Happy Friday! What are you looking forward to this weekend? I love to use a weekend day to do meal prep for the week ahead. As the weather gets colder, I love things like soups, stews, and casseroles packed with vegetables and hearty beans, lentils, and the like. This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is plant power bowls, so today I’m sharing a vegan recipe that I’ve been obsessing over lately.
Almost every week I make a batch of roasted eggplant rounds to use in salads, cooked dishes, or as a topping for toast. Turns out it’s also delicious in casseroles. This dish is based on a New York Times recipe that I’ve gradually tweaked as I find my personal sweet spot. If you’re looking for a filling meatless dinner, this hits all the right notes. I hope you enjoy it!
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch half-moons
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- optional: tahini
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Prick spaghetti squash several times and place with 1-2 cups water in a large baking dish. Cook until outside is soft. Set aside and allow to cool. When safe to handle, cut squash in half. Remove the seeds and then use a fork to scoop out the inside.
- While squash cooks, brush or spray eggplant with olive oil on each side and sprinkle salt on top, Spread pieces on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes on each side until browned.
- Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and cook another minute until fragrant. Add tomato, tomato paste, cinnamon, and basil. Bring to a boil and then lower heat. Add chickpeas. Stir well to combine. Simmer on low 25 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a square baking dish, layer tomato sauce and then eggplant slices. Add another layer or sauce, then eggplant, and top with sauce. Bake until sauce is bubbling, about 25 – 30 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing.
- To serve, place spaghetti squash in a bowl and top with eggplant casserole. Top with a drizzle of tahini, if desired.
Variations: For a lower-carb version, use greens or cauliflower rice instead of spaghetti squash. For a non-vegan twist, top with goat or feta cheese. You can also cook in sliced sausage or meat. I think lamb would be particularly delicious.
What’s your favorite meatless meal?