Eggplant is always on sale at my grocery store week-after-week, and since it’s the Lenten season right now, I’ve been looking for vegetarian recipes that are hearty and filling. (We eat way too much meat in our house). I discovered this recipe from Laura Calder, who is my all time favorite chef. She used to have a show called French Food at Home, which I discovered on YouTube many years ago.
I don’t have all the ingredients she uses, so I just used what was in my kitchen. I don’t keep tomatoes on hand – my husband doesn’t like the texture of them, so I only have grape or cherry tomatoes that I keep on hand for salads. We always have diced tomatoes, so I used that to create the sauce. Topped breadcrumbs with cheese, this vegetarian recipe is amazing.
(If you want to make it vegan, you can always omit the cheese.)
Eggplant has a firm texture that makes it such a perfect meat substitute. You don’t even miss the meat. It’s quite filling and such a perfect Friday night meal. If you have fresh basil on hand, chop it up and sprinkle on top. It makes for a tasty addition.
Enjoy and happy eating!
Quick and Simple Eggplant and Tomato Gratin
For Roast Eggplant
- 2 eggplant, sliced about 1/2" thick
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the Tomato Sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp white sugar
- A handful of fresh basil or other Italian herbs, chopped (optional)
For the Gratin
- 4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
Roast the Eggplant
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Slice the eggplants into thick slices. Brush them with olive oil on both sides. Lay them on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minute, or until they're golden brown. Turn and bake the other side for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
Make the Tomato Sauce
- While the eggplants are in the oven, make the tomato sauce.In a saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and the sliced onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are soft, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add garlic powder and salt and pepper, to taste.
- Add the can of diced tomatoes, bay leaf, and sugar. Bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the fresh herbs, if available. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring often.
Putting Everything Together
- Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of the freshly grated Parmesan cheese with the breadcrumbs.
- Butter a baking dish. Smear tomato sauce on the bottom. Layer the roasted eggplant slices. Then top with the breadcrumb-cheese mixture. Repeat until the dish is full or you run out of ingredients. Scatter the remaining Parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is golden.