This delicious quick and easy lasagne is made with aubergine, red pesto, mozzarella and NO SAUCE. It will change your idea of what makes a good vegetarian lasagne. It could make a perfect romantic meal for two just as easily as a simple midweek meal option for the whole family. You have to try it!
Lasagne … what comes to mind when you think of it?
I must admit, I usually don’t hold it in particularly high regard. Not because it isn’t a great dish – I think it’s just delicious when it’s done well – but because a good 80% of the lasagnas I’ve had have been either too sloppy, too dry, too bland, too greasy, just too ‘eighties’ … well, you get the idea. Always too something.
And the vegetarian lasagnes I’ve had? Uh-hum. I’d better not even go there.
Hold the sauce! It’s a freestyle lasagne!
Not only is this a pretty healthy and tasty vegetarian lasagna, but it’s ‘freestyle’, meaning that you just layer up these simple ingredients:
- single squares of pasta
- grilled veggies
- cheese (of course)
- homemade sundried tomato pesto (or good quality shop bought)
How to make a quick and easy aubergine lasagne
No need to make any sauce or bake this for an hour. Just grill the veggies, make your pesto, layer up with the cheese and briefly bake.
I don’t want to mislead you, however.
I must say that this does still take a little effort to make – mostly because you may have to grill your vegetables in a couple of batches.
But it’s really easy – definitely easier than a regular lasagne. You might also think that it’s a hassle to make your own pesto. If you wanted to put this together really, really quickly, you could use a good store-bought version, of course, but it honestly took me just minutes to make my own.
Another good reason to make the pesto is that you’ll only use about half of it, leaving the other half to stir through pasta on another day!
How to serve your easy aubergine lasagne
This is a pretty light meal, so great for a classy lunch. Or you could serve it with some green salad leaves and maybe garlic bread for a more substantial meal.
What’s the best vegetarian lasagne you’ve ever eaten? Have you ever eaten it ‘freestyle’ before? I really hope you give this one a go! 🙂
Interested in making a more traditional aubergine lasagne? Try this one instead!
More amazing Mediterranean recipes that you must try!
- Our favourite Greek baked eggplant with tomato and feta
- These delicious halloumi kebabs with chorizo, tomatoes and honey lime dressing are also perfect for BBQs.
- These life-changing fried halloumi bites (perfect appetizers for guests!)
- Crispy fried chickpeas (great on salads or soups!)
- Ever made a proper Spanish omelette, otherwise known as a tortilla de patatas? Prepare to have your mind blown!
- Another Spanish one… try this traditional ‘pan con tomate’ or Spanish bruschetta. It’s incredible, and unbelievably easy to make!
- Did you know you can fry olives, and that they’re delicious? You do now!
Or browse all my Mediterranean recipes here
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Quick and easy aubergine lasagne (no sauce)
Ingredients (UK/Australia? Click below for grams/ml)
- 2 medium-sized eggplant aubergine, sliced into fairly thick slices
- 1 large red onion sliced into about 8 slices
- olive oil for brushing & a bit more for drizzling at the end
- 4 sheets fresh lasagna
- 1 ball mozzarella sliced into 8 pieces
- grated parmesan cheese about a handful
- sundried tomato pesto see below
- a small bunch of fresh basil
for the sundried tomato pesto
- 3/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil drained
- a handful of pinenuts or walnuts I used walnuts as they’re cheaper!
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil about ¼ cup olive oil
- 1.75 ounces parmesan cheese grated
to serve (optional)
- fresh green salad leaves and/or garlic bread
- Heat up the broiler (grill – UK), then lay the eggplant and onion slices on a broiler pan (grill pan), brush them with a little oil and broil/grill for about 5 minutes or until nicely browned. Then turn over, brush over a little more oil and cook for another 5 minutes on the other side, or until nice and soft. Transfer to a plate and put aside*.
- Meanwhile, boil the lasagna sheets for a few minutes, then drain and cut in half to make squares. Finally, put into a dish and pour over a bit of oil to stop them sticking.
- Make the pesto by whizzing up all the ingredients in a food processor. Slowly add a bit of water until you get a nice smooth paste.
- Preheat your oven to 175C/350F. Now assemble your lasagnas. Lay four squares of pasta on a lightly-oiled baking tray and top with a couple of slices of eggplant, a slice of onion, a torn-up piece of mozzarella, a sprinkle of parmesan, a good heaped teaspoon of pesto and a torn-up basil leaf or two.
