Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: eggplant

 


Ingredients

2 eggplants, peeled and sliced lengthwise, about 1/4 inch thick, to get about 12 slices total
Salt
Olive oil
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 egg
!/2 cup flour
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 cups prepared tomato sauce, homemade or store-bought
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions

Brush slices with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast ( or broil) in a 400-degree oven for 5-10minutes, just until they are soft enough to roll.

While eggplant is baking, make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper, and mix well.

Drain eggplant on a paper towel if fried. When the eggplant has cooled for about 10 minutes, begin the rolling process. On each slice, put about 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese mixture. Spread it on the eggplant and then roll. Repeat with all eggplant slices.

Carefully dredge the rolls in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs.
Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a skillet and brown the rolls until crispy on all slides.

Coat the bottom of a deep baking dish that will fit the rolls in one layer with tomato sauce. Start placing the rolled eggplants at the bottom of the pan.

 

When the pan is filled, put some sauce on top of the eggplant. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake in a 400-degree F oven for about 15 minutes. The cheese should be melted and a little bubbling should be going on. Serve with Italian Sausage and a green salad.

 


Ingredients

5 cups (1/2-inch-diced) peeled eggplant (1 pound)
2 large chopped leeks, white and light green portions
2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
4 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade
2 (28-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
2 tablespoons sundried tomato paste
2 teaspoons whole dried fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh basil leaves
Freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Spread eggplant on a rimmed baking sheet, and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until soft.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a Dutch Oven, add the leeks, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, occasionally stirring, until the onion is tender but not browned.

Add the garlic and cook for one minute, stirring often. Add the stock, roasted eggplant, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, fennel seeds, oregano, red pepper flakes, honey, salt, and black pepper.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for 1-hour stirring occasionally. Puree the soup with a hand blender.

Stir in basil and taste for seasonings.

Serve hot in large bowls sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.


 

Stuffed Eggplant

I served this entree with corn on the cob.

Yield: 2 Servings

Ingredients

2 small eggplant
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ground beef
2 garlic cloves. minced
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup green pepper; chopped
1/4 cup onion; chopped
4 cherry tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
½ cup shredded mozzarella

Directions

Cut a thin slice off the top of each eggplant. Set the tops aside. Scoop out eggplant flesh, leaving 1/2 inch shells. Chop the flesh into small
cubes. Lightly salt the inside of the eggplant shells.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet.
Add all the ingredients except the mozzarella and saute until the meat is cooked and the eggplant is tender. Pour the mixture into a small bowl to cool slightly. Stir in the mozzarella. Fill the two eggplants equally with the mixture. Place the tops on. Place the stuffed eggplant in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Bake in a 350-degree oven F for 45 minutes or until the eggplant shells are tender.


AIR FRYER BONE-IN BREADED PORK CHOPS

Looking to save on calories but love fried pork chops. The air-fryer method of cooking sill does that for you.. I was amazed at how crispy the chops were, yet the meat was moist. Delicious.

Ingredients

2 bone-in pork chops, center-cut (thin OR thick)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 cup Italian flavored Pablo crumbs
½ teaspoon salt

Directions
Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F and spray the basket with cooking spray.

Trim any fat on the pork chops as needed. Sprinkle the chops with salt. Spread the mayonnaise over all sides of the chops. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning. Press on the panko crumbs. Refrigerate for several hours, if you have time.

Place breaded pork chops into the air fryer in one layer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, carefully flipping halfway through cooking. If cooking thicker pork chops, cook for 14-15 minutes.
Remove pork chops from the air fryer and serve with your favorite sides.

My Sides:

 

Eggplant Parmesan

This is not a dish that can be prepared quickly, but with some of my make-ahead tips, you can enjoy this entrée for dinner and have several leftovers for future use without spending all day in the kitchen. Eggplant freezes very well in all stages of its preparation. Additionally, I do not fry the eggplant, but bake it in the oven to reduce the calories.

For each one pound of eggplant, you will need:

1 pound eggplant, peeled
1/2 to 3/4 cup refrigerated egg substitute (such as Egg Beaters) or egg whites
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat two large baking sheets with nonstick olive oil cooking spray.

Cut peeled eggplants crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (no thicker). You want them to be thin.

Place the egg substitute in one shallow dish and the bread crumbs mixed with the cheese in another.

Dip the eggplant slices into the egg substitute, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the eggplant slices over, and bake until crisp and golden, about 10-15 minutes longer.

To assemble the casserole, you will need:

Spray an 8 inch or 9 inch or 8-by-11 1/2-inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.

Preheat the oven to 375 °F.

2 ½ cups Marinara sauce (see recipe above)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1 recipe breaded and baked eggplant
Directions

Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange half of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly. Spoon 1 cup of sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Add the remaining eggplant slices and top with the remaining sauce and cheese. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake until the sauce bubbles, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Sauteed Green Beans And Onions

Ingredients

1 pound green beans trimmed and cut in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large skillet, place beans and cover with water. Bring water to a boil. Boil green beans for five minutes, then strain and set aside.
Add oil. add sliced onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until onions are lightly browned and begin to turn translucent.

