This eggplant lasagna recipe is a delicious, low-carb alternative to an Italian classic. It's made with roasted eggplant slices layered with homemade marinara sauce, a creamy spinach ricotta filling, and mozzarella cheese.
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Eating a gluten-free diet doesn't mean you can't enjoy the classic comfort foods that everyone loves. This low-carb eggplant lasagna recipe has all of the delicious flavors of a classic lasagna but uses eggplant noodles in place of lasagna noodles.
It's easy, tasty, good-for-you, and so simple to make! You can use my favorite quick and easy san marzano sauce or a jarred sauce if you are short on time.
📖Why This Recipe Works
Audience preference always wins out when developing recipes.
I surveyed my regular readers and found that 75% of them preferred an eggplant lasagna without noodles. While 60% wanted meat, and 100% wanted more veggies!
With all of that in mind, I created this exact recipe. This recipe uses slices of eggplant instead of traditional lasagna noodles.
For the meat, I chose Italian sausage. By using sausage instead of ground beef we don't need to worry about extra seasoning. This is the same trick I use in my GF meatball recipe, which is a total fan favorite!
Finally, I added spinach to the ricotta filling for extra veggies! So all-in-all, this recipe is 100% gluten-free.
Eggplant - You'll need 2 large eggplants for this recipe. If all you can find at the store are smaller eggplants, then maybe grab 3 of them!
Salt - Salting the eggplant draws out excess moisture for a better lasagna texture.
Olive Oil - Coating the eggplant in olive oil before roasting prevents it from burning in the oven.
Italian Sausage - You can also use ground beef or ground turkey seasoned with Italian seasoning.
Frozen Spinach - Thawed and drained.
Ricotta Filling - Our ricotta cheese filling is made with a mix of ricotta cheese, egg, parmesan, and black pepper.
Marinara Sauce - I use my homemade San Marzano tomato sauce, but feel free to use a store-bought variety of marinara to save time.
Mozzarella Cheese - Use freshly shredded or freshly sliced mozzarella for the best flavor and texture.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
💭 Vegetarian Lasagna Variation
While you can skip the sausage and use vegan ground beef, diced sautéed mushrooms, or roasted and sliced portabella mushroom caps.
Alternatively, you can make these eggplant roll-ups that use similar ingredients.
⏲️How to Make Eggplant Lasagna
This delicious eggplant lasagna is ready to eat in an hour making it the perfect easy and hearty meal!
Step 1 - Prep the Eggplant
Brush your baking sheets with olive oil and slice your eggplant into slices lengthwise. I recommend making the eggplant slices about ¼-inch thick so they all cook at the same rate.
Sprinkle all of the slices with salt, then bake at 375ºF for 12 minutes.
Step 2 - Prep the Meat Filling
While the eggplant roasts, heat olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add in the sausage, then cook, breaking it up as it cooks, until nice and browned. Drain any excess oil.
Add in the tomato sauce of your choice, then let the mixture simmer for 5-7 minutes to really let the flavors meld together.
At this point, I taste for salt and pepper. I like to add red pepper flakes instead of black pepper.
Step 3 - Make the Ricotta Filling
Let the spinach thaw fully, then place the thawed spinach into a clean kitchen towel. Gather the spinach up into the towel, then twist it up and squeeze to extract all of that excess water. Just like you do when making spinach dip!
Next, make your filling by combining the ricotta, egg, parmesan, drained spinach, and pepper in a medium bowl.
Step 4 - Assemble and Bake
Before assembling your lasagna, be sure to pat the roasted eggplant dry gently with a paper towel to double down on moisture removal.
Start your assembly by spreading half a cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9x13" casserole dish. That thin layer of sauce on the bottom helps prevent the eggplant from sticking to the pan or burning. I prefer to pull out any large pieces of sausage so that the eggplant slices lay flat on the bottom.
Next, add in a single layer of eggplant slices, then top that with ⅓ of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top that ⅓ of the mozzarella, add ½ of the meat sauce, then repeat until all of your ingredients are used.
