After my original Crock Pot took a nosedive in the garbage, its been quite a while since I've used one BUT I'm happy to announce that we are BACK! My In-laws hooked us up with a new one and I've already made a few meals this week. First up is this AMAZING noodleLESS Lasagna that does have a few extra steps than my normal easy breezy 1-2-3 DONE recipes BUT its totally worth it and a GREAT Saturday or Sunday meal when you have a little more time.
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1 medium eggplant
- Kosher salt
- 16 ounces (2 cups) good quality store bought tomato-based pasta sauce (or homemade)
- 1.5 to 2 cups COOKED lean ground turkey or beef (I combine and do a 50/50 mix)
- 16 ounces low fat ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces part-skim shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese, divided (about 2 cups)—I used a blend of both cheeses and even add in some Italian Blend
- For serving: Parmesan cheese and some extra ricotta
- Preheat oven to 500-degrees. Place the top oven rack about 5 inches from the upper heat element.
- With a very sharp knife, slice the eggplant and zucchini length-wise into long, thin (1/4-inch) sections so that they resemble lasagna noodles. Rinse each piece and spread the vegetable slices out onto a kitchen towel or layers of paper towels and sprinkle them lightly with kosher salt. Let stand for 15 minutes to allow some of the excess liquid to drain off. Pat dry.
- Arrange the zucchini and eggplant slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. (Do not line the baking sheet pans with wax paper or parchment, as they will burn.) Lightly brush the slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Flip over the slices and repeat for the other side. Broil for 8 minutes, or until lightly brown, working in multiple batches as needed. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Place the slices on paper towels to remove excess moisture.
- Lightly coat a 6-quart crock pot with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup layer tomato sauce on the bottom of the crock pot—the layer will seem very thin.
- Create the first veggie lasagna layer in the crock pot as follows: 1 layer of eggplant “noodles;” 1/3 of the ricotta cheese; 1/3 of the mozzarella; 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of the cooked meat.
- Create the second veggie lasagna layer, this time using zucchini: 1 layer of zucchini “noodles;” 1/3 of the ricotta cheese; 1/3 of the mozzarella; 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of the cooked meat.
- Create the final layer: 1 layer of eggplant “noodles;” remaining ricotta cheese; 1 layer of zucchini noodles; 1/2 cup tomato sauce; 1/2 cup cooked meat and remaining mozzarella.
- Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 2-3 hours, until the eggplant is tender. To test, insert a long, thin knife into the lasagna and ensure the eggplant feels tender.
- Turn OFF (NOT ON WARM setting but actually OFF) the slow cooker, and let stand until any remaining liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes to 1 hour (note: if you did not grill or broil the vegetables first, you will have a lot of remaining liquid).
- To serve, slice and scoop desired portions, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and a spoon of ricotta cheese on top.