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Eggplant and parmesan lasagna boats


  • 3 medium to large eggplants
  • Salt, pepper and olive oil
  • 500 grams ground veal
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 6-8 leaves torn basil
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1-28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 cup parmigiano reggiano
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup mozzarella shredded


1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Halve the eggplants and using a pairing knife cut lines 3 lines into the eggplants without piercing the skin. Place the eggplants cut side up. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Flip the eggplants cut side down and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the inside has softened.

2. In the meantime, in a large sauté pan, warm olive oil on medium high heat and add the ground veal. Break up the veal using a wooden spoon, season with ground fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Allow the ground veal to brown, then add the onions and the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the parsley and basil.

3. Deglaze the pan with red wine and allow it to cook out. Add the San Marzano tomatoes and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce has reduced to a nice thick consistency. Check for proper seasoning then turn off the heat and reserve.

4. Remove the eggplants from the oven, allow them to cool until you can handle them. Scoop out the inside of the eggplant using a spoon and add into the veal and tomato mixture.

5. Transfer the eggplant shells into a baking dish, fill them with the veal and tomato mixture and top with grated parmigiano reggiano, a dollop of ricotta and shredded mozzarella cheese.

6. In a 400-degree oven place the eggplant lasagna boats into the oven and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted. I also like to broil then for a minute or two just to get that extra browning on the cheese. (optional)

Follow Vanessa Gianfrancesco:

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