Eggplant Cheese Casserole

Eggplant Cheese Casserole

                                               Eggplant Cheese Casserole.

Eggplant Cheese CasseroleEggplant is such a versatile vegetable and it’s “meaty” texture lends itself to scrumptious  layered casseroles  baked with savory spices, creamy cheeses and pantry favorites! For my Eggplant Cheese Casserole, I start out with onion, fennel and eggplant sautéed in a bit of tomato bruschetta and Calabrian pepper garlic sauce, seasoned with oregano and basil. Then, this vegetable medley is layered with cottage cheese, homemade arugula pesto, artichoke bruschetta, pinko breadcrumbs and shredded parmesan cheese. I top the casserole with a few organic grape tomatoes and bake it for an hour or so! Enjoy my Eggplant Cheese Casserole as a side dish or lacto vegetarian entrée with a fresh salad.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 unpeeled organic eggplant, cut in quarters and sliced

1 cup sliced organic fennel bulb

1 organic onion, peeled and sliced

1/2 jar of tomato bruschetta, I like DeLallo

2 tablespoons Calabrian pepper garlic sauce, I like DeLallo

1/2 teaspoon each of organic dried basil and oregano leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

8 ounces raw cottage cheese

1/2 cup arugula pesto, or pesto of choice

1/4 cup artichoke bruschetta, I like DeLallo

3/4 cup panic breadcrumbs

3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/2 pint organic grape tomatoes, cut in half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 

In a skillet, heat the olive oil on medium high

Add the next 7 ingredients and sauté until vegetables are softened

Remove from heat

In a medium oval casserole dish, spread half of the vegetable medley on the bottom

Sprinkle with panko breadcrumbs

Next, layer the cottage cheese, then the arugula pesto and artichoke bruschetta and top with half of the shredded parmesan cheese

Layer the remaining vegetable medley

Sprinkle with remaining panko breadcrumbs and remaining parmesan cheese

Top evenly with the halved grape tomatoes

Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour

Uncover and brown the top for another 20 minutes

Remove from oven and let the casserole rest

Serve my Eggplant Cheese Casserole as an entrée or side and Enjoy!

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