There is something so comforting about a hot casserole dish filled with tomato sauce and cheese. While lasagna often is the go-to recipe for such a craving, I offer to you an easier but just as satisfying vegetarian option. Taking the delicious flavors of a classic eggplant parmesan, this dish consists of baked eggplant, instead of fried, slices of tomato with tomato sauce, garlic, fresh basil and of course ooey-gooey cheese. While I used jarred marinara sauce to keep it simple, you could add even more depth of flavor with homemade sauce.
- 2 Eggplants
- 4 Large Tomatoes
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Cup Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs
- 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Bag Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- Small Mozzarella Balls
- 1 Jar Spaghetti Sauce (or homemade)
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
- Fresh Basil, chiffonade
- Salt & Pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Trim the stem of the eggplant, and cut into ½-inch thick round discs. Generously sprinkle pieces with coarse salt. Place them in a non-reactive colander and let drain for 30 to 60 minutes. Turn onto a thick towel and gently press out excess moisture. Lightly rub the pieces in the towel to rub off the salt and dry them. This process makes the eggplant less bitter.
On two separate plates, mix two eggs with a small amount of water and on the other plate mix the whole wheat bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese, and salt & pepper.
Dip each eggplant disc into the eggs, covering completely, and then dredge them into the mixture of bread crumbs and cheese. *If you would prefer not breading the eggplant you could simply roast them. Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.*
Arrange the eggplant in a single layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until they start to brown.
While the eggplant is cooking, slice the tomatoes and chop the basil and garlic.
In an oven-safe casserole dish, pour a small layer of tomato sauce into the bottom of the dish. Next, place a layer of the baked eggplant. On top of each eggplant, place a slice of tomato, and a mozzarella ball. Then spread some of the chopped garlic, fresh basil, and shredded parmesan over the entire dish. Pour more sauce into the dish. Continue to stack the items until the dish is filled, finishing with the tomatoes and melted mozzarella on top.
Bake the dish for 30 minutes, or until the sides start to bubble. When done cooking, sprinkle with more fresh basil, salt and pepper.