Italian Eggplant Bake

If you’ve ever had eggplant cooked correctly, you know that it is incredibly creamy and satisfying (not to mention full of fiber!). IMHO, you can’t go wrong anytime you cook *anything* with tomatoes, onions, garlic and Italian herbs. So, when I realized that I needed to add more vegetables to my diet, this was an obvious choice (why is it that when I stop paying attention, my diet slowly morphs into just bread and cheese?). Anyway, this is what I have been eating this week with my calzones!

Italian Eggplant Bake

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Total Recipe cost: $4.98
Servings Per Recipe: 8+
Cost per serving: $0.62
Compare at: $2.49 for one side of veggies at a restaurant
Prep time: 10 min. Cook time: 60 min. Total: 1 hr. 10 min.

2 medium eggplants $2.25
1 medium yellow onion $0.40
1 whole bulb fresh garlic $0.25
6 roma tomatoes $1.23
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil $0.62
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.08
1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
to taste salt n’ peppa $0.05
TOTAL $4.98
COMPARE AT 8 restaurant sides, $2.49ea $19.92

STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash and cube the eggplant. Slice the onions (however you like onions sliced, they will cook down and soften significantly so the shape doesn’t matter all that much). Peel all of the cloves of garlic from one whole bulb. If that is too time consuming or difficult for you, you can buy already peeled garlic but it will be more expensive. If using prepeeled garlic, use about 10 cloves. Place the eggplant, onions and garlic in a large glass casserole dish.

STEP 2: To the glass dish of veggies add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Use your hands to stir everything together, making sure everything is coated in the oil, vinegar and herbs. Eggplant tends to soak up oil like a sponge so I would add the oil by drizzling over the entire dish. I actually did this with half of the oil first, stirred, then added the rest and stirred again.

STEP 3: Place the dish full of veggies in the oven. Stir the veggies after about 15 minutes. While the veggies are roasting, wash and quarter the roma tomatoes.

STEP 4: After 30 minutes (15 min. after you stirred) add the tomatoes to the roasting veggies. Stir again 15 minutes after adding the tomatoes. 15 minutes after the second stir, the veggies should be fully roasted and ready to remove from the oven. (if that time line was confusing, here it is again: 0 min – put in oven; 15 min – stir; 30 min – add tomatoes, stir; 45 min – stir; 1 hr – done!)

I happened to have some left over shredded parmesan from when I made the Lemon Parsley Pasta so I topped it off with about 1 Tbsp of that (about $0.10). I bet this would also make a fantastic pasta bake… add some cooked pasta after about 45 minutes of roasting, then top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese and finish baking for 15 minutes. It goes from being an amazing side dish to a complete (and vegetarian) main dish!