Is there anything more delightful than an eggplant? THAT WAS A TRICK QUESTION. Because the answer is yes: roasted eggplant, which is in fact marginally more delightful than just regular eggplant.
For those who require examples of the aforementioned delight: baba ganoush, ratatouille, stir fry, moussaka – the (delightful) possibilities are simply endless for this glossy, purple fruit! It also boasts an impressive array of many vitamins and minerals, such as excellent amounts of fiber, folate, potassium and manganese, as well as vitamins C, K, and B6, phosphorus, copper, thiamin, niacin, and magnesium. It even contains phytonutrients with high antioxidant compounds.
But let’s not kid ourselves. What’s the first thing you think of when you think of eggplant dishes? That’s right. This fine aubergine is usually just relegated to second fiddle in an eggplant parmesan – breaded, fried, and reduced to mush under a mountain of sauce and cheese.
Now, I won’t even lie. I am entirely ok with the mountain of sauce and cheese. So let’s work on everything else.
AS PROMISED: mountains of sauce and cheese.
Baked, grilled, roasted – nothing brings out the ~*~rich complexity~*~ in an eggplant’s flavor than some lovin’ in the oven (…or grill). Plus, with its dense, robust texture, it makes an excellent substitute for meat in vegetarian or vegan cuisine.
So let’s keep it classic. We want sauce, we want cheese, and we want eggplant playing a better role than ‘breadcrumb vehicle’. Here’s an idea: ROASTED EGGPLANT LASAGNA (this is where you get excited because I said just the title of the
movie post). Now it’s low carb, gluten free, and still accessible to our vegetarian friends!!
Roasted Eggplant Lasagna (low carb, gluten free, vegetarian)
Yields: Around 8 servings
3-4 medium to large eggplants
Olive oil spray AND/OR about 3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, seasonings of choice (I used Penzeys Italian Herb Mix, which includes oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme and rosemary)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (I used a ‘no salt added’ variety)
1 16 oz. jar no sugar added tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 to 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (I used part-skim mozzarella)
Chopped parsley, for topping
Preheat the oven to 400º, and line a large baking sheet (or sheets) with aluminum foil. Spray or drizzle with olive oil.
Slice eggplant and lay on baking sheet(s) in a single layer. Lightly salt and season, and spray, brush, or drizzle with olive oil again.
Place in oven and roast for 30 – 45 minutes, flipping each slice over about halfway through. (NOTE: if some slices are thinner than others, they may brown and crisp up – these make AWESOME eggplant chips and are excellent for snacking on. NO MISTAKES HERE.)
While eggplant roasts, pour the diced tomatoes into a colander placed in the sink, and allow to drain.
Spread about 1/4 cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of a large casserole dish. Layer with roasted eggplant, and then top with the drained diced tomatoes. Sprinkle about 2 tbsp parmesan and 1/2 cup of mozzarella, and then continue layering with eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheeses until eggplant runs out. Make sure you finish with a glorious layer of mozzarella and parmesan!
Bake about 30-40 minutes, or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Top with fresh chopped parsley, and serve hot.
Nutritional Info (as calculated with olive oil spray):