I grew up in a household where we ate a variety of vegetables. Some of these vegetables were not even available in the normal American supermarkets and required us to visit specialty shops and Indian grocery stores. There are times when we would go to India and I was introduced to new vegetables I had never even seen before, but they were part of my parents’ childhood and upbringing.
My childhood was made up of dishes that were not simple to most but brought comfort to me. I grew up with Indian food at least four days a week, not the kind you’re imagining from the restaurant. Mostly vegetarian, lots of greens and lentils, usually vegan dishes. I remember one dish with little eggplants stuffed with a spiced mixture of desiccated coconut, peanuts, chickpea flour, and fresh cilantro. My mom or grandma would slow bake the dish all afternoon, and its aroma perfumed the entire house.
Eggplants always remind me of my childhood and take me back to those moments of comfort in the kitchen. Though this roasted eggplant lasagna stacks isn’t an Indian recipe we grew up with, the subtle earthy and sweet smell of roasted eggplants always reminds me of those precious moments I watched my mom and grandmother cook. This roasted eggplant lasagna stacks with mushroom bolognese is a fun and easy way to get lots of vegetables and enjoy a comforting meal.
Notes About the Recipe
- Breadcrumbs are a great garnish and topping to add on top of the roasted eggplant lasagna stacks! They’ll add a unique textural element.
- Feel free to go heavy with the sliced zucchini. The water from it will help cook the rest of the roasted eggplant.
- I make a double batch of the mushroom bolognese and freeze half of it to use for another recipe at a later date!
- If you’re not keen on the mushroom bolognese, then just follow the same recipe and omit the mushrooms.
- 2 large eggplants, thicky sliced
- 1 courgette, thinly sliced
- salt and pepper
- extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup ricotta
- zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup parmesan reggiano
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 celery stick, chopped
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- ¼ cup marsala wine
- 1 tbs dried Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1½ cup chestnut mushroom, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400F. On a prepared baking sheet, place the eggplant slices and brush with olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes then set aside.
For the ricotta filling, remove the excess water from the ricotta. It doesn’t have to be perfect as the water will help cook the aubergine the rest of the way. Combine the rictotta, lemon zest, parsley, parmesan reggiano, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.
For the mushroom bolognese, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the tomato paste and continue stirring for 3 minutes until the oil separates. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the Italian seasoning and fennel seeds. Let the mixture simmer, stirring occassionally and scraping up the bottom for 10 minutes. Then increase the heat to medium-high and deglaze the pan with marsala wine. After the mixture reduces by half, toss in the mushrooms, season with additional black pepper, and saute for 8 minutes. As the moisture from the mushrooms decrease, add the tomato sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover, simmer for 20 minutes.
To assemble, in a prepared baking dish add a few tablespoons of the bolognese to the bottom of the baking dish and spready evenly. Make stacks of the roasted eggplant, ricotta, then zucchini, then sauce. Repeat until you have an eggplan on top. This should make about 8 stacks of 2 layers. Bake for 20 minutes and serve!