Eggplant Tian {Vegetarian}

Day 314.

For leftover day today, I really needed to use a HUGE delicious-looking eggplant from our CSA box. I love eggplant parmesan and, while this dish is pretty similar, it’s a little bit different due to the lack of breading and the fact that the eggplant is roasted with a balsamic vinaigrette marinade. I’m really excited about this dish since, while it takes a while, it’s not nearly as intense of a process as most eggplant parmesan. And I think the lack of breading with allow the eggplant’s natural flavor to shine through.

Eggplant Tian
Adapted from Eggplant Tian.

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, about 1/4 teaspoon
  • 3/4 cup marinara sauce, divided
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (dairy-free, if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons pesto sauce (optional)

Slice eggplant in 1/2-inch rounds. Toss with kosher salt in a colander and set aside for 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix olive oil, vinegar, garlic and black pepper. When eggplant is ready, dip both sides of each slice in marinade and leave in bowl. When each slice is coated, allow slices to marinate for 15 minutes.

Heat broiler and set eggplant slices on a sprayed or nonstick sheet pan in a single layer. Broil for 8 to 12 minutes, or until side is golden brown. Flip slices over and repeat for 8 to 12 minutes until remaining sides are golden brown.

Prepare a loaf pan OR an 8 x 8 baking dish OR two 5-inch round baking dishes. Place about 1/4 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of your dish(es). When eggplant is ready, turn oven down to 425 and place layered roasted eggplant slices on top of marinara sauce in your dish(es). Cover with remaining 1/2 cup of marinara and then mozzarella.

Bake at 425 for 20-330 minutes, or until marinara is bubbly and cheese is melted. Let the dish set for 10 minutes, then top with drizzled pesto, if desired, and serve.

The Results
Goose and I gobbled this one up. We’re the eggplant lovers in the house. Bug was more interested in the cheese and sauce, while the husband didn’t feel up to trying this dish (he’s sadly not an eggplant fan). Definitely a repeat for lunches for Goose and I, and I’ll be trying to tempt Bug with it as a pasta topping for leftovers. My only disappointment was that the balsamic flavor wasn’t as strong as I expected it to be. I think I’d add a bit more vinegar or marinate the eggplant longer if I were to make it again.

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