Eggplant Lasagna

I ate this for dinner last night with Aurelia and a darling friend and had so much left over, I had it again tonight. Aurelia ate her serving up both nights and I couldn’t help but get seconds. It’s really wonderful, especially the second day. It’s somewhat like the Eggplant Towers, except with way more cheese and no goat heart. You can tell my diet has been falling below pretty and I’m doing my best to at least be posting as many savory recipes as sweet. It’s amazing how quickly I start slipping into my old sweet cravings and the effect it not only has on my waist, but my appetite the rest of the day.

I started a new running schedule and ran on Monday and Tuesday this week. I did weights on Wednesday and decided it had been far too long since I’d done heavy squats and lunges and proceeded to push myself down to the ground in double sets of 15 on both. Plus the rest of a full body strength day. It always feels great when you’re doing it and just done, right? It’s the last two mornings I haven’t been able to walk properly, let alone run again. Hmm. I feel like I have to drop the heavy weights if I’m going to run this often (and eat the carbs running for an hour+ affords), but I know that’s only the easy way out. I have to start lifting more and it will get easier as I get stronger. Meanwhile, I’ll wince on the stairs and wear slip on shoes I don’t have to pull or buckle.

This may seem like comfort food and feel downright indulgent, but it really is quite lean. I substituted eggplant for the lasagna noodles, cottage cheese for the ricotta, cut out the parmesean and used less mozzarella, and used turkey and tons of veg in the sauce for flavor, fiber, protein, and micronutrients. This is not your typical lasagna and I think you’ll love it more than any traditional version. Your body certainly will!

Eat your vegetables! Eat protein! Lift heavy things! Love the body you have and ask it to do more!

Eggplant Lasagna
Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:
2 eggplants, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
6 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1.25 pounds ground turkey
1 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs dried basil
2 tsp dried marjoram
1 (10 ounce) package fresh spinach leaves
2 cups cottage cheese (16 oz container)
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 egg
2 cups tomato or marinara sauce (preferably seasoned or roasted)
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 cups tomatoes, chopped (or one 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes)
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
Soak the eggplant slices in a large bowl of heavily salted water. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the eggplant is done soaking, rinse the slices under fresh water and dry. Brush the slices with olive oil on both sides, and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flipping the slices over after 5 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey and cook until it starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Add some salt and pepper, the spices, onion and garlic. Cook another 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until it wilts. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. Cook and stir for a few minutes until fragrant and perfectly saucy. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, half of the mozzarella cheese, the egg, and some salt and pepper. Set aside.

Ready to assemble. Place a spoonful of sauce on the bottom of an oiled 9×13 baking dish. Add half of the eggplant slices. Spoon half of the cheese mixture over the eggplant and spread into a thin layer. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the cheese layer. Do it all again with the last of the eggplant, cheese, and sauce. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven.

Take the pan out, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese over the top, and bake for another 15 minutes until golden and bubbly. Let cool for at least 15 minutes or so before slicing and serving.

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