Meatless Monday: Eggplant-Zucchini Lasagna with Fontina

GREAT BAKED PASTAS: Mushroom Lasagna; Updated Tuna Noodle Casserole; Baked Macaroni and Cheese; Noodle Kugel; Baked Spinach Gnocchi with Three Tomatoes; Baked Orzo Ratatouille

My mom makes a mean eggplant. Her signature are slices of grilled eggplant, charred on the outside and creamy–almost gooey–on the inside. Though she doesn’t pre-salt, rinse, and pat dry the eggplant, she does salt it pretty well, which is often part of something tasting great. Her technique is to put eggplant slices in a big plastic bag with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and to smush it all around until each slice is well covered. Once it’s on the grill, I’m not privy to what magic she works. All I know is that when she begins to pile them on a platter by the grill and I sneak slices every few minutes, they are unbeatably good. Like magic, the platter tends to be substantially lightened by the time it makes its way to the table.

But the eggplant my mom makes in the oven for grilled vegetable sandwiches or just as a side dish is pretty damn good too.

One Friday night this summer when I was already out at our beach house and Mom was on her way, I decided I should pay her back for all the eggplant I’d stolen from the serving platters over the years. Not wanting to light up the grill for a single eggplant, I opted for the oven. And I wasn’t stopping at eggplant; no, I was going to turn this into a full-fledged vegetarian dinner: lasagna. I added zucchini into the mix, as well as ricotta, fresh tomatoes, and fontina. By the time I got the call that errands and traffic would mean Mom wouldn’t make it out by dinner the lasagna was way too far along to abandon. I rushed to cook it, since it was getting dark and starting to rain, and I knew I wanted to photograph it for the site. After venturing out to the coffee table to catch the last of the grayish light, I ate a slice for dinner all by my lonesome, and it was fabulous: summery in flavor, yet hearty for a cool night’s appetite. All weekend, we lunched, dined, and snacked on the lasagna and I was reminded of what a prize it is to have in the fridge. (I took a photograph of an actual slice the next day, reheated in the microwave, when daylight, and sunshine, were finally back.)

I guess maybe there should be a saying: when life deprives you of dinner with mom, make intentional leftovers. Or not.

From my kitchen, using up the last of the summer produce, to yours,



Eggplant-Zucchini Lasagna with Fontina
Serves 4-6

I was inspired to use this 10-inch round skillet, which of course meant some breaking up of noodles and then fitting them together into the pan’s curves. You can also use a square or rectangular baking dish–you’ll want an 8 or 9-inch square pan. When the tomatoes aren’t fresh, you can simply use plum tomatoes from a can.

About 1/2 cup olive oil
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch-thick slices
2 large zucchini, cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices
Kosher salt
7 plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound no-boil lasagna noodles
12 ounces whole-milk ricotta
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
6 ounces fontina, grated
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with 1 tablespoon olive oil and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, until very brown. Remove and let cool. As soon as the zucchini is in the oven, use the same bowl to toss the eggplant with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3/4 teaspoon salt, making sure all slices are coated (you may need a little bit more). Place the eggplant in a single layer on another baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and browned. Set both vegetables aside.

Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Stick the tomatoes in for 1 minute, then remove with tongs and let cool on the countertop for about 5 minutes, until you can handle them. Trim them and pull off the skin (it should slide off easily; discard it), then use your fingers to break up the flesh. Place in a small bowl and combine with the minced garlic, 2 teaspoons olive oil, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Taste the tomatoes: you want them to be very well seasoned, so add a bit more salt if necessary.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta with oregano and 3/4 teaspoon salt and stir to mix.

In a 10-inch round skillet, pour about 1/2 cup of the tomato mixture. Layer with noodles, breaking them to fit the pan. Top with the eggplant in one layer, then spread on half of the ricotta. Sprinkle with a quarter of the fontina and another 1/2 cup of sauce. Repeat this pattern once, using the zucchini instead of eggplant. (That is, noodles, zucchini, the rest of the ricotta, a quarter of the fontina, 1/2 cup of sauce.) Place another layer of noodles, then dice any leftover eggplant or zucchini and sprinkle on top. Spread with the remaining sauce, then top with the remaining half of the fontina.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover, sprinkle with the Parmesan, and bake another 25 minutes, until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Let the lasagna rest 10-15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.


  1. You can omit the lasagna noodles if your watching your carb intake. Use the eggplant and zucchini in place of noodles. It’s delish. My husband is diabetic and loves lasagna so I make it this way and he doesn’t taste the difference.

  2. Made this for a girls night dinner. Can not even tell you how good it was! I snuck in a few sauteed mushrooms for good measure. Keep the recipes coming!

  3. Made this for a girls night dinner. Can not even tell you how good it was! I snuck in a few sauteed mushrooms for good measure. Keep the recipes coming!

  4. do you think i could roast the vegetables one night (say a tuesday), then assemble, bake (and EAT) the lasagna the next night (in this case, wednesday)?

  5. Eggplant is one of my favorite fall vegetables – there’s so much you can do with it. Lasagna is my husband’s favorite. This seems like a winning combination for us.

  6. My niece brought over some of her garden’s bounty.  I was wondering what to do with the tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini that are staring @ me from kitchen.  Thank you Cara!

  7. Just got a humungo zucchini & 3 little eggplants in my co-op basket this week & this is what I’ll be making with them!  Nice pics, my mouth is watering!

  8. My family and I are pretty much in love with this lasagna! I have received so many eggplants in my CSA this year that we were able to make this many times. I usually use whole wheat lasagna noodles and it still turns out phenomenal. I featured this recipe on my latest weekly menu plan at so my readers can give it a try too. Thanks so much!

  9. Delicious. But too much salt – I love salty food and I found this was just on the limit of what I could handle.

  10. Here’s what I did… added some sliced, roasted Valida onions to the veggies, also used some zucchini slices. For the sauce I used some red gravy I had in the freezer ( <—- that stuff is worth the effort, I promise! For the pasta I substituted Brown Rice lasagne noodles. First try on those. I couldn't tell the difference. Trying to cut back on the gluten on our diet. Also used some fresh basil and threw in a can of roasted tomatoes with roasted garlic, for fun. It all added up to yumminess! Will definately be doing this one again!

    • Adding Kale actually. I’m going to saute it with evoo and garlic first..can’t wait to try! Roasting the veggies tonight and making my sauce, going to make it tomorrow. Using fresh noodles so I have to boil them!

  11. Had do substitute Gouda for the Fontina b/c that’s what I had on hand, but it was amazing. Definitely a five star recipe. Thank you for sharing.

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