Saturday, September 10, 2011

Baked Three Cheese Eggplant

Reasons to try this:
1.  It's a vegetarian meal that doesn't include pasta
2.  How often do you eat eggplant as a main dish?
3.  Use up the rest of your ricotta cheese after making lasagna!
4.  It's a sneaky way to make your husband or whoever you will share this with eat healthy greens!

Okay, so this dish is baked eggplant topped with tomatoes, onions and spinach (or in my case, whatever greens I had from the CSA), then cheese and tomato sauce.  This was one of those recipes that I made with what was in my fridge, so we missed the yummy ricotta cheese.  The other thing that I modified in this recipe was the amount of sauce.  It called for 3/4 cup sauce.  I used an entire jar of Marinara.  What can I say? We like sauce!

Lastly... don't stack your eggplant.  Make sure it can all touch the bottom of the pan.  I had two pieces that didn't fit that I stacked on the others, and they weren't cooked as much as the others.

The recipe below includes my adjustment of sauce, but has the original directions for spinach and ricotta cheese.

Spinach (oops, I used random greens instead), tomatoes, onions, and garlic

Baked Three Cheese Eggplant
1 eggplant
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
• 1 tablespoon garlic powder, or to taste
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 10 oz. package fresh spinach leaves
• 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
• 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
• 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
• 1 jar of your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce
• 2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds.  Place on a baking sheet, brushing both sides with olive oil.  Sprinkle garlic powder on top and bake for 10 minutes.

2.  Heat pan to medium.  Add onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes.  Add chopped tomatoes and spinach.  Cook and stir for a few minutes, until tomatoes have released their juices.  In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozz. cheese, 1/2 cup parm. cheese.  Set aside.

3.  Place the eggplant in a greased 9x13 pan.  Top with spinach and tomato mixture.  Spoon the cheese mixture on top.  Pour pasta sauce over the cheese, and top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

4.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until eggplant can be easily pierced with a fork.

Layered, before baking


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