Eggplant Lasagna Boats (Vegetarian, Low Carb)

5 from 11 votes
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Eggplant Lasagna Boats with mushrooms, spinach, and a secret ingredient to boost protein. This stuffed eggplant lasagna recipe is vegetarian, low carb, and nutrient-packed.

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Eggplant lasagna boats arranged in a white baking dish topped with fresh basil leaves.

Why You’ll Love this Eggplant Lasagna Recipe

Not only is this stuffed eggplant recipe way simpler than making actual lasagna, it’s also more nutritious.

It features a trifecta of veggies, protein-packed cottage cheese (YES, cottage cheese–more on that later), and lycopene-rich tomato rich.

If you’re following a low carb lifestyle, this recipe is especially well-suited for you. While you have the option to add meat, I find it plenty satiating as is.

Give this recipe a try for the ultimate low carb eggplant lasagna experience. And, if you have leftovers, it reheats exceptionally well the next day.

The Ingredients

Ingredients in separate bowls with blue labels.
  • Eggplant: You need two medium globe eggplants for this recipe. Alternatively, you can use three smaller ones, however they need to be the globe variety. (Unfortunately, Japanese eggplants are too slender to sufficiently stuff.)
  • Mushrooms: I love using sliced baby bella mushrooms for meaty texture and a blast of umami. Alternatively, you can use shiitake, white button, or chopped portobello mushroom caps.
  • Spinach: Use baby spinach or lacinato kale for a mega nutrient boost. This greens will cook down a LOT, so feel free to add a few extra handfuls to bulk up the filling.
  • Tomato Sauce: You can use either homemade or store-bought marinara sauce for this recipe. My personal go-to is Rao’s, which tastes the freshest of any jarred variety I’ve tried.
  • Cottage Cheese: I know this seems like a wildcard ingredient, however cottage cheese is an excellent substitute for ricotta. It’s rich in protein, and overall offers a better nutrient profile. My go-to brand is Good Culture, which has gut-healthy probiotics, too!
  • Garlic: For an aromatic boost.
  • Mozzarella: I strongly suggest buying a block of organic mozzarella and shredding it yourself. The pre-shredded stuff normally has additives that can affect meltability.
Eggplant lasagna boats in a baking pan topped with basil.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Roast Eggplant. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise, and brush the flesh with olive oil. Place eggplants halves, flesh side-down, on a rimmed baking sheet or 9×13″ pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until flesh softens.

Let stand at room temperature until cool enough to handle.

Eggplant halves flesh side down in a white baking pan

Step 2: Sauté Vegetables. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add mushrooms and onion, and cook until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Next, add chili flakes, garlic, spinach, salt, and pepper; cook 2 more minutes, until spinach wilts.

Mushrooms, onion, and spinach sautéing in a black skillet.

Step 3: Scoop Out Eggplant Flesh, leaving about a 1/2-inch-thick border around skin to create a boat.

Step 4: Add Eggplant to Pan with mushrooms, and mix to combine. Next, add 1 1/4 cups marinara sauce to the filling, and stir to combine.

Black skillet filled with vegetables, tomato sauce, and eggplant flesh being mixed in.

Step 5: Stuff Eggplant. Pour remaining 1/2 cup marinara sauce into the bottom of a 13×9 inch pan.

Place the eggplant halves in the pan, and spoon the filling evenly into each. Spoon dollops of cottage cheese into eggplant, and scatter mozzarella overtop.

Eggplant halves in a white pan topped with mozzarella cheese.

Step 6: Bake Lasagna Boats until the cheese melts, about 10 to 15 minutes. Broil for the final 2 to 3 minutes.

Serving Suggestions:

This low carb eggplant lasagna is mighty delicious on its own, however also plays with other dishes.

  • To keep dinner low carb/keto-friendly, serve my Sautéed Broccoli or Cucumber Sesame Salad on the side.
  • For a protein boost, serve these eggplant boats alongside Pan-Seared White Fish or my 5-Ingredient Maple-Mustard Salmon. You also can’t go wrong with some Chickpea Meatballs, which are a meal prep staple over here.
  • If you’re not going the low-carb route, this dish is excellent with some homemade garlic bread. I usually make it myself using sourdough bread, grass-fed butter, and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

How to Store and Reheat:

  • do not recommend freezing cooked eggplant. Unfortunately, it become watery when thawed and doesn’t hold up well in the freezer.
  • You can, however prep this recipe ahead and store it in the refrigerator!
  • To Prepare Ahead: Roast the eggplant and prepare the filling up to 1 day in advance. Store each component separately in the refrigerator. Assemble the Eggplant Lasagna Boats just before baking or up to four hours in advance and refrigerate.
  • Cooked Eggplant Lasagna Boats can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days.
  • To Reheat: Warm gently in the microwave or covered in a 300ºF oven, until heated through.
A spoon pulling out a bite of lasagna eggplant

Eggplant Health Benefits:

Eggplants are part of the nightshades family, which have gained somewhat of a bad rap the last few years. This group of veggies contain trace amounts of the toxin solanine, which is responsible for their bitter taste. However, in order to notice any negative GI effects, one would need to consume a very large amount.

For this reason, eggplant certainly should not be avoided simply because it is a nightshade. Plus, eggplants are packed with an array of good-for-you nutrients. In addition to being rich in fiber, they also offer manganese (essential for normal growth), folate, potassium, plus vitamins K and C.

When shopping for eggplant, choose ones with shiny skin and a green stem, which are signs of freshness.

