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.
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. (Or, alternatively, you can add quinoa for an additional vegetarian protein source.)
Give this recipe a try for the ultimate low carb eggplant lasagna experience. And, if you have leftovers, I'm pleased to report it reheats exceptionally well the next day.
- Eggplant: You need two medium to large size 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!
- 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.
Step 1: Roast the Eggplant
Preheat oven to 425ºF. 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 9x13" pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until flesh softens. Let stand at room temperature until cool enough to handle.
Step 2: Sauté the Vegetables
Heat 2 Tbsp. of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add mushrooms and onion, and cook until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Next, add chili flakes, garlic, spinach, salt, and pepper; cook 2 more minutes, until spinach wilts.
Step 3: Scoop out Eggplant Flesh
Once the eggplant is cool enough to handle, use a spoon to hollow out eggplants, leaving about a ½-inch-thick border around skin to create a boat.
Transfer eggplant flesh to the pan with mushrooms, and mix to combine. (If needed, use a wooden spoon to break up pieces of eggplant.) Next, add 1 ¼ cups marinara sauce to the filling, and stir to combine.
Step 4: Stuff the Eggplant
Pour remaining ½ cup marinara sauce into the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan. Next, place the eggplant halves in the pan, and spoon the filling evenly into each. Spoon dollops of cottage cheese into stuffed eggplant, and scatter mozzarella overtop.
Step 5: Bake Eggplant Lasagna Boats
Place the pan back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, until the cheese melts. If desired, turn the broiler to high during the final 1 to 2 minutes. Finally, scatter fresh basil overtop and serve!
FAQs and Expert Tips:
What to Serve with Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna Boats
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 15 Minute 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, roasted garlic ghee, and some freshly grate Parmesan cheese.
How to Store and Reheat Stuffed Eggplant
- I 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.
What are the Benefits of Eating Eggplant?
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.
More Easy Eggplant Recipes:
Crispy Eggplant Sandwiches with Tomato Relish
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!
Eggplant Lasagna Boats
- 13x9" Baking Pan
- Large skillet
- 2 medium globe eggplants
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 8 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp. chili flakes
- ¼ tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
- 3 handfuls fresh baby spinach
- 1 ¾ 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
- Preheat oven to 425ºF. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise, and brush the flesh evenly with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Place eggplant halves, flesh side-down, on a rimmed baking sheet or 13x9" 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 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, chili flakes, salt, pepper, and spinach; cook 2 more minutes, until spinach wilts. Stir in 1 ¼ cups marinara sauce and basil.
- Use a spoon to hollow out eggplants, leaving about a ½-inch-thick border around skin to create a boat. Roughly chop eggplant flesh, and add to pan with mushrooms; mix to combine.
- Spread remaining ½ cup marinara sauce into the bottom of a 13x9" 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.
- Place the pan back in the oven; bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese melts. If desired, turn the broiler to high during the final 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.
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! 🙂
Great recipe Jamie! Perfect flavors and very healthy. I love that about your recipes, classic recipes with a lot of healthy ingredients.
I'm so glad the recipe was a hit, Kayla! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
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!
I'm so glad the recipe was a hit, Dave! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
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!
Oh Julie you're just the best!! Thank you for taking the time to leave this fab review.
Loved this recipe! Served with quinoa for a filling dinner.
Yay so glad to hear, Emily! Thank you for taking time to leave a review!
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!
Hi Bonny--I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a rating and review!