I became obsessed with slow cooker lasagna as a faithful Weight Watcher. It was great because it was real food, and a few noodles went a long way. Not to mention that I didn’t have to boil anything ahead of time. Talk about a triple threat! For the longest time, though, I was nervous to tinker with or create slow cooker recipes, because that’s a lot of food to ruin all at once. I’m glad I got over this fear, because this Slow Cooker Lasagna with Sausage and Eggplant is delicious! It has a chunky, flavorful homemade sauce layered with creamy, cheesy ricotta and noodles. Perfect for a family meal without the hassle, just let the slow cooker do all the work!
The homemade sauce is the most hands-on part of the recipe. But it really makes a different because it’s rich, chunky, and flavorful. My tip? Make it when you have time and keep it in the fridge or freezer. If you do, this comes together in minutes and the slow cooker takes care of the rest.
This recipe also has some major cheese action going on. If you’re looking to cut calories even further, you can always cut back on the cheese, but we probably can’t be friends after that (kidding…kind of).
So….if you go to serve right away, you’re going to get a cheesy, delicious scoop of unrecognizable food (see above and below). It will taste absolutely amazing, but you won’t have those distinct lasagna layers. If that’s important to you, then you can easily make this ahead of time and refrigerate it. When ready to serve, slice and reheat the individual servings. It makes for prettier slices and dinner in minutes!
I’m thinking I’ll make gallons of this sauce and keep in the freezer. If I do, I’ll probably be making this on a weekly basis. Okay, maybe daily…
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small eggplant (peeled and chopped)
- 1 yellow onion (diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 pound raw Italian chicken sausage** (casings removed)
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella (shredded and divided)
- 6 uncooked lasagna noodles (about 4-5 ounces dried)
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
Put the chopped eggplant into a colander in the sink and season liberally with salt and pepper. Allow that to sit for about 30 minutes, rinse thoroughly, and pat dry. This prevents the eggplant from getting bitter.
Heat oil in a dutch oven or large skillet. Cook onion for 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook, stirring for an additional minute.
Add the sausage and cook, breaking into small pieces, until browned (about 10 minutes).
Add the eggplant, oregano, basil, red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the tomato paste and stir until combined. Add the crushed tomatoes, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and then simmer for about 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and 1 cup of the mozzarella.
Spoon 1/3 of the sauce into the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with 3 lasagna noodles (broken in half/pieces), then top with half of the cheese mixture. Repeat with another 1/3 of the sauce, 3 noodles and half of the cheese. Finish with the remaining sauce on the top.
Cook on low for 4 hours.
When done, combine the parmesan with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella. Spread on the top of the lasagna, then cover and let sit for about 10-15 minutes until melted.***
*Feel free to make the sauce ahead of time – that makes this really a really quick recipe with very little hands on time.
**I used regular Italian chicken sausage, but you can use spicy or sweet, as per your taste.
***Spooned right out of the slow cooker, this doesn’t exactly resemble lasagna, but it’s delicious. If you like to see the layers in every slice, my recommendation is to make this the day before and keep it in the fridge. Then, it's easy to slice into 6 even servings and scoop out something resembling gorgeous lasagna.
For 1/6 of the recipe: Calories 516 ~ Total Fat 23 g ~ Saturated Fat 12 g ~ Trans Fat 0 g ~ Cholesterol 56 mg ~ Sodium 1652 mg ~ Potassium 602 mg ~ Total Carbohydrate 36 g ~ Dietary Fiber 6 g ~ Sugars 12 g ~ Protein 46 g