Wanted: Layers of cheese and sauce that bake together and make the house smell delicious. *Noodles need not apply.
Eggplant is not only a beautiful fruit on its own, but a perfect substitution for noodles. It provides a meaty texture and offers up plenty of fiber and vitamins to make this a healthy dish.
Don’t you love the natural rich purple hue? So many recipes want to bread and fry it, which I find totally unnecessary. Just a little oil and a grill pan and it’s ready for layering.
Make sure to cook enough to soften it, but not so much that it turns mushy. It holds quite a bit of water, so draining on paper towels helps draw out some of the moisture.
In a perfect world, my whole family eats this. In my world, my husband eats one piece, while the rest if for me. There’s only so much I can eat, so I individually wrap a few portions and freeze for a quick lunch or dinner when I am pressed for time.
I read that there is an ancient misconception that eggplant can make you crazy. No way! I eat it ALL the time and I am perfectly sane in my own kind of way. Mostly. Well, kind of. So maybe I am a bit crazy, but the eggplant surely isn’t to blame. Either way, give it a try!
- 2 medium eggplants, sliced lengthwise
- Olive oil for grilling
- 1 cup mozzarella, shredded- divided
- 1 1/2 marinara- divided
- 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 15 oz Ricotta
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Lightly oil a grill pan and grill eggplant on both sides in batches.
- Drain on paper towels. I scrape as many seeds out as I can.
- In a mixing bowl, combine Ricotta, egg, and Parmesan.
- Spray a 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Arrange slices of eggplant to completely cover the bottom of pan. A little overlap is ok.
- Evenly spread half of the cheese mixture over eggplant, top with 1/2 cup marinara, and 1/4 cup mozzarella.
- Repeat layer with eggplant, topping with other half of cheese and same amounts of marinara and mozzarella.
- Arrange final layer of eggplant on top.
- Top with 1/2 cup marinara and 1/2 cup mozzarella.
- Cover with nonstick foil or parchment paper layered with foil on top.
- Place baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 35 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes.
- Let cool 10-15 minutes before slicing.
After the first slice, you may see water in the pan. Just remove excess with a spoon before cutting the other pieces.
To serve, top with toasted breadcrumbs and fresh basil.