The inspiration for this Gluten Free Spinach Eggplant Lasagna as I have been talking about is my desire to recreate gluten recipes I have in the past. My previous version of VEGETABLE LASAGNA is amazing but it uses pasta noodles. So I decided to make a gluten free version that used no noodles at all. That’s right – it used no noodles at all. I substituted eggplant and zucchini as my noodle layers. This was an extremely satisfying dish. It was hearty. It was tasty.
One of the learning experiences that made this recipe so good was creating an unbelievable tasting marinara sauce. As a total aside, I sure like to use dramatic words – UNBELIEVABLE. l think those that do not know me, might find this hyperbole or even disingenuous. Those that know me, know I am over the top in my love of food and for all who create it. Just ask my wife – I am food 24/7. I just love all things food. I love learning about different foods, exploring different diets and trying to create new recipes.
The eggplant and zucchini were perfect substitutes for noodles. Each of these vegetables held up so well. I am not sure where I saw this tip but a very key learning step for this recipe was to salt the eggplant first. It was really important to take out some of the moisture from the eggplant. Without doing so, the lasagna would get soggy because the eggplant would release its moisture into the baking tray. The other neat thing about this recipe is my marinara sauce. Taking a technique from my Mexican sauce ideas, I sautéed onions and tomatoes with some garlic as the base of my sauce. I puréed the sauce, and then, added San Marzano tomatoes. The sauce had a deep rich flavor.
The cast of characters.
The pulling out of the liquid from the eggplant.
The sliced zucchini.
The sauce vegetables sautéing and puréed for the base of the sauce.
The building of the lasagna layers.
The Gluten Free Spinach Eggplant Lasagna plated.
Gluten Free Spinach Eggplant Lasagna
- 2 Whole Eggplants Cut lengthwise
- 2 Medium Zucchini Cut lengthwise
- 1 Carton Grape Tomatoes
- 1/2 Whole Yellow Onion diced
- 4 Cloves Garlic diced
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil divided
- 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 Tbsp Oregano
- 2 Tsp Black Pepper
- 28 Ounces San Marzano whole tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
- 16 Ounces Mozzarella shredded
- 8 Ounces Ricotta
In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the onions and soften. Next add the tomatoes and garlic and cook until the tomatoes begin to blister. With an immersion blender, puree the vegetables. Add the san marzano tomatoes and cook down for 10 minutes. Break up with a wooden spoon while cooking and continue to simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from the pan and add the second tbsp of olive oil. Add the spinach and cook until it wilts - season with salt and pepper as you cook. Once cooked let cool. Once cool, squeeze out the remaining water.
Layout the sliced eggplant and drizzle the Kosher salt on the slices pulling out the moisture.
In a 13" x 9" glass baking dish, begin layering the lasagna. Begin by putting the marinara sauce on the bottom. At this point, you can really layer in any order you want. I did 3 layers of eggplant and 2 layers of zucchini. Mix sauce between most layers and add cheese in most layers. Finish with an eggplant layer and top with cheese. I also should make clear that I seasoned each layer with spice as I layered the dish.
Add to a 450 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
One of my readers tried the recipe and shared a couple of suggestions I want to pass on. The biggest insight was that there was too much liquid. Both the eggplant and zucchini contain a lot of water. So they should both be salted to take out some of the moisture. We could also par bake each of these two vegetables for 15 minutes for the eggplant and 5 - 10 minutes for the zucchini which would also take out some of the water.