This eggplant lasagna recipe will show you how to make the best gluten-free, keto and Whole30 eggplant lasagna. It’s made with a vegan cashew cream sauce, ground meat and layers of tender eggplant. This low carb pasta-less lasagna is healthy comfort food at it’s finest.
Unfortunately, my husband isn’t a fan of eggplant. He says the texture is too weird for something that has no flavor. I totally get it, but I also think he just hasn't had eggplant the right WAY (aka this way).
Since I am mostly Italian, I grew up eating eggplant parmesan. That said, I'd chose this eggplant lasagna over lasagna with pasta any day!
- which works in my favor because this eggplant lasagna is a "diet friendly" dish that is not only low carb but also gluten-free, dairy-free, keto, paleo and Whole30.
💗 Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Treat yourself to classic lasagna flavors without indulging in a carb-heavy meal. This recipe is completely gluten-free, grain-free, low carb and Keto!
It's also made-from-scratch and packed with flavor and vegetables, so Whole30 -ers, rejoice! This recipe is 100% compliant.
💭Is Eggplant Keto and Low Carb?
Let's discuss. Eggplant is naturally low in carbs but high in nutrients. Despite holding a lot of water, eggplant is actually a pretty starchy vegetable, so it absorbs whatever flavors are added to it.
Here's the break down: 1 cup of eggplant has 20 calories, 0.2 grams of fat, 4.7 grams of carbs and 2.8 grams of fiber.
I did the math for you. That means that there are 1.9 grams of total net caps in 1 cup of eggplant.
🥛What is Cashew Cream Sauce?
Without the vegan cashew cream sauce, this recipe would fall short. By soaking raw cashews in water and then blending them, you can make a vegan, vegetarian and dairy-free "cream"-based sauce.
In this recipe, the cashew cream sauce is flavored with basil to make an Italian style vegan ricotta that is layered in the eggplant lasagna.
🍆Ingredients You'll Need
Eggplants - are high in fiber and antioxidants and a great addition to any healthy diet.
Tomato - adds another layer of veggies to this lasagna.
Basil - adds fresh Italian-inspired flavor.
Ground Turkey, Pork or Beef - Turkey and pork are naturally lean. If using ground beef, make sure it's on the leaner side.
Marinara Sauce - For Whole30/keto purposes, make sure you double check the ingredients for any sneaky sugars.
Cashew Cream Sauce - is a dairy-free and vegan alternative to dairy cream sauces. The flavor is neutral enough that it works in most things.
Garlic Powder & Fennel Seed - add amazing flavor to this dish.
Salt & Pepper - highlights the fresh flavors.
📖How To Make Eggplant Lasagna
1️⃣ Preheat oven and cook meat. First things first, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a pre-heated skillet, add ground meat, garlic powder, fennel seed salt and pepper. Saute until just cooked through (not browned).
2️⃣ Prep vegetables. With a sharp knife or mandoline, slice eggplant into thin ¼ inch thick slices. Do the same with the tomato. Roughly chop basil.
3️⃣ Assemble eggplant lasagna. In a 9x13 inch baking dish, spread a thin even layer or marinara. Next, add a layer of eggplant, overlapping each slice enough so the marinara is covered. Then, spread an even layer of half of the ground meat.
4️⃣ Continue assembling. Add half the cashew cream sauce and spread evenly on top of meat. Then, add another layer of eggplant slices followed by a thin layer or sauce. Add the rest of the meat followed by the remaining cashew cream sauce. Add the last layer of eggplant, the remaining marinara and a top layer of sliced tomato.
5️⃣ Bake. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for one hour or until eggplant is fully cooked through. Let cool for 10 minutes.
6️⃣ Serve. Slice lasagna into serving sizes, garnish with fresh basil and serve!
For Whole30 purposes, follow the recipe exactly as written below. For a meatless vegetarian/vegan option skip the ground meat and use a plant based alternative or omit the meaty part completely.
Since eggplants retain a lot of water, a lot of it is released during cooking. To draw out the water before cooking, sprinkle eggplant slices with a small amount of salt. Wait 20 minutes and then pat off any excess water.
If you are not dairy-free, you can use regular ricotta cheese in this recipe in place of the vegan cashew cream sauce.
This eggplant lasagna with meat can be made with ground turkey, pork, beef, lamb or even ground chicken.
🍽 How To Serve
This eggplant lasagna is a hearty meal all on it's own, but if you want a little something extra feel free to serve with a couple of side dishes.
🔁 Storing, Reheating & Freezing
Storing: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheating: To reheat, pop it back into the oven at 350 degrees until heated through.
Freezing: Since eggplant contains a high amount of water, it will not be the same once frozen then thawed, therefore freezing is not recommended.
Can I use something other than eggplant? I'm confident that you could use large zucchini and/or summer squash instead of eggplant. Use ones with minimal seeds.
Do you peel eggplant before roasting? It's not necessary. The skin helps the flesh of the eggplant hold it's shape.
How do I make my eggplant less soggy? "Sweat it." Lay sliced eggplant out, sprinkle with a little bit of salt and leave be for about an hour. The salt will pull out any moisture. Blot it away with a paper tow.
Why is my lasagna soggy? Over layering, using too much sauce or filling, using wet eggplant and not draining fat from the ground beef are common reasons. Also, be sure to let the eggplant cool and set before slicing.
More Whole30 Dinner Recipes
- Rosemary Mustard Pork Tenderloin
- Sheet Pan Balsamic Chicken & Vegetables
- Beet Poke Salad Bowl
- Whole30 Jambalaya
- Instant Pot Beef Short Ribs
Low Carb Eggplant Lasagna
- Preheat the oven to 375
- Add the ground meat, garlic powder, fennel seed and salt, pepper to a skillet and saute until cooked through (not browned)
- Slice your eggplant into thin ¼ inch slices, chop basil into rough pieces and slice your tomato in thin slices wide.
- Pour a thin layer of marinara on the bottom of a 9X13 pan spreading out evenly
- Add one layer of sliced eggplant overlapping each piece halfway until the bottom is covered
- Add half of the ground meat mixture and spread evenly
- Add half the cashew cream sauce and spread evenly on top of meat mixture
- Add another layer of eggplant slices
- Add a thin layer of sauce on top of the eggplant slices and repeat adding the rest of the meat and rest of the cashew cream sauce on top
- Add a final layer of eggplant on top, then top with remaining marinara and add sliced tomatoes on top arranging neatly
- Bake in the oven at 375 for one hour or until eggplant is fully cooked through
- Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Top with basil for garnish!