Roasted Eggplant Lasagna

eggplantBake

I love Italian food and I’m a sucker for anything eggplant. The other day, my Swiss cousin said she making millefiore. I asked, “What’s that?” She explained it to me and my mouth just watered. We happened to be texting at midnight (which was about the time she was waking up) so I went to bed hungry. The next day, I ran to the grocery store and bought my ingredients for this tasty dish. I wish I could have eaten this for breakfast, but I waited till dinner before serving. And leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day!

She doesn’t put the ricotta-spinach layer so I couldn’t really call this millefiore. Instead, the best thing to call this dish is Roasted Eggplant Lasagna. No pasta, no flours, no sugar. It’s low-carb, gluten-free, wheat-free, vegetarian, and cheesy good! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

RECIPE

  • 2 large eggplant, sliced thinly (about 1/4″)
  • 1/2 bag of frozen chopped spinach (or use fresh spinach, chop first)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic
  • salt / pepper
  • 1 lb of ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1/2 c of grated parmesan and/or romano cheese
  • 1/2 grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 c spaghetti sauce (I used half a jar of Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil spaghetti sauce.)
  1. Preheat oven at 350*.
  2. Slice eggplant. and lay on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Salt eggplant and roast in oven till they turn brown. (About 15-20 min.) Set aside.
  3. While you are roasting your eggplant, you can sauté spinach with olive oil, garlic, chopped basil, salt and pepper. Let it cool. Then mix the spinach in with ricotta cheese, parmesan/ricota cheese and egg(s).
  4. Grease the bottom of an 8×8 square.
  5. Layer like a lasagna (eggplant, sauce, mozzarella, eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella, etc.
  6. Top with more tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake covered in foil for about 25 minutes. Remove the foil, and cook for another 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
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Cheesy Quinoa Salad

cheesyquinoaA few months ago, I went to an upscale deli and had this beautiful quinoa salad that was so delicious and flavorful. I didn’t know how to reciprocate it since I didn’t know all the ingredients used. But I decided to get creative and try to achieve something close. I call it Cheesy Quinoa Salad because, well, there’s cheese in it. Maybe I should have come up with a different name but, hey, my kids will eat anything that starts with “cheesy.”

This makes for a great gluten-free, vegetarian side dish with dinner or you can eat it by itself for lunch. Filling and tasty!

RECIPE

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of grilled asparagus, zucchini, steamed spinach (or whatever cooked veggies you may have)
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (Not the dry pre-grated that comes in a can but the one that comes fresh in a resealable bag or plastic tub. But you can really use any kind of cheese you prefer: Mozzarella, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, etc.)
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Cook your quinoa following the directions on the package. I cooked mine in my rice cooker using 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water.
  2. While that is cooking, grill or steam your vegetables, then rough chop them in to big bite size pieces. I like to see and bite into my veggies.
  3. After the quinoa is cooked, mix in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, the juice from the lemon, and salt & pepper. (You can add red pepper flakes if you want more heat!)
  4. Let the quinoa cool for about an hour, then add the Parmesan cheese.
  5. Add the tomatoes and stir.
  6. Add more olive oil, lemon juice, and salt & pepper depending on your taste.
  7. Serve as a side dish at room temp or cold.

Italian Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

ItalianStuffedSpagSquashThis hits the spot when you’re craving lasagna! Italian Stuffed Spaghetti Squash uses an alternate for pasta. And the best part is your kitchen smells so delicious –  like you’re baking a tray of your favorite Italian dish. Gluten-free and lower in carbs. So good!

RECIPE

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1/2 lb ground beef (or chicken, turkey, pork, etc.)
  • 1 tsp. of minced garlic
  •  1 jar of sugar-free spaghetti sauce of your choice (or make your own)
  • 1 tub of ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan or mozzarella cheese
  1. Cook your spaghetti squash per instruction on this link: click here.
  2. While that is cooking, make your meat sauce by first browning the meat and garlic, then adding the spaghetti sauce. Set aside.
  3. When your squash is done, cut it into two halves lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and fill each side half way with ricotta cheese, then top with meat sauce until it’s over-filled.
  4. Top with cheese and place under the broiler for about 5-10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
  5. Scoop out your servings and enjoy with a side of green salad!

Eggplant Parmesan

Are you missing breadcrumbs to coat your chicken or Eggplant Parmesan? Here’s what I do instead for a guilt-free, gluten-free, low-carb coating:

  • beat egg with about 1/8 cup of water in one pan
  • coarse almond meal and grated Parmesan cheese in another pan (ratio 1:1)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Dip the eggplant (or chicken) in the egg mixture.
  2. Coat the eggplant (or chicken) in the almond/cheese mixture.
  3. Either fry in oil or place on parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet and bake in the over at 350˚F, 15 minutes on each side.
  4. Serve with your favorite sauce and guilt-free pasta of your choice. (*I am eating brown rice spaghetti with my eggplant.)
  5. Top with mozzarella cheese.