Zucchini replaces eggplant here. Beef can sub for the lamb. If you don’t have any tomato sauce on hand, use 1/4 c tomato paste and 1/4 c water; or ketchup; or add an extra tomato.
8 c zucchini, thickly sliced
1 T salt
2-lbs ground lamb
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/2 c tomato sauce
1/4 t chili powder
2 T chopped fresh mint or oregano, or 2 t dried
2 t thyme or lemon thyme leaves, or 1/2 t dried
1/2 t ground cinnamon
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2-lb Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/4 c olive oil
1. Combine zucchini and salt in a colander to drain for 30 minutes.
2. Put the lamb, onion, and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned and the onion is soft, 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Drain off the fat and add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, mint or oregano, thyme, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Mix well and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350ºF and oil a 9- x 13 x 2-inch baking pan or lasagna pan.
5. Lightly rinse the zucchini slices to get rid of the salt and pat dry. Heat olive oil in another large skillet and saute the zucchini, in batches, until tender-crisp, about five minutes total per batch.
6. Transfer about a third of the sauteed zucchini to the baking dish. Top with half the meat/tomato mixture, followed by a third of the cheese. Add another third of zucchini, the rest of the meat/tomato mixture, and a third of the cheese. Top with remaining zucchini and remaining cheese.
7. Bake for 30 minutes, until heated through. Serve hot.