Eggplant Lasagna is a delicious baked Italian pasta recipe made with eggplant, ricotta and tomato sauce.
In Italy this is a famous Sicilian recipe called Lasagne alla Norma. Its name is a tribute to “La Norma”, the famous opera of the composer Vincenzo Bellini, to describe the wonderful symphony of taste of this ingredientes .
This version is inspired by the famous Sicilian Pasta alla Norma. The ingredients are the same with the addition of fresh ricotta that makes the dish more creamy.
Eggplant Lasagna Italian recipe is made with fried eggplants, ricotta cheese, both fresh and salted, and a very light tomato sauce that enhances the taste of the dish. Don’t want to fry the eggplant? You can make eggplant lasagna with grilled eggplant! Find out how to do it in the last paragraph.
These few ingredients are enough to make a tasty baked dish that you can even prepare the day before.
Eggplant Lasagna is excellent even cold with the addition of freshly grated salted ricotta. This Italian recipe is perfect for a vegetarian diet and excellent for a lunch with family or friends.
Eggplant Lasagna Recipe
- Prep Time:20 Min
- Cook Time:20 Min
Doses for a 13×9 inch lasagna pan.
For the Tomato Sauce
- 1 liter of tomato passata that you can make with our fantastic recipe or buy it already made, ready to use. We reccomend Mutti Tomato Puree (Passata)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 basil leaves
- fine salt to taste
For the Filling
- 300 g (10,5 oz) of fresh Ricotta cheese
- 200 g (7 oz) of grated Ricotta Salata cheese
- 2 medium eggplants
- 1 liter of extra virgin olive oil for frying
For Lasagna Noodles
- About 10 lasagna: you can make fresh homemade pasta/lasagna noodles following our step by step recipe
- Or you can buy authentic Italian flat lasagna, oven ready (no cooking or boiling necessary), made with durum wheat flour (we recommend Tuscanini brand).
First of all Make a Light Tomato Sauce
Step 1) – The first thing to do is to make a light tomato sauce. So in a sauce pan pour the tomato passata, add two cloves of garlic, 2/3 basil leaves and a pinch of fine salt to taste. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes. The tomato sauce have to be quite runny. So if you see that it’s too thick add some water. That’s necessary to bake lasagna noodles. When ready, turn off the heat and set aside. It’s better not to add oil to the tomato sauce in order not to make the Lasagna too greasy.
Then Prepare the Filling: Fried Eggplant and Ricotta Cream
Step 2) – After washing and drying the eggplants, slice them lengthwise. Make some slices about 1 cm (half an inch) thick. Then cut the ends of the eggplant into cubes (the first and last slice).
Step 3) – Now fry the eggplant in plenty of extra virgin olive oil, both the slices and the cubes. Fry them to a temperature of 170° C (340 F). Do not exceed the recommended temperature: check with a kitchen thermometer. Drain with a skimmer and place them on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. Set aside. DO NOT salt the fried eggplants. During the preparation of the eggplant lasagna you will need to add the salted ricotta which is already very salty.
Step 4) – Now place the fresh ricotta in a bowl. Add two or three tablespoons of tomato sauce and mix everything until you get a reddish, homogeneous and thick cream. Set aside.
Finally Get Together all the Preparations and Make Eggplant Lasagna
Step 5) – Take a 13×9 inch lasagna pan and spread a little ricotta cream on the bottom. Then place the first layer of lasagna. Cover the lasagna with a little ricotta cream. Then add a layer of fried eggplant slices.
Step 6) – Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of tomato sauce and a little grated salted ricotta. This cheese is very tasty so do not overdo it with the quantity between one layer and another.
Step 7) – Keep going with the layers until you run out of ingredients, taking care to finish the last layer with only the ricotta cream on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C (390 F) for 20 minutes.
Step 8) – When cooked, take your eggplant lasagna out of the oven and add the diced fried eggplant and more grated salted ricotta. Decorated with a few basil leaves and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
You can keep eggplant lasagna in the refrigerator, covered with cling film or in an airtight container for 1-2 days.
You can even make it the day before, kept in the refrigerator covered with cling film and cooked the next day.
It’s possible to freeze it only if you have used all fresh ingredients. It’s better to freeze eggplant lasagna still raw. It will be sufficient to defrost them in the refrigerator about 24 hours beforehand and then bake them in the oven as usual.
Eggplant Lasagna Tips and Tricks
Don’t put too much ricotta cream between one layer and another and on the top of the last layer. Too much ricotta and tomato sauce cream makes Eggplant Lasagna too mushy and overly covers the texture and flavor of the fried eggplants.
Don’t use to much oil and salt. Eggplants fried in extra virgin olive oil give the dish the necessary seasoning and a great flavor. If we add oil to the tomato sauce too, the dish would be too heavy and greasy.
Use salt with moderation because salted ricotta is really very tasty and salty. With the addition of too much salt to the tomato sauce or to the fried eggplant you risk ruining the result.
Eggplant Lasagna with Grilled Eggplant
If you want to make a lighter and less caloric dish, maybe better for the summer season, don’t fry the eggplants but grill them.
So cut the eggplants into slices about 1 cm (half an inch) thick. Heat a non-stick grill pan and grill the eggplant slices on one side and then on the other.
In this case you can add two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the tomato sauce.
For an even fresher and particular taste, you can replace the basil leaves with mint leaves.