I have a love-hate relationship with lasagna. On one hand, you can’t deny the perfection of this classic combo of pasta, meat, and marinara layered between layers of gooey cheese… On the other? Those layers can quickly go from perfect to so heavy that you might find yourself in a food coma shortly after devouring. Plus, when you’re making all the components from scratch, it can be a labor-intensive way to get dinner on the table. So, when I was brainstorming cozy one-pot dinners for the season ahead, I decided that a skillet lasagna was in my future but I was determined to make it easy, vegetarian, and not the slightest bit nap-inducing. Scroll on to see how my skillet eggplant lasagna came to life…
So full disclosure, I’d seen a couple of “skillet lasagnas” around the internet and thought that this one especially was a rather genius way of simplifying the standard casserole recipe. However, it was heavy on the sausage, which doesn’t jive with my plant-based vibes this month… and I also wasn’t too keen on the step where you push each lasagna noodle “under the sausage… use an extra noodle to nudge them under—try to leave a little cushion of sauce beneath them, so they don’t stick to the bottom and burn).” I knew there was a better way.
And that’s when I thought of slicing eggplant super thin, mimicking the shape of lasagna noodles while adding texture, even more flavor, and a major dose of nutritious veggies. Plus, the eggplant could stand in as the bottom layer of noodles, and eliminate the need for sausage altogether, making this healthier and easier all at once. To simplify even further, I used Barilla’s Vero Gusto sauce in Heritage Marinara, giving this dish homemade, authentic flavor in one time-saving step that doesn’t sacrifice on taste.
Scroll on for the recipe, and tag us @camillestyles on Instagram if you give this skillet eggplant lasagna a try!
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt, divided
- 1 medium to large eggplant, sliced into 1/2" thick slices
- 1 bag baby spinach
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 jar Barilla Vero Gusto Heritage Marinara
- kosher salt, to taste
- 1 8-ounce package no-boil lasagna noodles (you'll use only half the pack)
- 2/3 cup whole milk ricotta
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- to garnish: fresh parsley or basil
In a large cast iron skillet, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat, then place half of eggplant in a single layer (you may have to cut a few pieces to make them fit.) Sprinkle with a teaspoon of garlic salt, and flip when first side is browned, about 3 minutes. When both sides are browned, set aside, and repeat with remaining olive oil, eggplant, and garlic salt.
- When the second half of eggplant is browned on each side, keep it in the pan (the eggplant forms the bottom layer of the lasagna), then add half of spinach, red pepper flakes, and half of the jar of Barilla Vero Gusto Heritage Marinara. Dollop 1/3 cup of ricotta evenly on top of the marinara, then place a few lasagna noodles over the top, as many as will fit in an even layer. Feel free to break off some of the edges to make them fit better in the pan. Repeat with remaining eggplant and spinach. Mix 2 tablespoons water into remaining sauce, then pour over spinach. Evenly dollop remainder of ricotta, then top with another layer of noodles.
- Push the lasagna noodles into the sauce to mostly submerge, then cover the pan and simmer until the noodles are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Uncover, tear the mozzarella over the top, then cover until it melts, about two minutes.
Remove from heat, and let rest for 10 minutes. When ready to eat, top lasagna with fresh parsley or sage, and eat!
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