The Vegan Eggplant Lasagna Challenge
I have made vegetarian lasagne countless times. Yet, I’ve always added cheese to each layer. Sometimes I reduce the amount of cheese I use by mixing ricotta cheese with eggplant puree together. I’ll have to share my vegetarian lasagna some time, as it’s my son’s favorite.
What is Vegan Eggplant Lasagna?
Last week I seemed destined to make Vegan Eggplant Lasagna. Well, eggplant lasagna is perhaps a misnomer because it had absolutely no pasta of any kind inside. Yet, the term lasagna seems to fit because three layers of thinly sliced eggplant (instead of lasagna sheets) are interspersed by tomato sauce and cheese.
My dish resembles eggplant parmesan, except that it is prepared in a deep dish and the eggplant is not breaded, fried or cooked in advance. Skipping the breading and frying stages improves the nutritional profile of this dish without reducing its flavor. I would even argue that you can taste the eggplant better because it’s not hidden by the taste of bread crumbs or oil.
Why Vegan Eggplant Lasagna?
Several factors inspired me to make this Vegan Eggplant Lasagna. First, I recently purchased a Cuisinart Elite 2.0 16-cup Food Processor and wanted to play with it. It has a great slicing blade that you can set at 10 different levels of thickness from 0 mm to 10 mm. The lowest setting allows you to cut vegetables or fruit almost paper thin! How amazing is that?
Second, I saw beautiful organic eggplants at the market and immediately wanted to make something with eggplant. For weeks I’ve been unsuccessfully looking for tahini (sesame butter) to use in Baba Ganoush. Surprisingly, finding tahini in Los Angeles is not easy.
Third, I wanted to try making homemade Vegan Almond Cheese. Using Vegan Almond Cheese to replace the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses in this Vegan Eggplant Lasagna seemed like a great idea. I even decided to make a Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna with mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese along side this Vegan Eggplant Lasagna to compare the tastes and results.
Vegetarian vs Vegan Eggplant Lasagna
Preparing Vegan Eggplant Lasagna allowed me to use my new food processor, eggplants and Vegan Almond Cheese. Jackpot!
The day before making my eggplant lasagnas I prepared the Vegan Almond Cheese, leaving it in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to meld.
At the time of the big event, in minutes I peeled the eggplants and sliced them 4mm thick with the Cuisinart Elite 2.0 16-cup Food Processor. It was so easy and the slices were pretty uniform, even though there was no need for them to be the same.
While the eggplant slices were releasing water in a colander in the sink, I prepared a double recipe of my Vegan Tomato Sauce for All Occasions. One portion for each lasagna.
With all the ingredients at hand, I started preparing the lasagna dishes. First, I spread a little Vegan Tomato Sauce for All Occasions on the bottom of the dish. Then I laid slices of eggplant over the sauce, overlapping a little until all the space was covered. I poured more sauce over the eggplant slices and then topped it with some Vegan Almond Cheese. Next I proceeded in the same manner for two more layers until the deep dish was filled.
I cooked both lasagnas for 30 minutes before serving them to my brother and a friend who agreed to be my taste testers. I did not tell them that I used Vegan Almond Cheese in the Vegan Eggplant Lasagna. Neither could guess that it was not dairy cheese. Although the Vegan Almond Cheese does not melt in the same way as the mozzarella cheese, the taste of both lasagnas were quite similar. My taste testers preferred the melted cheese consistency in the Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna. However, I liked the Vegan Eggplant Lasagna more. I found that the true taste of the eggplants and tomato sauce prevailed.
If you eat dairy cheese, check out the recipe for Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna. Like me, you can prepare both the Vegan Eggplant Lasagna and the Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna if you have guests with different dietary needs. Both lasagnas are gluten free, while the Vegan Eggplant Lasagna is also ideal for anyone who is lactose intolerant.
I hope your family and friends will enjoy these lasagnas as much as we did. They are a one-dish meal as they are quite filling. They have both vegetables and protein. If you prefer serving this Vegan Eggplant Lasagna with a grain, couscous or brown rice would be a good choice.
Please leave me some comments to let me know what you think of this recipe. Thanks for sharing this recipe with your friends so they can also enjoy it.