Category Archives: Vegetarian Dishes

No-Fry Eggplant Lasagna

No-Fry Eggplant Lasagna

IMG_3205Winter finally arrived in Atlanta this weekend. It is Sunday, December 20th and we had our first really cold weather hit on Friday night! It is unbelievable that it is mid December and we are experiencing temperatures in the early 70’s F or low 20’s C. I am not complaining as I really don’t like the cold, so having this beautiful weather has been a real treat. However, as soon as it gets cold, I want some hot wholesome food. I had an eggplant in the fridge, and I was going to make eggplant parmesan with it, but then I decided to create a new recipe and make an eggplant lasagna. Somehow this makes it a full meal for me, pasta, vegetables, sauce, cheese. What could be yummier?

I have to confess though that I did take a short cut. I used a store bought garlic marinara sauce. In the past I have not allowed myself to do this, and I have first taken the time to make my own marinara sauce, but today I gave myself permission to use a store bought sauce, and I must admit it still turned out pretty well. It saved time and effort, and I was able to prepare the entire dish in under half an hour.

I also did not stand dipping the eggplant in an egg wash, then into bread crumbs and  thereafter fryi it. Today I sliced the eggplant, placed the slices on a baking tray and pre-baked them. More details about this in the recipe. This too saved time and energy, but more importantly, it made this dish so much healthier. For those of you that know me, you know I really do try to eat as healthily as I can, so I try to cook healthily too. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did.

Ingredients

Olive oil spray and cook
1 eggplant sliced into about 1/8 inch (1/2 cm) slices
9 sheets no boil lasagna sheets
1 lb. jar garlic marinara sauce
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup low fat milk
2 Tbs. fresh oregano coarsely chopped
salt, pepper
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs

Method

Lightly spray a baking pan with spray and cook. Place sliced eggplant in a single layer on to tray. Spray the tops of the eggplant with the cook and spray. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop up the oregano, and set aside.
Mix the milk and Greek yoghurt together to get a smooth consistency and set aside.
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Mix the bread crumbs with 1/2 cup of the parmesan.

Coat the bottom of a 9×13″ casserole dish with a layer of the marinara sauce

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Place three pasta sheets on top of it, 2 next to each other, and the 3rd broken in half to fill the rest of the dish.
Cover the pasta with a layer of the yoghurt and milk mixture.IMG_3199IMG_3200IMG_3201
By now the eggplant should be ready to remove from oven, do not switch oven off as you will be returning the whole dish to the oven in just a few moments.
Place a layer of eggplant slices over yoghurt and milk sauce.
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Sprinkle some oregano, a little salt and pepper over the eggplant, and then generously sprinkle some parmesan on top of the eggplant.
Coat one side of the next layer of pasta with the yoghurt and milk mixture, and lay coated side on top of the eggplant covered in cheese.
Repeat the layer of marinara sauce, eggplant slices, seasonings, and cheese.
Finally place a layer of marinara sauce over the eggplant covered in cheese and top with the breadcrumb mixture.IMG_3204
Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to settle for 5 minutes before cutting out a large piece of this delicious lasagna.IMG_3206IMG_3207

Eggplant and Butternut Squash Curry

I mentioned a while back that I am really into eggplant at the moment, so here is another eggplant recipe. This is not a meat dish, but a vegetarian curry. It is filled with a delicious blend of flavors, and the taste is not of a hot, burning curry, but rather of a flavorsome blend of delicious herbs and spices. I learned to blend my own spices for curries back in Johannesburg when I attended an  Indian vegetarian cooking course. I have always practiced what I learned then, and to be honest, I really prefer a curry with my own blended spices than a curry I make with just curry powder. So go on, give it a try, and let me know what you think.

Curried Eggplant and Butternut Squash Curry over Steamed Brown Rice

 

Eggplant and Butternut Squash Curry

Ingredients

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion coarsely chopped
2 cubes frozen garlic or 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger
2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed, finely chopped

Fresh Jalopena chillies

Fresh Jalapeno chillies1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 large eggplant cut into cubes
1 lb. diced butternut squash (available from certain supermarkets already diced or peel and dice your own)
10 oz. sliced button mushrooms
1 large slicing tomato – coarsely diced
1 packet extra firm tofu
2 tsp. dried coriander
1and1/2 tsp. dried cumin
2 tsp. paprika
3 tsp. strong curry powder
2 – 3 cups water
6 oz. thick creamy canned coconut milk
1 avocado pear diced
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro leaves (optional)

Method

Heat olive oil in a deep skillet or sautee pan. Add the garlic, ginger and jalapeño peppers. Cook for a minute so that the flavors can diffuse into the oil.
Add the chopped onions, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until they begin to caramelize.
Add the diced butternut and cook on medium heat, stirring the ingredients from time to time to avoid them sticking to pan or burning

Diced butternut and eggplant

Diced butternut and eggplant

Add the diced eggplant and continue cooking. If the vegetables start to stick to pan, add a 1/2 cup of water and let them cook till the water is fully absorbed.
Add the pepper, cumin, coriander, paprika and curry powder and mix well.

 

 

 

Chopped mushrooms and fresh corriander and spices being added

Chopped mushrooms and fresh cilantro and spices being added

 

 

Add the sliced mushrooms and let them cook till they soften. Add a little more salt.
Add the diced tomato and let the vegetables cook a little more.
Cover the vegetables with the water, and let them cook at a low heat.
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Cut the tofu into cubes and add to the vegetable mix.

Tofu added to the vegetables covered with water

Tofu added to the vegetables covered with water

Vegetables should absorb all the flavors and cook till tender, but not too soft that they become mushy.

 

 
Add the coconut milk and let it dissolve in the curry, and just before you are ready to serve, fold in the diced avocado pear.

Cooked curry with fresh avocado pear added

Cooked curry with fresh avocado pear added

This dish is delicious served with steamed brown  or white rice  and a chopped Israeli salad. I also sometimes serve a type of raita with Greek yoghurt blended with some salt, cumin, and coriander.