This recipe is a cross between eggplant Parmesan and lasagna, so it's pretty much one of the tastiest things ever. Roasted eggplant subs in for the noodles in a typical lasagna, which adds an extra step --but it's totally worth it! I've used ground turkey here, but you can definitely substitute in ground beef or meatloaf mix if you prefer, or even leave the meat out all together for a vegetarian version, since there's plenty of cheese for protein. Leftovers reheat just as well as traditional lasagna, so this is a good one to take in for lunch and be the envy of your office!
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 small bell pepper, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground turkey
15- ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
6 ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
A large bunch of fresh basil, divided
1 T dried oregano
3/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces fresh mozzarella or burrata, diced
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with foil. Spray with oil.
2. Arrange the eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheets. Spray with a light layer of oil, and sprinkle with a little salt. Roast 15 minutes, and then set aside.
3. Meanwhile, start on the turkey sauce. Heat a generous drizzle of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the bell pepper and garlic, and saute for another 3-4 minutes. Finally, add the turkey and cook until it is no longer pink.
4. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Mince about 8 basil leaves, and add them to the pot, along with the oregano, salt, and fennel seeds. Bring to a simmer, and simmer 10 minutes or so.
5. In a separate bowl, stir together the ricotta, egg, and Parmesan.
6. When the turkey sauce is done, remove from the heat and stir 1/2 cup into the ricotta mixture.
7. Assemble the lasagna. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with oil. Spread half the turkey sauce in the bottom of the dish. Top with half the eggplant slices, and then spread with half the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle half the diced mozzarella evenly on top. Then repeat the layers (meat sauce, eggplant, ricotta, fresh mozzarella).
8. Spray a piece of foil with oil, and cover the lasagna (foil side down). Bake 40 minutes. Remove the foil, and place the lasagna under the broiler until the cheese is golden and bubbly. The timing for this will depend on how hot your broiler is -- the original recipe suggests 5-10 minutes, but mine would have become blackened lasagna if I'd left it longer than a couple of minutes, so check early and often!
9. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.