Add green beans to sauté pan, stirring to combine. Cook for one additional minute before removing from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve immediately.


Last week I shared the ratatouille recipe that I made with the freshest end-of-the-summer vegetables. The recipe is versatile and I was able to create a number of dishes from the recipe. The first was an appetizer with brie, the second a delicious pizza and the third was a hearty pasta dish.

Here is the link to the ratatouille recipe.

Pizza

Ingredients

1 lb of your favorite pizza dough

16 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced

2 cups leftover ratatouille

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 459 degrees F.

Oil a large pizza pan and place the dough on the pan. Using your fingers push the dough to the edges of the pan.

Distribute the cheese slices over the dough. Spread the ratatouille over the cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Place the pan in the oven and cook until lightly brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

Pasta

Ingredients

5 Spicy Italian sausage links, casing removed

2 cups leftover ratatouille

2 cups canned Iranian tomatoes chopped

1 lb short pasta

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Place the sausage in a large deep skillet. Brown the meat breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon as it browns. add the ratatouille and tomatoes. Heat on low for 39 minutes.

Cook the pasta al dente according to the package instructions. Do not drain. Using a spider or slotted spoon, remove the cooked pasta from the skillet. Stir well and let the pasta cook in the sauce, Mix well and add the grated cheese. Serve in pasta bowls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

2 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS

2 small eggplants, about 10 oz each

¼ cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 sweet Italian sausage link cooked and diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 plum tomato, seeded and diced

5 basil leaves, chopped 

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 teaspoons grated Pecorino Romano

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Slice a thin layer off the top of each eggplant

Hollow out the flesh of the eggplant to create a boat using a melon baller or small serrated spoon.

Heat the oil in a small skillet and add the onion. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant flesh and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, salt, and pepper to taste the tomato and the chopped sausage. Let the mixture cool. Stir in the mozzarella. Stuff the eggplant shells equally with the filling and place them into a small baking dish,

Top each with 1 teaspoon each of Pecorino Romano cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more.


Tomatoes are at their peak now in my area and they are plentiful. Here are some ideas on what you can cook with them.

Greek Tomato And Eggplant Tart

Pastry
1 1/2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons of ice-cold water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal or semolina flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces

Filling
1 small (about 1 lb) eggplant, thinly sliced
4 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 to 5 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stem
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
6 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbled
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for drizzling

For the pastry
Mix the yogurt and ice water together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Mix together the flours, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until you have small pieces. Add the water/yogurt mix one tablespoon at a time to the flour mixture, mixing gently. Gather the wet dough pieces together and shape into a ball. Do not overwork the dough, it will be soft. Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours (can be frozen for one month).

Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Brush eggplant slices with oil and broil on high for 5 minutes on each side until tender. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Place a piece of parchment on a smooth surface and lightly flour. Top with another piece of parchment or plastic wrap. Roll the dough out to 11 inches in diameter, Transfer to an ungreased 9-inch pie plate.

Layer in the following order: eggplant slices, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, herbs, feta cheese, and drizzle with olive oil. Crimp the edges of the pastry.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the layers are bubbly and hot. Cool for at least ten minutes or until room temperature before serving.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

4-5 pounds of fresh Roma tomatoes, quartered and seeded retaining as much pulp as possible
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large sweet onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 large cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (chili)
1-2 teaspoons honey, if needed

Herbs
Place the following herbs in a piece of cheesecloth and tie the cheesecloth closed.

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh oregano
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of parsley

Directions

Pour the olive oil into a large stockpot over medium heat.
Add the onions, celery, garlic, and carrots.
Saute for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the tomatoes and sea salt.
Simmer on low heat, covered, for about an hour until the tomatoes cook down.
Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, process the mixture until smooth.
Return the pot to the heat and add the herb cheesecloth package.
Taste the sauce to see if the tomatoes were too bitter. Add the honey, if needed.
Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until reduced and thick, an hour to an hour and a half more. Remove the cheesecloth package and discard it.
Pour the sauce into a refrigerator container and store the sauce up to 1 week, or freeze in batches.


Tomatoes with Herbed Ricotta

Use beautiful heirloom tomatoes that are in season now along with lots of fresh herbs.

For two servings:

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 scallion, white and green parts, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced\
1 large heirloom tomato, about 1 lb
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
Fleur de sel

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, parsley, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Set aside for up to 30 minutes.
Slice the tomato into ¼ inch thick slices. You should get 4 slices. Place on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let drain for 30 minutes. When ready to serve, place the tomato slices on a serving plate. Drizzle with olive oil. Spread ¼ of the ricotta mixture over each tomato slice. Sprinkle with reserved basil and fleur de sel, and serve at room temperature.

Summer Fresh Tomato Salad

2-3 servings

Ingredients

½ cup diced red onion
1 1/2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cut into wedges
Shredded fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

For the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the mustard, vinegar, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.

Place the onion, tomatoes, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a salad serving bowl. Toss with the salad dressing. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.


