the cooked ham and the béchamel sauce. Then you start the next round, until your dish is full and/or you run out of ingredients. Finally, I cut a ball of Mozzarella into pieces, which I put on top of the last layer of béchamel sauce. And then everything can go in the preheated oven. And you can start the aperitif in the sofa!
Is it lasagne or lasagna?
I always struggle with this question. Should we say and write lasagna, or lasagne? So I looked it up once and for all. In principle it does not matter much, because everyone understands what you mean. But still it is interesting to understand the difference. Lasagna is actually the singular, and lasagne is the plural. So it is one sheet of lasagna, but a lasagne normally consists of several layers of lasagna. So in this case lasagne is correct, because we always talk about several layers.
The usage is also regionally different. In North America, lasagna is more commonly used. Whereas in other English speaking regions the dish will rather be lasagne.
Is it aubergine or eggplant?
And we have a second grammatical issue. Is this delicious purple vegetable an eggplant or an aubergine? I looked it up for you, and for myself of course.
When you are talking about an eggplant or an aubergine, you mean exactly the same vegetable. Also in this case, there are regional differences in the usage. Aubergine is a french word, and was inherited to the British English. Whereas in North America eggplant is the more commonly used word.
- Differences between aubergine and eggplant (differencebetween.net).
- Aubergine vs. eggplant (bake it with love).
I am a huge fan of eggplants, aka aubergines. As mentioned in the beginning, I never need to be convinced to use them in a recipe. And eat them. So we have delicious recipe ideas here on surprising.recipes:
- Vegetarian eggplant con chili.
- Stuffed eggplant with minced poultry.
- Lebanese inspired makdous with ajvar.
- vegetarian eggplant burger with tomatoes.
- Greek moussaka.
I like to make oven dishes. As a rule, you do have some work with the preparation. But while everything is cooking in the oven, you can slowly start the aperitif. It's also easy when you have guests. You can usually do the preparation in advance. And then you don't have to be in the kitchen all the time. These are my best oven recipes that you should definitely make when you have visitors:
- Oven dish with chicory and leek.
- Yellow-green tortellini lasagne.
- Pork medallions wrapped in farm ham.
- Pangasius in tomato-saffron sauce.
If you speak Dutch, you can find the Dutch version of this recipe on gerechtenweb.blog.