I tend to become obsessed with certain foods, making them two or three times in just as many weeks until I move on to the next. These days, it’s a paleo-approved eggplant lasagna. How’s that paleo thing going, you ask? In the words of my sister, I’m eating “as paleo as possible.” You’ll notice there’s a little cheese in my recipe below, but you can’t have lasagna without a little cheese. (One would argue you can’t have lasagna without the pasta, but we have to make sacrifices, don’t we?)
This dish is the perfect example of what I call “making it skinny,” i.e. waistline friendly. I’ve swapped out traditional ingredients for healthier ones, resulting in a dish I can feel great about without skimping on taste. In this case, the eggplant takes the place of the pasta, saving me hundreds of calories. Meanwhile, the eggplant is almost buttery, and somehow even reminds me of my mom’s béchamel. In place of ground beef, I used ground turkey breast, which is virtually fat free and uber high in protein. The spices add flavor with none of the fat, and processing tomatoes versus gives the sauce a certain freshness.
In cooking and eating healthier, I’ve gotten used to these substitutions and find myself enjoying the healthy versions of recipes more than the not-so-healthy kind. Here are a few that I swear by (paleo-diet aside),
- Brown rice > white rice
- Whole grain or whole wheat bread > white bread
- Sweet potatoes > white potatoes
- Ground turkey breast > ground beef
- Spaghetti squash > spaghetti
- Greek yogurt > sour cream
That’s just to name a few. And speaking of spaghetti squash, here’s my recipe for Super Skinny Spaghetti Bolognese.
Want to try going “skinny?” Check out more skinny recipes down below. Next time you’re ready to get cookin’, ask yourself what possibilities there are for making a dish good and good for you. Whether it’s one small or swap or a handful of them, these tiny moves add up and go a long way.
Skinny Eggplant Lasagna
Serves: 4 – 6
Ready in: 45 minutes to 1 hour
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground turkey breast
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 pounds plum tomatoes
- cooking spray
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Wash the eggplant, then cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Lay the eggplant down on large plates or a cutting board in an even layer and sprinkle lightly with salt. Set aside.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick caldero over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey and use a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Allow it to cook for five to 10 minutes or until fully cooked and browned. Add the onion, bay leaf, oregano, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent.
4. Wash the tomatoes and chop them into fours. Place the tomatoes in your blender or food processor to make “sauce.” Add the blended tomatoes to the caldero, season with more salt and pepper and let cook for 15 minutes or so.
5. Meanwhile, pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel; the salt is used to draw out extra moisture. Place the eggplant on a plate and microwave on high for three to five minutes, or until the eggplant is fork tender.
6. Heat a non-stick grill pan (or caldero or frying pan) over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray and cook the eggplant for 30 seconds to one minute on each side, or until lightly browned.
7. After you’ve grilled the eggplant, arrange the first layer of the lasagna in a baking dish (8 x 8). I recommend using the thickest slices as they will be the foundation of the lasagna. Add a layer of meat sauce and continue to layer until you are out of sauce and eggplant. If you have extra sauce, just freeze it for a lazy night. Sprinkle the top with cheese, then bake about 20 minutes.
8. Turn your oven to broil and allow the top of the cheese to brown, keeping an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn. Remove from the oven, allow to sit a few minutes, then serve.
More Skinny Recipes-