This end of summer meal is so sweet and savory, you’ll never know it’s meatless. Serve with a couple of slices of crusty bread so you can scoop all remaining traces of leftover tomato sauce on your plate. Remember, fresh ingredients are best! Recipe serves 4 – 6.
2 or 3 medium sized eggplants, cut into 1/2″ thick slices
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can of tomato sauce
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp. oregano, chopped
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt (for sauce)
1 tbsp. salt (for soaking)
Fill a large bowl or pot with lukewarm water. Add 1 tbsp. salt to the water and stir until dissolved. Add eggplant slices to the salted water and place a plate on top to keep the slices submerged under water. Let eggplant sit in water for 15 – 20 minutes to take the bitterness out. While eggplant is soaking, chop your tomatoes, garlic, and oregano.
In a saute pan, add your olive oil and heat to medium temperature. Add the chopped garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add diced tomatoes and sauté until tomatoes start to soften . Add 1 can of tomato sauce, salt, and oregano. Stir to mix and reduce heat to simmer about 25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450°. While sauce is cooking, drain the water from the eggplant slices. Fill bowl/pot back up with fresh water to rinse the salt from the eggplant slices, then drain again. Place the eggplant slices onto a large baking sheet. Lightly spray olive oil over the eggplant slices (both sides) and place into oven. Cook until lightly browned (about 10 minutes) and turn over to brown the other side (another 10 minutes.) When eggplant starts to shrivel a little, remove from oven. Reduce the heat of the oven down to 400°. Also, turn off heat on stove to let sauce rest.
In a large casserole dish, spoon a little bit of the sauce on the bottom and spread to cover. Start layering the eggplant slices on the bottom, followed by more sauce and mozzarella cheese. Continue this process until all eggplant has been used. Be sure to reserve enough sauce to cover the top of the casserole. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top, followed by the parmesan cheese. Return to the oven to bake for another 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and bubbling. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.