Mediterranean eggplant casserole

Those who enjoy the vintage The Moosewood Cookbook (by Mollie Katzen,1992) and any of its various progeny (I think there might be at least nine cookbooks with “Moosewood” in the title!) will really like the latest Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health: More than 200 new vegetarian and vegan recipes for delicious and nutrient-rich dishes (by The Moosewood Collective, 2009).

In fact, I think anyone—carnivore, omnivore, vegetarian, or whatever—will like the Mediterranean Eggplant Casserole from that cookbook.  It was a hands-down winner and could be served to guests!  I made enough for dinner two days ago to fill a 10- by 13-inch baking dish, and the two of us have been enjoying it as a side dish at almost every meal since.  Yes, the flavors improve with age.  Here is my version of their recipe.

Mediterranean Eggplant Casserole

The farmers who supply me with fresh organic vegetables had ‘Rosa Blanca’ creamy Italian heirloom eggplant, red ‘Corno di Toro’ intensely sweet peppers, freshly dug ‘Purplette’ purple onions, and dark green patty pan squash, so I was inspired to find a dish that could handle them all.  This recipe fit the bill:  You can add whatever vegetables you like in step 3.

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients—it’s definitely worth the time (about 1 hour prep and 55 minutes baking).  My changes are in brackets.

  • Eggplant, totaling about 1.25 pounds
  • Salt
  • 2 tsp. dried marjoram, divided
  • 1 cup whole-wheat bulghur
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions [plus 4 sliced green patty pan squash, 1 chopped red sweet pepper, 1 sliced jalapeno]
  • 4 garlic gloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup currants [didn’t have currants so used dried cranberries]
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese [used 2 cups with a splash of milk]
  • 2 cups small curd low-fat cottage cheese [did not have so did not use]
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese [had only about 3/8 cup total]
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts [mine weren’t toasted]
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the eggplants into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.  Toss with olive oil and 1 tsp. marjoram.  Arrange in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Bake uncovered until tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  2. Put the bulghur and boiling water in a large heatproof bowl.  Cover and set aside until the water is absorbed and the bulghur is tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Warm the olive oil in a skillet on medium heat.  Add the onions [and whatever vegetables you are using], garlic, oregano, salt, and the remaining marjoram.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the currants/cranberries and remove the pan from heat.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together the eggs, feta, cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup basil.
  5. Fluff the bulghur.  Into the bulghur, stir in the vegetable-currant mixture, the remaining basil, the walnuts, and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Assemble the casserole:  Spread the bulghur mixture evenly in a lightly oiled 9- by 13-inch baking dish.  Layer the baked eggplant slices and then the tomato slices.  Spoon on the egg-cheese mixture and spread evenly over the top.  Sprinkle on the rest of the Parmesan.
  7. Cover the baking dish with foil, rounding it so the foil doesn’t stick to the custard.  Bake for 40 minutes until the casserole is mostly set.  Uncover and bake until the top is golden and the custard is firm, about 15 minutes.

I plan to try out more recipes from this cookbook before I need to return it to my local library.  Check it out!  🙂

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