Recipe and styling by Nomvuselelo Mncube
Vegetarian aubergine lasagne
- 3 large aubergines, stems removed
- salt, to sprinkle
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 x 400g tins diced tomatoes
- 1 x 400g tin lentils, drained
- 3 handfuls baby spinach
- 50g pitted black Mission olives, halved
- handful fresh basil, chopped + extra leaves, to garnish
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 250g ricotta cheese
- 250g mozzarella cheese, grated
- 200g mature Cheddar, grated
Slice the aubergines lengthways into 0,5cm-thick slabs. Sprinkle with the salt and set aside in a colander placed over a bowl for about 20 minutes, to drain.
For the filling, pour 1 tbsp of the olive oil into a saucepan over medium-high heat and saute the spring onion until wilted. Add the oregano, tomato and lentils, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the baby spinach, olives and basil. Season to taste and set aside until needed.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Using paper towel, rub the moisture and salt from the aubergine slices. Place a large non-stick pan over high heat. Add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and fry the aubergine until browned, 2 – 3 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil, being careful to retain the shape of the aubergine slices.
Combine the ricotta, 150g of the grated mozzarella and 150g of the grated Cheddar in a mixing bowl.
Layer ⅓ of the fried aubergine on the base of a 27 x 21cm baking dish. Scoop ½ the ricotta mixture on top and spread it over the aubergine layer, followed by ½ the tomato mixture. Repeat the layers. Add the last ⅓ of the fried aubergine and sprinkle the remaining grated mozzarella and Cheddar on top. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown and the aubergine is cooked through, 45 – 50 minutes. Serve garnished with the extra basil leaves.