Is there anything better than a plate of warm, rich lasagna on a chilly night? I don’t think so, unless it’s a plate of lasagna, a crisp green salad, and a glass of wine.
I had been thinking of making moussaka again, and on a whim I reworked the recipe as lasagna. I tweaked the seasonings a bit, increased the béchamel sauce, and nestled the ingredients between layers of no-boil lasagna noodles.
By the way, when using no-boil lasagna noodles in a recipe that wasn’t specifically written for them, there are a couple of things you can do to ensure good results. First, make sure there is enough liquid in your sauce so that the noodles cook thoroughly. I aim for an extra 1/2 cup per 8-9 ounces of lasagna noodles. Second, make sure that the sauce completely covers the noodles in each layer. It helps, when you’re estimating how much you need for the first and second layer, to underestimate a bit and leave extra for the top.
This is one of the richest lasagna recipes I’ve ever made, and the moussaka inspired cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg make it stand out from the crowd.
- 1 large eggplant, about 1-1/3 pounds
- Olive oil
- 1 cup finely diced onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (12-ounce) package vegan ground round (I used Yves)
- 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Scant 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Scant 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup Earth Balance margarine
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups almond milk
- 3 tablespoons vegan Parmesan, such as , Go Veggie! (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 9 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles (12 noodles)
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 400 F. Brush a large baking pan with olive oil. Slice eggplant into 1/4-inch slices. Place the slices in a single layer on the baking pan and brush the tops with more olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes. Test the slices for tenderness by piercing the center with a fork; remove the very tender slices to a plate. Turn over the remaining slices and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until fork-tender.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Sauté the onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and ground round. Add 1/4 cup wine (not the whole cup!), salt, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook for a couple of minutes to heat through.
To make the béchamel, melt the margarine over low heat in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Slowly add the almond milk while whisking vigorously to combine it with the roux. Turn the heat up to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, vegan Parmesan, if using, nutmeg, and salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Heat oven to 350 F. Oil a 9 x 13-inch pan or two 8 x 8-inch ones. Spread about 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Top with 4 noodles, about 1/3 of the remaining tomato sauce, 1/2 the eggplant slices, and 1/3 of the béchamel. Top with 4 more noodles, 1/3 of the sauce, the rest of the eggplant, and another 1/3 of the béchamel. Finish the lasagna with the remaining 4 noodles, tomato sauce, and béchamel. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly at the edges and cooked through in the middle.
You can also assemble this and freeze it for later. Thaw, and then bake as directed.