There’s not much more satisfying than picking something from the garden to prepare immediately for dinner. It also softens the grocery bill a good bit. However, for me, sometimes it’s out of pure laziness and lack of planning that I have to shop the garden at the last minute to get something on the table. That was last night.
We have lots of shapely Japanese eggplant ripe and ready, so it became the base of my meal. This dish morphed into a mix of vegetable lasagna and eggplant Parmesan, though it’s end consistency was more like a casserole than anything else. (Experiments- they can be risky!)
Since I made this up as I went along, feel free to alter it according to what you have on hand. The goal is to use up what you have and turn it into something scrumptious. Here’s what went into mine:
- 1 26-oz jar prepared spaghetti sauce
- 3 Japanese eggplant (or about 2 traditional), sliced in 1/4″ rounds.
- 2 bell peppers, any color (I alternated red and green), sliced in rounds.
- 1/2 thinly sliced red onion
- 2 heads garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- salt & pepper
- Mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- 2 large Roma or Amish Paste tomatoes, sliced thickly.
- Optional- browned ground beef, or cooked shredded chicken
To prep: If you want to help take out some of the moisture from the eggplant, slice it, lay it out on a baking sheet with some salt, and roast it for 15 minutes at 400. I skipped this step and mine turned out slightly soupy but still delicious. It just depends on your preference.
1) Prepare all vegetables as directed. Combine garlic, fresh herbs, and salt and pepper in a small bowl (feel free to sub dried spices if needed). Preheat oven to 400. Lay out ingredients and get ready to layer lasagna- style.
2) Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Lay sliced eggplant in a single layer. Continue to lay consecutive layers covering the pan with the sliced peppers, sliced red onion, a sprinkling of the herb/spice mixture, about 1/4 cup mozzerella, and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Start again with a layer of sauce and repeat the entire process 2 more times.
Here’s what one layer looked like for me:
3) After you have three layers of vegetable, top with sauce, sliced Roma tomatoes, and additional cheese.
4) Bake at 400 for 25-35 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling, cheese is golden, and the top layer of tomatoes have slightly brown, crisp edges. Let set for 10-15 minutes before scooping.
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. 🙂