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Eggplant and zucchini lasagna, a vegetable-based, noodle-free lasagna with the simplest ingredients. Roasted eggplant & zucchini, rich tomato sauce, Italian cheese blend, and lots of fresh herbs. It’s healthy and versatile, rich in flavor, and easy to make.
A hearty, delicious way to get your daily intake of healthy vegetables, eggplant, and zucchini lasagna is a healthier nutritious alternative to the traditional meat and noodles variety. For those seeking a dish that’s vegetarian-friendly, low-carb, and even gluten-free (sans the breadcrumbs), this vegetable and cheese creation is sure to hit all the right notes.
- 1 large or 2 medium eggplants
- 2 large or 3 medium zucchinis
- 4 Tbsp olive oil extra virgin, divided
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes canned
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup firm mozzarella cheese grated
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated
- ½ cup basil pesto
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika powder
- ½ tsp oregano
- Handful fresh basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 420⁰F.
- Slice eggplant into ¼ inch wedges, sprinkle with coarse salt, and rest for 10 minutes.
- Gently shake off excess salt and pat eggplant slices with paper toweling.
- Place eggplant on a baking sheet, brush with half the olive oil, and sprinkle with black pepper.
- Fill the spaces between the eggplant slices with the cherry tomatoes.
- Place eggplant and tomatoes in the oven on the lower rack for around 12 minutes.
- Slice the zucchini into ¼ inch wedges.
- Turn over the eggplant slices over and bake for another 12 minutes. Place the zucchini on a greased baking sheet in the oven, on the upper rack.
- After the 12 minutes has expired, remove both racks from the oven and set them aside.
- Combine pesto, ricotta, and oregano in a bowl.
- Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or wipe with cooking oil.
- Randomly arrange half the eggplant and zucchini slices in a single layer in the baking dish, ensure the layer covers the entire bottom of the dish.
- Spread half the roasted cherry tomatoes over the top of the first layer.
- Sprinkle half the ricotta and pesto mix on next.
- Repeat the layering process with the eggplant/zucchini, tomatoes, and ricotta mix.
- Mix the mozzarella and parmesan and scatter on top of the vegetable layers.
- In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and the remaining olive oil until well mixed.
- Scatter the panko mix over the top of the mozzarella, and lastly, sprinkle with the smoked paprika to add a bit of color.
- Place the prepared dish into the preheated oven and bake for around 25 minutes or until the mozzarella starts to bubble and brown slightly.
- Remove the lasagna from the oven, garnish with the basil, and rest for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Notes & Tips
- To avoid a watery dish, use a firm mozzarella, the type used for pizzas rather than the brined buffalo type mozzarella. Also, ricotta can often be very watery. Strain through cheesecloth before mixing with the pesto, remembering that the pesto will ultimately also add moisture to the dish.
- When buying your eggplant, ensure it’s firm and smooth to the touch. Eggplants like avocados tend to brown and go off fairly quickly, so ensure you buy fresh and use them immediately.
- Panko breadcrumbs are not always readily available in the average grocer or supermarket. Although not ideal, you may use the finer standard variety of breadcrumbs or even crushed cornflakes instead — the idea is to achieve a toasted texture to the top of the dish. Breadcrumbs absorb all the delicious juices and add bulk to your dish. Leave out the breadcrumbs for a gluten-free option.
- Add some frozen chopped spinach into the ricotta mix for an extra serving of vegetables, or fry up some sliced mushrooms instead. The options are limitless with this versatile dish. Feel free to experiment.
Can I Substitute Any Of The Cheese?
Ricotta is a great addition and gives this dish its intense creaminess. If you can’t get hold of it or don’t like ricotta, you can use coarse cottage cheese or goat’s cheese instead. Or leave it out altogether.
The mozzarella can be easily substituted with provolone which is very similar in taste and texture. Try a gouda or white cheddar if you prefer. A smoky variety could add an interesting smoky depth to your dish.
The parmesan can be easily replaced with a Grana Padano, pecorino romano, or any hard cheese that should be fairly easy to find in the store.
Do I Need To Pre-Roast The Eggplant?
Although a fast-cooking vegetable, roasting the eggplant before layering allows the moisture accumulated from salting to evaporate and gives this wonderful vegetable its smoky, caramelized texture and flavor. Keep the skin on the eggplant for an extra chewy texture.
Can I Prepare This Dish Ahead Of Time?
You can happily prepare and roast the vegetables a day or so ahead of time. The same applies to the ricotta and pesto mixture. Store them in individual containers in the refrigerator and allow them to return to room temperature before baking in the oven.
Does This Dish Do Well In The Freezer?
Although the eggplant can get a little watery in the freezer, it is not a train smash to do so. This dish does freeze well for up to three months. Just remember to store in an airtight freeze friendly container.
Haul it straight out of the freezer and pop into a preheated oven at 350F or microwave for a few minutes until it’s thoroughly heated through. If you’re planning on eating the leftovers soon, then store them in a container in the fridge. It can last up to four days in the refrigerator.