Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Baked eggplant with mushroom-tomato sauce

We've been experimenting with cooking a little...ugh...lighter here at The Airy Way lately.  I wish I could sound more enthusiastic about this but as I have opined many times in the past, what doesn't taste better drenched in olive oil/topped with avocado pieces/fried, etc.?

Nevertheless, I'm getting more used to it now, and should you wish to up the deliciousness quotient of this recipe, for instance, all you'd need to do is, you know, pour a little oil on every step in the process and you'll be good to go.

I got this recipe from here, inspired by part of an eggplant I needed to use up.  Kristen Swensson over at Cheap Healthy Good goes on and on about it, and it is good, sort of an eggplant parmesan thing but without all the oil and grease.  My version is even cheaper, healthier, and better than hers because it is (a) vegan; and (b) not baked with cheese.  That said, if you have a melty vegan cheese such as Daiya on hand, feel free to add a layer inside the casserole and another on top.  Here's what I did:

Baked eggplant with mushroom-tomato sauce
Serves 2

1/2 peeled eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1/2 pound) [Zoa's note; I did not peel my eggplant, but should have]
cooking spray
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
dash salt
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
black pepper
1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
grated cashew cheese and almonzano (for garnish)

Salt eggplant slices and place in colander on top of a plate. After 30 minutes, rinse eggplant thoroughly and pat down with paper towels. Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Lay eggplant out on the sheet and broil 8 minutes, flipping once, until both sides are a little brown.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 1/2 quart baking dish (round if possible) with cooking spray.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic, and mushrooms, and cover. Saute 7 or 8 minutes, until soft, lifting the cover to stir occasionally. Now remove the cover; if there's liquid in the pan, turn up the heat and cook on medium-high until it is mostly evaporated.

Pour half the mushroom/onion mixture into baking dish. Place half of the eggplant slices in a layer on top of that and sprinkle with pepper. Spread half of the tomato sauce on top of the eggplant. Repeat layers, cover with tinfoil or dish lid, and bake 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes.

I dished mine out over some whole wheat spaghetti, and only then added grated cashew cheese and almonzano. My thinking is that cashew cheese won't melt under the broiler, it only dries out, so why not leave it in its original state of raw deliciousness?

Admittedly, this was very good, even not doused with olive oil, and full of flavours. Of course it's the cashew cheese that just makes the dish, though, so don't omit it!


  1. Looks amazing, although I have yet to be able to get on board with whole wheat pasta (for Italian, anyway--I love soba noodles). Do you have a brand you like?

  2. Yum, this sounds great...I must try that cashew cheese recipe; it looks so good every time you use it.

  3. I don't have an eggplant appreciation, so I won't be making this one, just in case you were wondering. Glad you enjoyed it though.

  4. Thanks, everyone, it was good, though I wish I had peeled my eggplant ;-)

    Stacy, I love all whole wheat pasta, and soba noodles, and noodles of all kinds generally, and just buy anything that's on sale.

    Rose, you'd love the cashew cheese, I think. At least, every time I have some I like it more.

  5. Hi there, I came across your blog in my search for umeboshi - and I'm delighted to find you. I'll be back often. Could you please tell me where in Edmonton you found umeboshi? Thanks!

  6. Hi, Laura, and welcome! I found my umeboshi at the T&T store at West Edmonton Mall--it's there in the form of the pickled plums and the vinegar (at least).

  7. Sounds delicious and healthy! For Stacy: Whole Foods 365 brand ww noodles are surprisingly inexpensive and very good. I also like Bionaturae, or whatever it's called.