A single stuffed eggplant boat on a white plate topped with fresh basil leaves.

More Reader-Favorite Eggplant Recipes:

If you make this vegetarian eggplant lasagna recipe, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram! Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!

5 from 11 votes

Eggplant Lasagna Boats

Eggplant Lasagna Boats with mushrooms, spinach, and a secret ingredient to boost protein. This stuffed eggplant lasagna recipe is vegetarian, low carb, and nutrient-packed.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • 13×9" Baking Pan
  • Large skillet

Ingredients  

  • 2 medium globe eggplants
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 3 handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • 1 3/4 cups homemade or store-bought marinara sauce (I use Rao's brand)
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup whole-milk cottage cheese (I use Good Culture brand)
  • 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
  • Optional breadcrumb topping: 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs mixed with 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
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Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 425ºF. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Brush the flesh evenly with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and lightly season with 1/4 tsp. salt.
    Place eggplant halves, flesh side-down, on a rimmed baking sheet or 13×9" baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until flesh softens. Let stand at room temperature until cool enough to handle.
  • Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add mushrooms and onion, and cook until softened, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, chili flakes, 1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper, and spinach; cook 2 more minutes, until spinach wilts. Stir in 1 1/4 cups marinara sauce and basil.
  • Use a spoon to partially hollow out eggplants, leaving about a 1/2-inch-thick border around skin to create a boat. Roughly chop eggplant flesh, and add to pan with mushrooms; mix to combine.
  • Spread remaining 1/2 cup marinara sauce into the bottom of a 13×9" inch baking pan. Arrange the eggplant boats in the pan, and spoon the filling evenly into each one. Spoon dollops of cottage cheese into stuffed eggplant, and scatter mozzarella overtop. (If using breadcrumb topping, sprinkle it over the cheese.)
  • Place the pan back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the cheese melts. For a more golden topping, broil on HIGH for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

Notes

do not recommend freezing these eggplant boats. Eggplant turns watery when thawed and doesn’t hold up well in the freezer.
*PREP AHEAD: Roast the eggplant and prepare the filling up to 1 day in advance. Store each component separately in the refrigerator. Assemble the Eggplant Lasagna Boats just before baking or up to four hours in advance and refrigerate.
*STORE: Refrigerate leftovers for up to four days.
*REHEAT: Warm gently in the microwave or covered in a 300ºF oven, until heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1boat | Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 775mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 13g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

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16 Comments

  1. Mike says:

    5 stars
    This eggplant recipe is the best, so delicious. I added my own homemade sauce made from cherry tomatoes. My wife gave me 5 stars and we have had eggplant twice, making this a monthly staple.

    Going to try you spaghetti squash recipe next. Can’t wait.

  2. Maureen Lawson says:

    5 stars
    my awesome CO WORKER made this and brought it to work to share with all..

    IT was hands down fantastic 🙂

  3. Leila says:

    Delicious! I added some hot Italian sausage for hubby when cooking the mushrooms/onions. Amazing recipe! Will try with ricotta next time to see the difference.
    Will definitely have this on repeat, especially when it’s still chilly out! Thank you!

  4. Megan says:

    5 stars
    I had 2 eggplants I needed to use. Went straight to your site and searched for recipes. I have yet to find one I didnt thoroughly enjoy! Thank you for the healthy/filling recipe!!!

  5. Cindy says:

    5 stars
    Loved this! I considered substituting ricotta for the cottage cheese (I am typically skeptical of cottage cheese in general), but I’m so glad I didn’t. It’s perfect the way it is. thanks so much for this recipe!

  6. Alta says:

    5 stars
    OMG! So yummy! I subbed ricotta for cottage cheese but otherwise followed the recipe. I’ve got a lot of filling leftover that I can toss with some spaghetti for dinner later this week. Two meals in one! 🙂

  7. Kayla says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe Jamie! Perfect flavors and very healthy. I love that about your recipes, classic recipes with a lot of healthy ingredients.

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      I’m so glad the recipe was a hit, Kayla! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

  8. Dave says:

    5 stars
    I made this recipe and it came out great. I used ricotta cheese because that’s what I had on hand. Also I didn’t use garlic because I’m one of the only humans on earth who doesn’t like it. Used homemade sauce but other than that I followed it to the tee. Definitely 5 stars and I’m very picky, thanks for the recipe!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      I’m so glad the recipe was a hit, Dave! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

  9. Julie says:

    5 stars
    I’ve never made an eggplant dish better than this one, and I promise you, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever made. Period. I cooked a batch of my homemade marinara sauce, which was a perfect match to this. I also added in some zucchini since I had too much on hand. Unfortunately, I failed to read the ingredient list to a T and purchased ricotta instead of cottage cheese, but I’m sure it would’ve been as delightful (and more nutritious) with the latter. This was a time-consuming dish to make and I consumed it faster than I had wanted to because it was too difficult to resist. But this recipe is definitely one for the books!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Oh Julie you’re just the best!! Thank you for taking the time to leave this fab review.

  10. Emily says:

    5 stars
    Loved this recipe! Served with quinoa for a filling dinner.

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Yay so glad to hear, Emily! Thank you for taking time to leave a review!

      1. Bonny Ingrouville says:

        We enjoyed the eggplant lasagna so much. We had never tasted eggplant prior to eating this and i will certainly make it again. Delic!! Served them with cabbage roll sausages, salad and garlic loaf. YUM!

        1. Jamie Vespa says:

          Hi Bonny–I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a rating and review!