Another one of our meal preparation favourites is a healthy twist on a classic pasta dish – without any pasta! Our vegetable lasagna uses sliced eggplant and zucchini instead of the pasta, and bulgur for a whole-grain texture and some flavour. We make one with cheese and one without, giving us both vegan and non-vegan options.
Bulgur is a less processed form of wheat that can often be found along with other grains or in a whole-foods section of most grocery stores. Rather than being refined and stripped of the bran and germ like most flours, bulgur is a whole grain which provides carbohydrates, fiber and some protein with a lower glycemic index than refined grains. This means the carbohydrate is digested more slowly and provides lasting energy, rather than a quick spike and sugar crash.
Although we haven’t tried it, steel-cut oats have a similar texture and would be a good substitute if you wish to avoid gluten (make sure they’re certified gluten-free if you are highly sensitive).
Preparing the Vegetables
There is some preparation time involved, but if you can always make extras and freeze them before baking. Usually making three or four isn’t vastly more time consuming than making one, and it can be a great time-saver later on.
Start by cutting the eggplant and the zucchini into long, thin slices. You can use a knife or a mandoline slicer to do the job. The thinner you make your slices the better; aim for a slice of 2mm thick. Do I really have to measure it? No. Make it easy: too thin and it won’t be able to hold the food, too thick it won’t taste like lasagna.
Make sure when using a knife to take safety precautions: use a sharpened knife, don’t point the knife blade towards your gripping hand, use a stable surface or cutting board, slow down your cutting speed when getting closer to your hand – no one is watching or judging you anyways. We’ll post an article about some cutting techniques and knife sharpening in the coming months.
Heat a frying pan at medium-high temperature, apply some olive oil and heat the egg plant slices. Turn over the slices after 1 min and add oregano, salt & pepper. Repeat for every eggplant & zucchini slice. If you’re in a hurry and want to save some time you can skip this step but you’ll miss some flavor on the final product.
Preparing the Bulgur
Dice the onion, aiming for small pieces. There are multiple ways to cut an onion and dice it; I personally find that the best way to dice an onion is to make horizontal and vertical cuts before doing the final slicing. Just be careful not to cut all way to the root of the onion.
Dicing an orange pepper is even easier. Just cut in half and remove the seeds; once you have your pepper clean, dicing is a two step process: slice in julienne and then dice it.
After all your vegetables are cut, let’s start some cooking. Heat a medium sized saucepan to medium-low temperature. Add the coconut oil and the butter and the diced onions. Let them cook for about 5 minutes or until they start to look transparent. Stir gently once in a while.
Add the diced orange pepper and stir well. Let it cook for 3 more minutes. If you have some leftover tomatoes, now is a good time to add them.
Add the bulgur, garlic, tomato sauce and water to the mix. Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients. Cover the sauce pan and wait for around 10~15min for the bulgur to be soft and ready to eat. Stir frequently to prevent bulgur at the bottom of the pan from burning. If your sauce becomes to dry you can add water. We’re looking for a dried consistency anyways.
Remove from the heat and let it sit for 5min.
Assembling the Lasagna
This is the final step and the fun part. Organize your ingredients in stations or close to each other to make it easier.
Gently spread some olive oil to a loaf pan (you’ll appreciate this step when you try to cut the lasagna). From now on it’s all about layering your lasagna. There’s no right or wrong way or specific order to do this. Have fun in the kitchen is our mojo. Here’s our take on how to assemble it: begin with a layer of eggplant, add a layer of the tomato-bulgur sauce, followed by cheese, zucchini, and finally more tomato-bulgur sauce. Repeat this process two times and top the last layer with cheese for broiling purposes.
Note: Skip the cheese for a vegan version, and add hemp seeds and olive oil to the top layer. It will create a crisp layer on top of the lasagna as well as some protein, healthy fats and micronutrients.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- ½ diced onion
- ½ diced orange pepper
- 1 cup bulgur
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 4 garlic cloves
- Cut the eggplant and the zucchini in long, thin slices.
- Heat a frying pan at medium-high temperature, apply some olive oil and heat the eggplant slices.
- Turn over the slices after 1 min and add oregano, salt & pepper.
Replacing mozzarella cheese with hemp seeds: 237cal | 10g fat | 8.8g protein