Vegetarian week continues with one of my favourite recipes of all time – Eggplant Layered Casserole!
Welcome back to another veggie-week recipe. This simple casserole makes a great main course or a wonderful side to fresh pasta. When I was a teenager, I used to make this Eggplant Layered Casserole once a week, I really love it. Maybe what I really love are eggplants – why don’t we eat them more? They can be roasted or grilled to a firm, meat-like texture, or steamed and mashed like in this recipe.
Eggplants are delicious and versatile. The raw fruit can have a somewhat bitter taste, but become tender when cooked and develop a rich, complex flavour. Many older recipes advise salting, rinsing and draining eggplant slices, to soften it and to remove the bitterness. THIS IS A MODERN MYTH. It may have been true decades ago, but modern varieties do not need this at all.
I can’t take all the credit for this recipe. I got the initial recipe from a fantastic book The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas, that I’ve had since 1976! It must be great, because you can still buy it today – go get it! I’ve adapted it quite a bit, to what I think is eggplant perfection.
One of the things I love about casseroles, is that they can be made days in advance. They store well in the refrigerator and as the flavours meld, they taste even better days later. This Eggplant Layered Casserole is no exception to that rule, overnight the flavours just get more rich and delicious.
Don’t forget to check out my other veggie recipes, for great meal time inspiration. For many of you, using eggplant may be out of your comfort zone, but dive in and try it, you’ll thank me… I promise!
- 3 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ⅓ cup onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- ½ cup dry breadcrumbs (I use panko)
- 2 large tomatoes, sliced
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 1-1/2 quart baking dish.
- Place the eggplant slices in a large pan with salt and 1" boiling water, Cover tightly and cook for 10 minutes. Drain well and mash.
- To the mashed eggplant add eggs, melted butter, pepper, onion, basil and breadcrumbs; mix well.
- Cover the bottom of the prepared dish with layers of half the eggplant mixture, then half the tomato slices and half the cheddar cheese. Repeat. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.