Sear, Simmer & Stir

Life, style & food in the District

Lasagna With Grilled Eggplant, Spinach and White Bean Purée

Lately, I’ve been really interested in trying a traditional comfort food dish (especially one that is known for being super cheesy and creamy and, thus, comforting) and recreating it without cheese. To my cheese-loving husband, this idea sounds more like a recipe for disaster than a recipe worth eating – After all, what’s macaroni and cheese without the cheese?

After doing some reading and research, I found that most dairy-free cheesey recipes use some type of cashew puree to replace the creaminess. Excuse the pun, but I am less than nuts for nuts. Also, the idea of making an extra trip to the store and then paying $10 for a bag of cashews is less than appealing. I was flipping through some cookbooks the other night and came across a favorite recipe for a white bean hummus – And then it hit me! A variation on pureed white beans could be my creamy factor!

Obviously, pouring hummus over a plate of pasta and calling it “mac & cheese” doesn’t exactly work in this situation…. But with a few additional tweaks and additions, it most definitely works as a creamy layer in a vegetable lasagna.

This lasagna is pretty quick and easy to make and is filled with yummy flavors. Eggplant, fresh spinach (just layered in uncooked!) and the white bean puree give the dish an incredibly fresh-tasting and healthy punch – And the panko breadcrumbs deliver a surprising crunch on top! You will never even notice the absence of bubbling, gooey cheese….

The recipe also calls for marinara sauce. Feel free to make your own or pull-out a jar of your favorite store brand (I promise I won’t tell). I always have sandwich-size bags of sauce in the freezer, so I was just able to defrost one and use it right away – No extra pots and pans!

Baking in the oven

Let me know if you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Grilled eggplant

Yum

Ingredients
1 box of lasagna noodles
1 bag of fresh spinach, washed
1 eggplant
1 can of white beans, rinsed and drained
3 cloves of garlic
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups of panko breadcrumbs
Your favorite marinara sauce
Seasonings: salt, pepper, Italian seasonings (dried basil, oregano, etc.)

Directions:

The Purée

  • In a food processor, combine 3 cloves of garlic and a can of rinsed and drained white beans – puree until smooth.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add in ¼ cup of olive oil and continue to puree.
  • Then add ½ cup of panko breadcrumbs to the bowl, as well as salt and pepper (a few pinches) and some shakes of your favorite Italian seasonings (I used dried oregano and basil).
  • Blend all of the mixture together and drizzle in the additional 2 tablespoons on olive oil while blending. (If the mixture is too think/not creamy enough, add in a little bit more olive oil until it reaches the desired consistency.)
  • Set aside at room temperature.

The Eggplant

  • Cut the eggplant lengthwise into long, wide pieces.
  • Spray a grill pan with olive oil and grill the pieces of eggplant for a few minutes on each side – Take out of the pan and set aside.

The Lasagna

  • Boil the lasagna noodles according to package instructions – Be careful not to overcook, since they continue to cook in the oven. Drain the noodles.
  • In a baking dish coated with olive oil, begin to layer the lasagna! Line the bottom of the dish with the noodles.
  • Then, dollop the puree on top of the noodles and spread it around (like you would do with a ricotta mixture on a traditional lasagna).
  • Next, add a layer of the grilled eggplant, then a layer of the fresh spinach, then a layer of the sauce.
  • Start the layering over again with the noodles, then the puree, then the eggplant, spinach and sauce. Continue until you run out of supplies (I got two full layers before reaching the top). End the top layer with a layer of noodles, followed by a layer of sauce.
  • Top the pan of layered lasagna with a generous sprinkling of the panko breadcrumbs.
  • Bake the lasagna in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until heated completely through.
  • ENJOY!
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2 comments on “Lasagna With Grilled Eggplant, Spinach and White Bean Purée

  1. suzannebroadbent
    March 28, 2012

    Sounds delish!

  2. Pingback: The Tipsy Vegan – And Fresh Spring Rolls « Sear, Simmer & Stir

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This entry was posted on March 28, 2012 by in Main Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian.

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