- Lay another pasta square on top (at an angle to the first), then top with more vegetables, cheese, pesto and basil. Bake for ten minutes.
- To serve, drizzle over a bit of olive oil and top with a final sprig of basil. Eat with fresh green salad leaves (and garlic bread, if you like).
Bam's Kitchen says
I have been meaning to stop by ever since I saw your post… This is a lovely. I love the fact that you have it packed with good for you vegs and just a little bit of pasta. I agree that lasagna can have varying degrees of success but this one needs an A+. Sharing everywhere!!!
Aww, thank you so much for your sweet and heartfelt words, Bam! I so appreciate them. Indeed what I loved about this was the heavy-on-the-veg and light-on-the-pasta approach. Thank you for my A+!
Marissa | Pinch and Swirl says
I’m an eggplant fiend – I love it! This looks so delicious! I’d be tempted to complicate it with slabs of zucchini and a big fat portobello mushroom too.
Oh, go ahead, Marissa! These would be great with other grilled veggies added. 😉
Laura ~ Raise Your Garden says
Hmmmm, I guess when I think of lasagna I think of cozy days, eating a salad to balance it all off and like you said…lots of leftovers for later. I usually try to double the batch and freeze one for later, always a huge bonus spin. I love how you incorporated eggplant in here and have enough pesto for another dish. Great ideas!
Thank you, Laura! I love doing the double batch thing – it’s a great feeling to have the freezer stuffed with homemade goodies ready to just pull out and cook for lazy days. 🙂
Lorraine @Not Quite Nigella says
Absolutely a big yes that this is dinner party worthy! We love lasagne here and versions like this would be very welcomed in this house 😀
I guess this would be dinner party worthy – thank you, Lorraine!
This is a perfect alternative to lasagna! Love lasagna, but very rarely have it (don’t know why). But I cook with eggplant all the time and will definitely try this recipe! Pinned of course!
Thank you, Mira! Hope you do try it and thanks for pinning (as always!)
i haven’t made lasagna ins forever. and you are right. it can be “sloppy” with certain noodles. But eggplant, yes, that a winner! Must try!
Hope you do try it, Lindsay, and as the lovely Kathleen above reminded me, it’s very customizable! 🙂
Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom says
Ha! I remember those lasagnas of the 80’s. I totally agree with you – the bad one’s are just bad and the good ones take a lot of time and lots of pots. So I’m really loving this freestyle lasagna you’ve created. And I love that it’s customizable too! Pinned and Yumed, of course.
I guess this would be really customizable – I should have put that in the post! Thanks, Kathleen, for the pins and yums! 🙂
I’ve had my share of greasy, overly cheesy lasagnas…bleh. I don’t make it often because it is time consuming, but it’s so worth it when it’s done! I love this freestyle version — it’s just genius, Helen! Eggplant makes this so hearty, and that sundried tomato pesto sounds amazing!
Thank you so much, Marcie! I agree that a traditional lasagna done well is well worth the time and effort, but for those days when I can’t be bothered i.e. most days, I’ll take this!
mila furman says
Helen! I love this! It’s like lasagna re-constructed 🙂 Really gorgeous!!! LOVE LOVE this! And I am a huge fan of lasagna with grilled veggies! FYI as a short cut Trader Joes has these killer frozen grilled veggies that I use in my veggie lasagna when I am short on time!
Oh, the frozen grilled veggies are such a wonderful idea, Mila! I’m not sure if we can get those in the UK, but I should add it to my post notes for you US readers! Thank you! 🙂
[email protected] says
I love your modern take on the lasagna and I totally agree about how hard it is to get it just right. The pesto sounds amazing. Great dish.
Thanks, Janette! I must admit I was pleased with this 🙂
Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy says
These look like such delicious little aubergine stacks. I only like aubergine when cooked certain ways and this is one of the ways I like it 🙂
Thank you, Dannii! Really hope you’re still enjoying your trip (of course you are!)
Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry says
Lasagna’s take for ever. But this one I could so easily get behind. In fact I am pinning it for one autumn evening.
Let me know if you do get around to making it, Bintu. You’ll love it!
I share all your lasagna sentiments, but I could do this one!
Hi, Chrissy! 🙂