Collection: Freeze Dried Recipes

Eggplant Casserole - Prep4Life

Eggplant Casserole

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Looking for a health alternative to lasagna? This dish is rich and satisfying. Easy to make and freeze-dry for make ahead meals.


Ingredients

2 large eggplants (about 2 1/2 lb. total)

2 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided

3 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced and divided

1 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper, divided

1 tsp. Italian seasoning, divided

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 lb. lean ground beef 

1 28-ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes

3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil, divided

1/2 c. chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided

1  15-ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3/4 c. grated parmesan, divided

1/4 c. panko breadcrumbs

Nonstick cooking spray

2 1/2 c. shredded Italian blend cheese, divided


Directions

Heat the oven to 425ºF.

Slice the eggplant lengthwise into ½-inch thick slices. Place the slices on two baking sheets and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and lightly golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 3 cloves of the minced garlic, ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of black pepper, ½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning, and the red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the ground beef and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is no longer pink. Add the crushed tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of basil and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes until thick. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of parsley.

Pat the eggplant dry and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Place on two oiled baking sheets. Bake until the eggplant is golden brown and soft, 20 to 22 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, ½ cup of parmesan, panko, ¼ cup parsley, the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt, remaining 1 clove of garlic, remaining ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning.

Spray an 11-by-7-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread ½ cup of the meat sauce into the bottom of the prepared dish. Top with 4 to 5 pieces of eggplant in a single layer, cutting to fit as needed. Spread ½ of the ricotta mixture onto the eggplant. Spread ⅓ of the remaining meat sauce mixture onto the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with ¾ cup of the cheese blend. Starting with the eggplant, repeat the layers once. Top with a final layer of eggplant and the remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of cheese blend and the remaining ¼ cup parmesan.

Bake until the cheese is melted and the topping is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Serve hot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley and 1 tablespoon of basil.

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