Dairy-Free (Lactose) / Entree / Little Work / One-Pot / Sides/Sauces / Vegan

Zucchini, Eggplant & Bean Casserole

Eggplant and zucchini go hand-in-hand. They are the basis of caponata (see recipe from Manualla Zangara below), and are frequently found in Mediterranean cooking. Roasted eggplant takes on a smoky flavor, and is the staple ingredient in baba ghanoush. And zucchini – probably the most abundant vegetable in the height of summer. The best part about vegan/vegetarian food is that it can be a main dish or grill a piece of fish, chicken or meat and it becomes the perfect side to round out the meal. Other than if you cook the beans yourself, and instead use canned, this is truly a one-pot meal.

Greens, Beans & Eggplant 1

What is eggplant, and why is it called eggplant?

Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family. That’s not why it’s called eggplant, but thought it was in interesting fact. Tomatoes and potatoes are also part of this grouping. Eggplants grown in Europe were yellow or white and obviously egg shaped. Makes a bit more sense, no? Purple ones came from India. Typically the ones that one finds in the grocery store are the large purple ones, and every now and again the purple and white variegated ones called Japanese Eggplant. If you have an Indian or Turkish grocery store in your area, you can find the small ones that are truly the size of an extra large egg. They taste is similar, although not as bitter, and they are perfect to roast whole.

Greens, Beans & Eggplant 6

Layered cooking

Layered cooking is a way to ensure that parts of the recipe are cooked through without other parts burning. In this recipe, the eggplant and zucchini take a while to soften. I wanted the sauce to be an additional layer, rather than cooking into the eggplant and zucchini. Since the beans are precooked, again they add a layer, rather than needing to be cooked in the dish itself. So the idea with the sauce and beans it to heat them through.

Additional eggplant recipes to try:

Eggplant Rollatini by Giadia di Laurentiis from the Food Network
Indian Eggplant Curry (BHAINGAN BHARTA) from The Roasted Root
Aubergine Caponata by Manuala Zangara from Great Italian Chef’s

Additional zucchini recipes to try:

Zucchini Gratin by Ina Garten from The Food Network
Zucchini & Cheddar in Puff Pastry by Bleuberet

Greens, Beans & Eggplant Casserole

Prep Time: 15 min Cooking Time: 45 min

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplant, sliced thickly lengthwise
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced thickly lengthwise
  • 12 fl oz/350ml tomato purée
  • 8 oz/250g cooked cannelloni beans (DIY or canned)
  • 4 TBSP EVOO
  • sallt and pepper to season
  • 1 TBSP Italian seasoning blend, optional
  • fresh basil leaves for garnish

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.

2

Slice eggplant and zucchini lengthwise.

3

Pour enough oil in a baking dish or casserole pan to coat it.

4

Arrange the eggplant on the bottom, then the zucchini on top.

5

Sprinkle generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. (Italian herb seasoning should be added as well, if using.)

6

Pour remaining EVOO over the top o the zucchini.

7

Place in oven and cook until the eggplant and zucchini are softened (about 25-30 minutes, the cooking time will depend upon the size of the pan).

8

Remove from oven and pour tomato sauce over the cooked eggplant and zucchini. Top with the cooked beans and heat through.

9

May be served hot or at room temperature.

10

Garnish with fresh basil leaves before serving.

Notes

If making the beans instead of using canned, the beans need to be cooked ahead of time.

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