Top the lasagna with a final layer of mozzarella, then bake at 375ºF first for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove from the oven, cover with foil, then bake for another 8 minutes.
If you want to give the top layer of cheese an extra golden brown crisp, remove the aluminum foil after cooking and broil for a couple of minutes.
Once the lasagna is done, pull it out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes or so before slicing and serving. It will be very hot!
I like to sprinkle the top with fresh basil before serving.
🥗What to Serve with Italian Eggplant
Feel free to enjoy this meal with any of your favorite side dishes!
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Want to lighten it up? Sub cottage cheese in for the ricotta or use half of each.
- Try it with zucchini. Whether you prefer zucchini or you're trying to use up the ones you have on hand, you can easily make this recipe with sliced zucchini instead of eggplant.
Leftover eggplant lasagna can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, warm in an oven-safe covered dish in the oven at 350ºF until heated through.
While you can't freeze the leftovers, I really to do love a big slice of this heated up for lunch the next day.
More Eggplant Recipes
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
To cut the eggplant, use a sharp knife to remove the ends of the eggplant. Next, stand the eggplant upright with one of the flat sides down on a cutting board and (very carefully) slice it into ¼"-thick slices.
A bread knife is very handy for this task!
The one thing you need to know about eggplant is that it contains a ton of water. So, to prevent your lasagna from being watery, its essential that you prepare the eggplant properly!
To prep the eggplant, you'll salt it generously, bake it, then pat it dry with paper towels. This helps remove as much excess liquid as possible, so that that liquid doesn't bake out once the lasagna is assembled.
Additionally, be sure to thaw and dry your spinach very well before adding it to the ricotta cheese filling. We want as little excess moisture as possible!
Finally, if your sauce is too thin that could also be the culprit. Simmering the sauce should cause the water to evaporate.
Yes! There are two ways to add zucchini. Add a layer of long thin zucchini slices of zucchini or use them in place of the eggplant.
Also, you can grate the zucchini. Squeeze out the excess water and add to the filling in addition to, or in place of, the spinach.
You can! To freeze your eggplant lasagna but only unbaked. Do not freeze this recipe once cooked.
Prepare all of the ingredients and layer the lasagna as directed, but don't bake. Instead, wrap the casserole dish tightly in plastic wrap and foil and freeze for 2-3 months.
When you're ready to serve, thaw the lasagna overnight in the fridge and bake as directed. You may need to add a little bit of extra time since the layers will be cold.
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- 2 large eggplant
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 pound ground Italian sausage
- 10 ounces frozen spinach thawed and drained
- 2 cups whole milk ricotta
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 ½ cups San Marzano marinara sauce or use your favorite store bought sauce
- 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese shredded or fresh sliced
- Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set it aside.
- Brush a baking sheet with the oil. Slice your eggplant lengthwise into ¼ inch slices. Lay flat in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 12 minutes.2 large eggplant, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- While the eggplant is baking brown the sausage. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sausage, use a spatula to break it into crumbles while it browns. Add the marinara and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.1 pound ground Italian sausage, 2 ½ cups San Marzano marinara sauce
- Place the thawed spinach in a clean kitchen towel. Gather the top and twist to squeeze out excess water. In a mixing bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, parmesan, spinach, and pepper.2 cups whole milk ricotta, 1 large egg, 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, 10 ounces frozen spinach, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Use a paper towel to blot the eggplant dry before you assemble the lasagna.
- Spread half a cup of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Add a single layer of the eggplant, before adding ½ of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese on top of it. Add ½ the meat sauce. Repeat the process until all the ingredients have been used up. Top lasagna with mozzarella then bake for 20 minutes.1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese
- Remove and cover then bake an additional 8 minutes, broiling for a crispy top. Rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- For a vegetarian version of this recipe, substitute vegan meat crumbles or diced mushrooms for the sausage. Be sure to add Italian season to taste for additional flavor.