Skillet Eggplant Lasagna is a super cheesy and comforting one-pot vegetarian pasta recipe that’s incredibly easy to make on a weeknight!
How do you cook 4 vegetarian dinners per week and have none of them ever include tofu?
This skillet eggplant lasagna is one of my answers, my friends!
Last fall we made the decision to eat less meat for a variety of reasons (health, cost, carbon footprint) and to my surprise when I took a critical look at our menus from the past few weeks recently, I realized that more than half of our dinners have been vegetarian each week.
And I think what shocks me the most is that Kyle is no longer asking where the meat is in his meals! That’s craziness here!
We’ve been eating lots of quinoa and incorporating more beans as protein substitutes and boosting our vegetable intake by eating meals centered on portobello mushrooms and eggplant. So it hasn’t been a diet of salads and I couldn’t be happier!
Skillet Eggplant Lasagna Ingredients
Here’s the basic ingredient list you’ll need for this skillet lasagna recipe. Be sure to keep scrolling down to the recipe card for the full Ingredient list!
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Canned tomatoes: whole peeled tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Aromatics: onions and garlic
Herbs and spices: red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning
Uncooked lasagna noodles
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
Ricotta cheese (part-skim is fine)
Fresh basil (optional)
Is Excess Moisture a Problem in Your Eggplant Recipes?
This skillet lasagna recipe is one that I adapted to a vegetarian version by simply swapping out ground meat (beef) for eggplant. Ground beef is traditional in any good lasagna recipe but sometimes, a vegetarian lasagna just feels so right.
However, since eggplant can be a tricky vegetable to work with due to its high water content, I took the method from this eggplant pasta recipe (which we also loved) and used it for this recipe.
What you’ll need to do is grab a paper towel (or rather, several paper towels), sprinkle the eggplant cubes with salt, and let the eggplant sit on the paper towels for a few minutes.
The salt will draw a good amount of moisture out of the eggplant while it sits. As the eggplant cooks in the pan, it will brown instead of boil in its own juices.
Making this skillet lasagna with eggplant instead of beef added a little extra to the overall cooking time but the method works great since sautéing raw eggplant can take forever and oftentimes results in a mushy mass.
What I Love About this Skillet Lasagna
Let me take a moment to lament about a few other reasons why I loved this skillet eggplant lasagna so much.
First, using broken noodles gives you the chance to forgo all the laying that happens with a traditional lasagna which cuts down on some of the frustration that comes with stacking layers.
That’s also only of the reasons why I love these three cheese lasagna rolls-ups so much!!
Second, since this is a one pot meal using just a few dishes, clean-up isn’t a disaster. And that’s something I can truly appreciate on a busy weeknight!
The fact that this skillet eggplant lasagna is loaded with melty cheese in the form of mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan cheese certainly doesn’t hurt either! It’s a warm and hearty meal for the cold, rainy, and snowy days we expect here in the Northeast every fall and winter.
And lastly, we loved the fact that this was a comforting vegetarian pasta recipe but if you’re looking for something a little meatier, you need to try my one-pot creamy sausage pasta. It’s crazy delicious and it’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal!
5 Excellent Eggplant Recipes for All Types of Cooks
- Eggplant Rollatini
- Eggplant Parmesan
- Easy Eggplant Flatbread Wraps
- Eggplant Meatballs
- Eggplant Parmesan Pizza
- 1 ½ lbs eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 (14.5 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes (or 1 ½ 28 oz cans)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- ¾ tsp dried Italian seasoning
- 10 (curly-edged) lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch pieces
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¾ cup ricotta cheese (part-skim is fine)
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil (optional)
- Line a large plate or large and very shallow serving bowl with a double layer of paper towels. Place the eggplant in a large bowl and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt evenly over the eggplant; toss to coat well. Spread the salted eggplant out in an even layer on the plate. Microwave uncovered, about 10 minutes, tossing halfway through. When finished, the eggplant should be dry and starting to shrivel.
- Heat 2 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch ovensafe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and cook until well browned and tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan as needed with a wooden spoon. Return the eggplant to the bowl.
- While the eggplant cooks, puree the tomatoes in the food processor until a few small chunks remain and the tomatoes are mostly smooth.
- Return the skillet to medium heat and heat the remaining oil. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ tsp pepper and cook, stirring often until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Scatter the broken pasta over the onions, then pour the tomato sauce over the top. Stir to combine the ingredients, increase the heat to medium-high, and cover. (If you don't have a cover for your 12-inch pan like me, a large baking sheet will do the trick.) Cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often, until the pasta is tender, 20-23 minutes. Add water if needed when you stir - see head note above. If you don't stir the mixture or add water if it's too dry, the pasta will clump together and stick to the bottom and sides of the skillet, likely burning the pasta if you don't pay attention.
- Preheat the broiler during the last few minutes that the noodles cook.
- Remove the skillet from heat, and stir in the eggplant, 2/3 cup of the mozzarella, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, and 1/4 cup of the ricotta. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over the noodles then dot the top with the remaining ricotta in tablespoons. Transfer to the oven and broil until the cheese melts and is starting to brown. Remove from oven, sprinkle with basil (if using), and serve hot.
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