(This versatile veggie contains manganese(bone and skin health), potassium, antioxidants, fiber, folate, and other B vitamins.)
I remember having a heavy dislike for eggplant when I was a child. Thankfully, it turns out that I just hadn’t had it the right way for me yet. Experiencing eggplant parmesan changed that. Because yes, what vegetable will one not readily eat that is thickly breaded and deep fried?
Like many modifications we have gradually made, both to save time and health, my Basil Pomodoro On Roasted Eggplant is a lighter but solidly reminiscent of eggplant parmesan.
When choosing eggplants at the market, you want them to be soft enough to push into just slightly but not so much so that you would leave an indentation. I cut my ends first.
For as spongy and watery as an eggplant can be, it can take a while to cook through well. I cannot stand it raw; tastes too eggplant-y! I find 1/2 inch thick rounds are perfect.
I then scatter my slices and sprinkle with salt to pull out some of the water as well as neutralize the natural bitterness.
I move onto my sauce during this. My basil runneth over currently. These are the only canned tomatoes I had in my cabinet and I really think you can use any type for this recipe. I start by preparing the sauce next so that it can simmer through the eggplant part.
Blending all of the ingredients is a super duper shortcut.
Because of the green from the fresh basil, the sauce will initially look this creamy red-orange color but richen into a darker red.
I brought it to bubbling with the lid on, removed the lid, lowered the heat, and allowed the excess water to cook off as it simmered.
I added in some parmesan both for taste and as I mention in this post, I find it more efficient to go ahead and combine in what I would normally use as a topping anyway. A pat of butter marries it all together.
Return to the eggplant slices. There will be tiny drops of moisture which you can blot with a paper towel or clean dish cloth. Some do this process on both sides, but I generally only salt ‘n blot on one side.
Into the oven they went on parchment lined baking sheets.
I initially forget to oil them! So halfway through, I flipped each piece over and only oiled and seasoned that face.
The eggplant browns beautifully during roasting and becomes tender, smoky, and caramelized.
Side note: I also use roasted eggplant in sandwiches, as a pizza topping, to snack on, top salads with, and as a side with rice, couscous, or hummus.
I layered it slightly overlapping in a serving dish which made a nice presentation.
We had enough leftover eggplant, sauce, and cheese to make a mini casserole for the next day!
It was soooo melt in your mouth good.
Basil Pomodoro On Roasted Eggplant
GF, GRF, NF
Roasted Eggplant Ingredients:
2 large, 3 medium, or 4 small eggplants – sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds – can peel if prefer
Olive oil on hand
Salt and pepper to taste
Roasted Eggplant Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
After slicing eggplant, arrange side by side and sprinkle with salt.
Start sauce directions below.
When returning to eggplant, blot slices with a cloth or paper towel.
Place on a greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet(s) and bake for 15 minutes.
Flip over, drizzle or brush on olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake 15 more minutes.
Basil Pomodoro Ingredients:
One 28 oz can or two 14-15 oz cans of diced, fire roasted, or whole tomatoes
1 small red onion or 2 shallots, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2-1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, about 10-15 whole leaves
A “pat” of butter, about 1 tsp
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsalmic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt (can adjust)
Freshly ground black pepper
Basil Pomodoro Directions:
Blend all ingredients except butter until smooth.
Place in a pot/sauce pan, cover, and bring to a boil on medium high heat.
Lower heat to the minimum setting, uncover, add butter, and simmer 30 minutes.
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
For spice, can consider red pepper flakes
Can replace the fresh basil with 2 tsp dried basil
Can omit garlic if needed
The dish can be assembled several ways. You can bake it all together to serve as a casserole, make stacks alternating eggplant/sauce/cheese, or do individual portions like we did. Taking a few pieces onto our plate, spreading on sauce, and sprinkling on the cheese while hot or reheating to melt.