I’m on a roll here with underrated superfoods. Eggplant is often forgotten or thought of as an oil-absorbing sponge, but when give a little TLC it becomes a creamy melt-in-your-mouth delight. With very few Calories, loads of fiber, a low glycemic index, dark purple skin packed with anthocyanin phytochemicals, and a role in heart, glycemic, and GI health, this vegetable is a dietitian’s dream.
Now to make it a dream for your mouth!
When I eat out, I like to pick dishes that I don’t know how to make or that I wouldn’t make at home due to their complexity, amount of ingredients, or challenging cooking method (for me that means deep frying). When Thai food is on the menu, it’s a given that I will be ordering Basil Eggplant. Stir-frying eggplant in oil always leaves me with an oily and undercooked mess in my wok so I take my eggplant to the oven.
Baking eggplant is easy and I dare say foolproof. It comes out tender and a ready vehicle for sauces, and in this case, vegan cheese.
This recipe will make an eggplant-lover (or at least liker) out of you! As you can see, there are just a few main ingredients, which mixed with some spices and Daiya cheese make for an impressive dish. Oh, this old thing?
While the eggplant does its first bake, the sauce comes together in mere minutes. Then some quick layering and into the oven for the second and final bake. All there’s left to do is eat and make friends with your new favorite vegetable.
1 large Japanese eggplant (~12-16oz)
Coconut oil spray or 1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
28oz can crushed tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup Daiya mozzarella style shreds, divided
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut eggplant into 1/2” slices and place on baking sheet. Spray eggplant slices with coconut oil spray and sprinkle with salt. Play tray in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until soft.
Add coconut oil to a large sauté pan and place on medium-high heat. When oil is ready, add the garlic and onion. Sauté about 3 minutes or until browning nicely. Turn the heat down to low, add the crushed tomatoes, spices, and salt, and simmer for another minute. Remove pan from heat.
Grease an 8” square casserole dish. Put half the prepared sauce in the bottom and top with half of the eggplant slices. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the Daiya mozzarella. Repeat with the other half of the sauce followed by the other half of eggplant and the last 1/2 cup of Daiya. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Then turn the oven to a high broil for another 5 minutes.
Bubbling cheesy eggplant. Dinner’s ready!