As our knowledge of healthful foods continues to evolve, we continue to try new things. One popular trend in healthy cooking is to take a common dish that uses pasta and replace the pasta with a vegetable.
Have you tried eggplant lasagna? If you’re a fan of lasagna, you will be pleasantly surprised with eggplant lasagna.
Eggplant lasagna is delicious. You won’t even know that you’re eating a vegetable in place of the common lasagna pasta. The dish will still be flavorful and it will be a more nutritious option than your typical lasagna dish.
If you haven’t tried eggplant lasagna yet, we strongly encourage you to give it a try! Your stomach will thank you later. But, if you have made it you know that a single batch makes a large pan of lasagna and you can easily end up with leftovers.
What do you do with the remaining eggplant lasagna? Can you freeze it or will it turn soggy and weird when you freeze it? The good news is; eggplant lasagna is totally freezable. It actually freezes really well and it’s pretty simple to freeze. If you complete that step, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about how your lasagna will hold up in the freezer.
We’ve put together a guide to provide you with some insight into the world of eggplant lasagna. We’ll share some information about eggplant and we will walk you through the steps of freezing your eggplant lasagna.
Keep reading to learn about freezing eggplant lasagna and more!
Your Guide to Eggplant Lasagna
Eggplant is a rather versatile vegetable and it has great flavor. There are many common dishes that use eggplant already, but it also makes a great healthy alternative to foods that are commonly packed with carbs.
Here are a few examples of things that you can do with eggplant:
- Eggplant Parmesan
- Replace pasta or toss into a pasta dish
- Stuffed eggplant
- Eggplant “chips” – sliced, breaded, and baked
These are just some generic suggestions for eggplant to give you an idea of how versatile and useful eggplant can truly be. You will be amazed at just how many different things you can do with eggplant and just how good your dishes taste with it in it.
Eggplant is easy to store, whether you store it cooked or raw. And the same goes for the dishes that you use it in. We will get into more detail on that here in a bit.
Making Eggplant Lasagna
If you’ve ever made lasagna, making eggplant lasagna is nearly the same. The primary difference is you will use sliced eggplant in place of your lasagna noodles.
We wanted to provide you with a basic recipe here so you know what you may be working with if you are new to eggplant lasagna or you’re curious about what is in eggplant lasagna for freezing purposes.
Here is a quick recipe for you.
- 2 eggplants – slice them lengthwise approximately ¼ inch thick
- olive oil
- salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, parsley, chopped basil
- minced onion
- 1 lb. ground beef or Italian sausage
- Crushed tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Tomato sauce
- Mozzarella cheese
- Ricotta cheese
- Parmesan cheese
There are a few different steps here as you will roast your eggplant before compiling your dish. In this recipe, you also make your own cheese filling while some lasagna recipes recommend using cottage cheese rather than a ricotta mixture. You can vary this on your preferences.
Here are some basic instructions for making the lasagna.
- Drizzle your sliced eggplant with olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, turning halfway. This step pulls the flavor of the eggplant and keeps it from feeling soggy or gummy in the dish.
- While eggplant is roasting, cook your meat, adding your onion to sauté it with the meat. Add your seasonings and stir well.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer at least 10 minutes but up to 1 hour.
- In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, egg, parsley, salt, and nutmeg (optional). You can refrigerate this until you’re ready to make the lasagna if you want to.
- Once the eggplant is roasted and the sauce is sufficiently cooked, begin assembling lasagna in a greased casserole dish. Start with meat sauce as the first layer, cover with about 6 slices of eggplant, and then spread a layer of ricotta cheese, sprinkle a layer of mozzarella.
- Repeat this step to use your ingredients, you can probably get 3 layers in.
- Top with mozzarella and parmesan.
- Bake in the 400-degree oven for 30-35 minutes
This recipe is a basic, simple recipe but you can ultimately mix up your lasagna however you prefer to and can use whatever type of recipe you like. This recipe was provided simply to give you a general idea of what you are working with as we proceed.
Freezing Eggplant Lasagna
Some suggestions might tell you that freezing eggplant lasagna isn’t a great idea because it can cause excess moisture when it is thawed and then reheated. BUT, if you notice in the recipe above it was recommended that you roast your eggplant prior to assembling the lasagna.
One of the purposes of roasting the eggplant ahead of time is to help draw out the moisture, eliminating much of the excess moisture that eggplant naturally holds. If you complete that step, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about how your lasagna will hold up in the freezer.
Another tip you will want to pay attention to is that you should take your eggplant lasagna directly from the freezer to the oven for the best reheating results.
Here are your freezing steps for eggplant lasagna.
- Allow lasagna to cool to room temperature for 30-60 minutes after cooking.
- You can either slice the lasagna and freeze it in individual slices or you can freeze it as a whole. However, we recommend slicing it into individual slices for the best freezing results.
- Wrap the individual slices of lasagna with plastic wrap. Be sure to wrap it well so that it is airtight. If you have multiple slices, you can then put all of the slices into a freezer bag or container.
- You can freeze your eggplant lasagna for up to 9 months.
Using Frozen Eggplant Lasagna
When you are ready to use the eggplant lasagna after it has been frozen, we recommend taking it straight from the freezer to the oven (or even the microwave).
- Unwrap the lasagna and place in an oven-safe dish. You can do multiple slices as well.
- Cover with foil
- Heat in a 450-degree oven 20-30 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking time. Heat until it is warm and bubbly.
- Another option is to warm your lasagna in the microwave. Unwrap your slices and place them on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 3 minutes. Add 30 seconds at a time if this is not enough time.
Freezing your eggplant lasagna is easy. The most challenging part is making the lasagna to begin with since there are several steps to making the lasagna prior to assembling it and then it can take a bit of time to bake as well.
In the end, the results are delicious and it is well worth the effort – frozen or fresh.
We hope you have found this guide to be a valuable resource for freezing eggplant lasagna and that the information provided has been helpful to you.
We’ve compiled some common questions and answers to provide you with additional information that could be useful to you and we invite you to check that out as well.
Can Eggplant Be Toxic?
Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family. However, eggplant itself is not toxic and neither is the peeling of the eggplant if you use the entire vegetable. The part that you want to avoid consuming would be the leaves and flowers of the plant.
The leaves and flowers could potentially be poisonous, but these parts are not used in cooking. Be sure to remove these prior to using your eggplant and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about!
What Are the Health Benefits of Eggplant?
Eggplant is a low-calorie food and a vegetable so it is a great addition to any meal. In this case, you replace a heavy carb with a nutritious veggie.
Eggplants are nutrient-rich, containing high levels of fiber and various vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C & K, Potassium, Folate, and Manganese. Additionally, eggplants are high in antioxidants. They can potentially reduce blood sugar levels as well as the risk of heart disease.
Can I Make My Lasagna Ahead of Time and Freeze It Before Baking?
This is a great idea for prepping meals ahead of time! Yes, you can absolutely do this. We recommend that you still roast the eggplant prior to assembling your lasagna for this purpose.