Aubergine Chilli Lasagna – healthy, low fat lasagna

Aubergine Chilli Lasagna – healthy, low fat lasagna

I’ve just returned from a week in Lesotho and the Free State Highlands (the pretty artist’s retreat town of Clarens. Though I am no artist myself).

snow in Lesotho last week

After a week of restaurant meals and for some reason too much of German wurst (popular in the Clarens it seems), I was longing for a home cooked meal and planned this on the flight back from Johannesburg to Cape Town. As soon as we lifted the suitcases into the house, I left my husband to slowly unpack as I rushed out to the stores for suplies.

ochre landscape of Clarens

I’ve come up with a flavourful but healthier lasagna. The pasta sheets I used are the lower G.I one made with 20 % channa flour and instead of fattening bechamel sauce made with flour and butter, I used ricotta cheese. Now, I have nothing against a creamy white sauce. When I cooked this, I was listening to my body. Or the voices in my head.

I made three smaller lasagnas, you can make a big family sized one. Feel free to use normal pasta sheets and make a quick bechamel sauce if you prefer. I found the clean, fine creaminess of the ricotta blended with a little cream to be more than sufficient counterpoint to the lovely, rich tomato sauce. Ricotta is, as you know low in fat and high in protein too.

The tomato sauce has the seductive appeal of the Mediterranean because of the addition of the oilve tapenade or finely chopped black olives. This adds fantastic depth of flavour- please do add it.

Additionally the aubergines are grilled on high heat in a pan with very little olive oil.

Fear not about verging on too healthy or bland (eek!), as you do cover the lasagna in as much mozzarella cheese as you wish.


Serves 4-6

1 package lasagna sheets (I pre-cooked mine according to package instructions. You can also use uncooked and allow to sit for 40 min before baking)

1/2 medium onion, sliced

1 T olive oil + extra for pan frying aubergines

2 x 440 g cans peeled, chopped tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 medium red chilli, chopped

1 t sugar

125 ml water

1 T chilli olive tapenade or 5 black olives finely chopped

2 medium aubergines, sliced lengthwise (medium thickness) & sprinkled with a little fine salt

2 tubs ricotta cheese

80 ml fresh cream

2 t chilli flakes

salt, to taste

125 ml cup grated mozzarella (or as much as you like)


In a pan on medium heat, fry the onions in olive oil until translucent.

Add the canned tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add the chopped garlic, chilli, olives or olive tapenade, sugar and water.

Stir and season with salt.

Allow to cook further and thicken.

In the mean while, grill the aubergines in a Teflon coated pan, brushing them lightly with olive oil.

Turn the aubergine slices and set aside when soft (but not mushy).

Blend the ricotta, fresh cream, chilli flakes and salt till smooth with a hand held blender or processor.

In your chosen vessel(s), arrange a layer of tomato sauce, aubergine, ricotta cream and lasagne sheet.

Repeat, ending with tomato layer (not white sauce as per normal lasagne).

Top with mozzarella cheese.

If lasagna is not pre-cooked, allow to sit for 40 min.

Bake for 25- 30 min on 180 degrees Celsius till golden brown on top.

Bake for a further 15 – 20 minutes if using uncooked lasagna sheets.


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By |2017-04-11T10:33:18+00:00August 21st, 2011|Food, Mains, Recipes|20 Comments


  1. Kitchenboy August 22, 2011 at 2:29 am - Reply


  2. ninatimm August 22, 2011 at 4:02 am - Reply

    I very seldom make lasagna, because of the effort of making a bechamel sauce etc…..this is a sure easier way. Glad you’re back!

    • Ishay August 22, 2011 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Hi Nina. Yes, that bechamel- yet another pot! Happy to be back x

  3. Live to Eat August 22, 2011 at 5:57 am - Reply

    Hi Ishay. This sounds delicious. I love that you used ricotta. It makes for the BEST lasagne. x

    • Ishay August 22, 2011 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      Hi Berne. Feels so fresh and ‘clean’ eating ricotta. Will make this again.

  4. Meeta August 22, 2011 at 6:55 am - Reply

    Lasagna is always a massive hit with the family and I am always looking for new ideas. I love aubergine and have also often used it in lasagna! Awesome pictures1

    • Ishay August 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Meeta. Thank you- compliment means the world to me. You are a mentor after all! 😉

  5. janice tripepi August 22, 2011 at 8:31 am - Reply

    OOh – Ish this is soooo devine – I love brinjals in a lasagne or pasticcio. Love the snow pics! Have the most awesome week angel xxx jan

    • Ishay August 22, 2011 at 2:54 pm - Reply

      with you on the brinjals, sister. Happy Monday Jan x

  6. alambchop August 22, 2011 at 9:22 am - Reply

    YUM! will try it this weekend. thanks so much for posting the recipe

    • Ishay August 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm - Reply

      Thanks Lambie- because of you, I saved one little dish to photograph. all gone now, obvz!

  7. Pinkpolkadot August 22, 2011 at 10:37 am - Reply

    This sounds wonderful, Ishay – I love aubergines!! I like the small dish!! 🙂 I used mine late week and made aubergine rolls!

    • Ishay August 22, 2011 at 2:56 pm - Reply

      aaah, it’s a little cutie of a dish isn’t it? we’re very lucky to receive them from Le Creuset at the cooking class.

  8. Sara August 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Hi Ishay – Thanks for recommending using a Teflon® non-stick pan while making your Aubergine Chilli Lasagna. I represent DuPont and it’s always a pleasure to see people recommending our products in their recipes.

    If you are interested in some other recipes, I would be glad to help you out! Thanks. Cheers, Sara

  9. Theresa August 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Love the look of this lasagne. Please let me know what brand of lasagne you used as am always on the lookout for low gi obtions. Thanks

    • Ishay August 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm - Reply

      Hi Theresa
      Thanks for stopping by.
      The make is Fine Form…it is substantially more expensive than conventional wheat lasagne, but has the added benefit of being 20% lower G.I.
      Hope you will find some.

  10. Dave November 14, 2011 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Hi Ishay. Saw this on No Meat Mondays and made it last week – used a whole whack more fresh chillis and did the uncooked pasta sheets. It turned out fantastically. Thanks and keep up the good work!

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