I remember the very first “paleo” dish I made around 3 years ago. I do! I remember it well, because it truly caught me by surprise. Until then, I was naïve — I had never considered a lasagna having anything other than layered noodles. The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind! Once you boot noodles to the curb, a whole world of more nutritious possibilities opens up for you.
My very first “paleo” dish was from the very talented Sarah Fragoso of Everyday Paleo. In her first book, also titled “Everyday Paleo” there was a recipe for “Hasta La Vista Pasta Lasagna.” Cute name — very serious lasagna! This lasagna is made with an incredible meat sauce and layered with strips of raw zucchini. After my taste buds were overwhelmed — I haven’t had a bite of wheat-noodle lasagna since. I don’t miss it.
You know what lots of veggies are good for? Slicing up and layering with meat, of course! Another option is butternut squash — that makes for a superb lasagna. Don’t believe me? Click here to drool.
Eggplant is another option. Eggplant lasagna is not unheard of, but it is commonly used as a meat substitute and layered with those same old boring noodles. We’re switching it up a bit and keeping our animal protein (because duh animal protein is awesome) and swapping out the standard noodles for eggplant. Interested?
- 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 medium-sized eggplants, sliced lengthwise
- 1 lb. ground mild Italian sausage, I use Mulay’s brand
- 2 shallots, minced & divided
- 4 garlic cloves, minced & divided
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- salt to your liking
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 4 oz. grassfed cheese, grated (I like Kerrygold or Rumiano)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- With one tablespoon of the olive oil, lightly brush each side of your sliced eggplant. Roast the eggplant slices on a baking sheet for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium. Add the Italian sausage along with half of the shallots and garlic. Continue to cook until sausage is browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
- By this time the eggplant slices should be done. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
- Time to make the sauce — in a medium saucepan heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the rest of the shallot and garlic until translucent and fragrant.
- Add the dried basil and oregano — and sauté another minute or so.
- Add in the tomato sauce. You can use some salt to your liking at this point. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer 10-15 minutes.
- Once the sauce is done, spoon a small amount onto the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. This will prevent the bottom layer of eggplant from sticking.
- Next, layer your ingredients — 1/2 the eggplant, 1/2 the sausage, 1/2 sauce, and then continue one more time — until all ingredients are used up.
- Sprinkle the top of your dish with the grated cheese.
- Bake in the 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the lasagna is heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.