Meatless Monday: Easy eggplant casserole makes a hearty vegetarian dinner
In my house, we love Italian food. Pizza, pasta and all the other staples always seem to find their way onto our dinner table. As good as those dishes are, I wanted to make something a bit more waistline friendly (and also vegetarian for my husband). This Sicilian eggplant casserole didn't disappoint.
For this rustic casserole, I took fresh eggplant that I sliced into rounds and lightly breaded them in panko breadcrumbs, then layered the slices with tomato sauce and creamy ricotta cheese.The eggplant bakes up perfectly tender and has a slight crispiness without being at all dry.
You can easily serve this on top of pasta or next to a side salad for an even heartier meal.
Easy Sicilian baked eggplant casserole recipe
Prep time: 20 minutes | Bake time: 40 minutes | Total time: 1 hour
For the Sicilian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
For the eggplant
- 2 cups any tomato pasta sauce
- 2 large eggplants
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-1/2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
- 12 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley, for garnish
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F, and spray a medium casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the Sicilian seasoning, and mix well.
- Slice the eggplant into 1-inch rounds, and place them between 2 layers of paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. Meanwhile, spread 1/2 the tomato sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish, and set aside.
- To a large bowl, add the eggplant, and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle the Sicilian seasonings on top, and toss the eggplant with your hands to evenly coat with the spices.
- On a large, shallow plate, place the breadcrumbs, and lightly coat all the eggplant slices.
- Layer the bottom of the baking dish with 1/2 the eggplant slices, then top with the ricotta cheese.
- Place the remaining eggplant on top of the cheese, and cover with the remaining tomato sauce.
- Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until the eggplant is tender and the cheese is golden brown. Garnish with fresh parsley, and serve warm.