While I’m all about summer fruits, for whatever reason, I’m not so into summer vegetables. We all know how I feel about tomatoes, and I am almost equally unenthusiastic about eggplant (this dip aside). Zucchini I find slightly less offensive, but mostly because it can be transformed into glorious spiced quick bread.
Recently, I found a solution for my tomato troubles, courtesy of Julia Child and her genius idea of ripping out the gross guts of the tomato and stuffing them with breadcrumbs and cheese. And now, I present to you the best way to eat zucchini and eggplant (at least if you’re not into them): by covering them with marinara and mozz, then baking them in a weird cross between parmesan and lasagna.
The idea came to me at the gym, since I usually motivate myself on the treadmill with thoughts of “now that I just burned a few calories, I can eat this, this, this and this.” (Sadly, this is 100% true.) To recap my train of thought: “Ooh, chicken parm — no wait you can’t have that, you’re vegetarian, remember? … I can’t breathe, I’m going to die … maybe eggplant? Ick. Eggplant. But mozzarella … one more mile … breadcrumbs. Would zucchini make it better? Maybe? Anything’s good with mozz and sauce, but it’s so unhealthy … asdfksd side stitch adsfsdf … that does it, I deserve this cheesy goodness.”
Bonus: the oven does most of the work here anyway, which, given that my new apartment has air conditioning, means this recipe is literally no sweat. (HA. Get it? Am I the only one who finds that funny? No? Okay. Sorry.) The end result is a zucchini eggplant bake that is ermahgahhhh good. Though, given that ingredient list, how could it not be?
Zucchini Eggplant Bake
– 1 pound eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch-thick coins (I used graffiti eggplant, but Italian works as well)
– 1 pound zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch thick coins
– salt and pepper, to taste
– 1 tablespoon mixed dried herbs*
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 3 cups marinara sauce (I used jarred, but this recipe is delicious)
– 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly (you could also use shredded)
– 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (I used leftover breadcrumbs from here)
*This could be an Italian seasoning blend, or rosemary, thyme, oregano, etc.
1) Preheat the oven to 425F. Toss the sliced zucchini, eggplant, salt, pepper, herbs and oil in a large bowl. Place the vegetables on a large lined baking sheet in a single layer, then roast for 15 minutes. (You will likely have to do this in batches.) Leave the oven on afterward.
2) Once all of the vegetables are roasted, layer the bottom of an 11-x-7 casserole dish with a single row of zucchini slices. Top with a quarter of the marinara sauce, then 1/4 of the mozzarella. Then layer the eggplant in a single row, topping with a second quarter of marinara and mozzarella. Repeat with the remaining zucchini and eggplant, then top with the breadcrumbs.
3) Bake for 20-25 minutes at 425F, until the top has browned and the cheese is melted. Cool slightly before slicing and serving. It will not be pretty to serve, but it will taste amazing.