The first lasagna recipe I published on this blog called for twenty ingredients. TWENTY! That is not a typo. (I'm embarrassed to even link to that recipe, oh how much I've learned since 2015!)
Lasagna is one of those things that just has a lot of components, but I was on a mission with this one: Simplify. Because some weeks, even just having twenty ingredients on your shopping list is stressful. Right??
This version has less than half that number of ingredients. That said, it still needs to bake for 50 minutes, so if you are trying to serve this on a weeknight, doing all the prep ahead of time will help you out.
This one is about the essentials:
- A good marinara sauce. I used store bought, but you can also use this 20-minute recipe. I'm all for homemade but some times you have to cut yourself a break!
- Ricotta cheese. Any excuse to use ricotta cheese is welcome, if you ask me. But it's also the creamy layer in lasagna, and arguably the best part.
- Mozzarella! You might be thinking, two different kinds of cheese? Yes! (And a third, if you keep reading). Mozzarella adds the gooey, stringy cheese texture to the top of the casserole. And that third cheese? Parmesan, which I mostly added for good measure, and also it's flavor.
- Meat. In this case, Italian Sausage. I love the flavor of hot Italian sausage, but you could easily use ground beef if you prefer. Many chefs choose to mix the two, in fact, but again simple was the name of the game here.
- Noodles -- but in this case, actually eggplant sliced thin and used in place of noodles. Eggplant goes so well with lasagna flavors. Bring on the veggies!
What is not essential to lasagna is the spinach layer, but I added it in because if I'm going to be cooking a lasagna, I may as well cover all of my bases instead of also making a side salad.
Serves: 8 | Active Time: 90 minutes
- Preheat oven to 450°F, and slice eggplants in thin, long strips — about 1/4-inch thick. Spread slices out in a single layer on a sheet pan, and brush with olive oil. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes, until eggplant begins to soften.
- Meanwhile, brown sausage in a skillet over medium heat. Once cooked, set aside.
- Place thawed spinach in a strainer, and squeeze out as much extra water as possible.
- Make the lasagna: spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 9x16-inch baking dish. Arrange half of the eggplant strips as “noodles” in a single layer. Spread ricotta cheese over eggplant, and then top with sausage crumbles. Next, spread the spinach in a layer. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over top, and then layer the remaining eggplant in a second layer. Top with another 1/2 cup of sauce, and then top with shredded mozzarella and 1/2 cup parmesan.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375°F, and bake lasagna covered for 25 minutes, and then uncovered for 25 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and then top with minced parsley. Slice and serve. Top with parmesan if desired.