Eggplant Lasagna


I’ve been experimenting with Paleo lasagna for a while now, with varying success. Once upon a time lasagna was my favourite meal; with it delicious meaty sauce, tender pasta and creamy white sauce.

Eggplant makes a delicious substitute for the pasta layers. Texture and flavour wise, they’re completely different. Just as tasty, but different. The eggplant becomes silky smooth when sandwiched between layers of meat sauce, giving the dish an extra dimension of creaminess.

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I’ve used kangaroo mince in this dish. Kangaroo is a brilliant protein. Cattle farming can be extremely damaging to the environment, emitting huge levels of methane and causing significant soil degradation due to their hooves. Kangaroos however, with their soft feet and minimal methane emissions, are an environmentally sound alternative.

The meat tastes gamier than beef and can be a little strong if you’re not used to it. It’s naturally very low in fat, grass-fed and high in iron and protein. It’s readily available in Australia now at both Woolworths and Coles and quite affordable. This is a great recipe to try if you’re new to kangaroo meat as the sauce is rich enough in its own right to stand up against the game flavour.

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Of course, you can substitute kangaroo for beef if you prefer. But try to use grass-fed meat as it’s better for the environment and a lot healthier for you too.


 

Eggplant Lasagna

Serves 8

Ingredients

For the Meat Sauce

1 kg mined (ground) kangaroo or beef
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Himalayan rock or sea salt (or to taste)
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes (or a handful of fresh)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
700g Organic Passata*
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Coconut oil

For the Eggplant

2 eggplants
Coconut oil
Salt

For the Bechamel Sauce

2 tablespoons/15g tapioca/arrowroot starch
500ml/500g coconut milk
30g butter or ghee
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Method

Prepare the Meat Sauce

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan over medium/high heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic, stirring for 3 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  3. Add the meat, stir through onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until meat has browned.
  4. Add herbs and stir through.
  5. Add Passata and tomato paste
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 30min. While cooking, start preparing the bechamel sauce and eggplant.
  7. Add vinegar, stir and leave uncovered for 5 minutes before switching the stove top off.

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Prepare the Bechamel Sauce (White sauce)

Thermomix Method

  1. Place all ingredients into mixing bowl and cook 7 min/90C/speed 4

Stove Top Method

  1. In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter
  2. Add flour and whisk to combine, heating for 1 minute until we get a frothy white roux. Do not let the roux discolor
  3. Take saucepan off heat, add hot milk and whisk until flour is dissolved and is not clumpy. Add nutmeg.
  4. Return to heat and continue stirring until sauce is thick and bubble, about 2 minutes
  5. Season with salt and pepper

Prepare the Eggplant

While the White Sauce is cooking, prepare the eggplants.

Two methods to choose from, depending on your desired outcome/time. Both methods will result in a delicious dish but will have slightly different results. In Method 1, the eggplant wont become as silky as it will using Method 2, and will retain a little more firmness. This is good if you want better defined layers, but wont have the same creaminess in the end. See the photo at the bottom of the post for more detail. IMG_3797

Method 1: leave the eggplant raw, just sprinkle each slice with salt and leave to sit while the rest is cooking. Once the eggplant is layered between all the other wet sauces, it will cook and soften.

Method 2:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Slice eggplants about 0.5cm thick
  3. Spread them onto baking trays and spray or brush with coconut oil and sprinkle with salt.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, until soft

Assemble the layers

  1. Spread 1/2 of the meat sauce on the bottom
  2. Arrange a layer of eggplant slices over the meat
  3. Spread the remaining meat sauce on top
  4. Repeat with another eggplant layer
  5. Pour the white sauce over the top
  6. Bake in the hot oven for 20-25 min, until bubbling and golden
  7. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving

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Serve with salad and enjoy!

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Tip: This was prepared using Method 2 for the eggplants (i.e. cook first). As you can see, the layered eggplant has meted in a little to the sauces, so it’s not as clearly defined layers. Method 1 will create a more lasagna, layered-look. Both ways are delicious though!

* Passata is a type of Italian tomato purée. It’s a thick liquid made by cooking and straining tomatoes. The difference between tomato paste, tomato purée, and tomato sauce is consistency, and the thicker the consistency, the deeper the flavor. Of course, if you can’t find it, or prefer a chunkier tomato texture, use 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes.

 


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