I love pasta, and I really like lasagna. But when I'm trying to eat healthier and maybe lose a few pounds, carbs seem to be the enemy. So if you're on a strict diet but miss having an Italian night at the house, try this venison and eggplant lasagna recipe. Cooked with a thick marinara and venison meat sauce, three kinds of cheeses and Italian herbs, all the flavors are there. Honestly, I really don't miss pasta. I was amazed by how beautifully layered this "lasagna" turned out. Serve this dish with a medium body red wine, such as Chianti or sangiovese.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- ½ pound ground venison
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced thinly lengthwise
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- 15 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
- 6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
- 16 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 jar thick marinara sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- First, moisture must be drawn from the eggplant to avoid a watery dish. To do this, place one layer of peeled and sliced eggplant onto a cookie sheet or large cutting board. Lightly sprinkle evenly with salt. Lay another layer of eggplant on top of the first layer and sprinkle with salt – repeat with the rest of the eggplant slices. Be careful not to over salt or your dish will turn out very salty. Allow slices to sit for 30 minutes on the counter.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ground venison and brown, breaking up the meat with a spoon. Lower heat to medium-low heat and then add marinara sauce and basil. Simmer until warmed through. Take off heat and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease a deep 8-by-11.5-inch baking dish; the deeper the dish the better to prevent overflowing. Spread a thin layer of meat and marinara sauce onto the bottom of the dish. Then with lots of paper towels on hand, dab each eggplant slice dry as you line the bottom of the baking dish. Lay a second layer of eggplant on top, but this time, run the slices in the opposite direction. (Crisscrossing the layers will keep your lasagna slices together when you serve it.)
- Next, evenly spread a dollop of ricotta over the eggplant, sprinkle in cracked pepper, spoon in meat sauce, and then Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Repeat this layering until you run out of eggplant, switching the direction of the eggplant slices each time.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes to allow the cheese on top to melt and turn golden to your liking. Allow lasagna to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.