This recipe was inspired by a recipe posted on Lana Russo’s site, Friends Who Like Once Upon A Spice. The recipe is from the magazine: LA CUCINA ITALIANA

I adapted the recipe to my taste by broiling the eggplant shell instead of frying it and making the dish hearty enough to serve as an entree with the addition of some Italian sausage in the stuffing. This dish was delicious.

2 servings

Ingredients

3 plum tomatoes total about 6 oz, diced
¼ cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon capers
1 medium eggplant about 14-15 oz
½ cup (about 6 oz) diced sweet cherry peppers
1 garlic clove, grated
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ teaspoon salt
6 oz cooked Italian sausage, diced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Basil leaves for garnish

Directions

Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp using a grapefruit teaspoon leaving a ¼ inch shell. Set the pulp aside.


Spray the eggplant shells with olive oil and place on a foiled lined pan. Broil the shells under high heat for 5-8 minutes until brown.

Chop the eggplant pulp and brown in a saucepan with 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Add the cherry peppers, garlic, capers, oregano, diced tomatoes, salt, and tomato paste. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Stir in the sausage and heat until warm.
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs and mozzarella cheese.

Divide the mixture between the two eggplant shells. Transfer the stuffed eggplants to a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake the stuffed eggplant at 350°F for about 20 minutes or until hot. Remove to serving plates and garnish with basil leaves.


This is a great time of year to make this sauce since all the vegetables included in the recipe are in season.

Ingredients

Eggplant
1 ½-2 lbs small eggplant
4 garlic cloves
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Peppers and Onions
1 ½ lbs Italian frying peppers
1 large sweet onion
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Tomatoes
2 ½ lbs large vine ripe tomatoes
1 ½ lbs ripe cherry tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F

For the roasted eggplant
Peel the eggplant and then into ½-inch cubes. Pour the olive oil into a 13×9-inch baking pan. Smash the garlic cloves and place them in the pan. Add the eggplant and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir the ingredients until the eggplant is coated in oil. Bake 30 minutes stirring the eggplant several through the roasting time to prevent the eggplant from sticking to the pan. Scrape the eggplant into a Dutch Oven with a spatula and set the pot aside, Do not clean out the baking dish.

For the peppers and onions
Remove the seeds from the cut peppers and cut them into ½-inch dice. Peel the onion and cut into ½-inch dice.
In the same baking dish used for the eggplant, pour in the oil, add the smashed garlic, peppers, and onions. Add salt and pepper and stir the ingredients. Bake for 30 minutes stirring the ingredients several through the roasting time. Pour the peppers and onions into the Dutch Oven with the eggplant and reserve the baking dish.

 

For the tomatoes
Cut the large tomatoes in half. Pour the olive oil into the baking dish. Add the smashed garlic, large tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes. Generously salt and pepper the tomatoes. Bake for 30 minutes stirring the ingredients several through the roasting time.

Mash the tomatoes with a potato masher and add the ingredients to the Dutch Oven.

To make the sauce
Add 1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning and a sprig of fresh basil to the pot. Bring the sauce to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot and cook until the sauce is reduced by half.

To use the sauce with pasta
Add 12 ounces of short pasta, such as Casarecce, Campanelle or Farfalle cooked al dente and 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan with the sauce and bring to a simmer, tossing until the butter melts and the pasta finishes cooking about 1 minute. Serve pasta with Parmesan cheese and hot pepper flakes
You can also serve the sauce over cooked spaghetti or as a sauce for lasagna.

To use the sauce for pizza
Cover the dough with sliced Fontina cheese and add about 2 cups of the Roasted Garden Vegetable sauce. Bake in a 450-degree F oven for 20 minutes.


Heirloom Rosa Bianca eggplants are one of the most eye-catching varieties of eggplant. They’re plump and round, and their violet and white exteriors have an attractive appearance. This mild variety is completely void of bitterness and tastes best when sliced and roasted or grilled. S
Rosa Biancas are a Sicilian variety, so incorporating them into a classic Sicilian or Italian dish is typical. Their mild flavor is a perfect complement for tomatoes and cheese and they are excellent choices for Caponata and for grilling.

Eggplant Stacks

I made 6 stacks

For the eggplant
4 large eggs, beaten
11/2 cups Italian flour (00) or all-purpose flour
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 round eggplants, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch slices
Vegetable oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the stacks
Ricotta cheese
6 Tomato slices
6 Fresh mozzarella slices

Directions

Choose 12 large round slices of eggplant after you slice them and save the remaining slices for another dish. Season with salt and pepper.


Prepare two shallow dishes, in one beat the eggs with one tablespoon of water and the grated Parmesan cheese, and place the flour in the second dish.
Coat eggplant slices first with flour, then with egg and then in flour a second time.


Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet over medium heat. Shallow fry eggplant slices 2 minutes or until lightly brown, turn over, and continue cooking until the second side is brown and soft.
Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off excess oil; keep warm until all eggplant slices are cooked, adding more oil as needed.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the stacks:
Cover a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. Place a large slice of eggplant on the foil and spoon 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese on top.

Cover with a slice of eggplant. Top with a tomato slice and a slice of mozzarella. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, tomato, and mozzarella slices.


Bake stacks until the cheese melts and the stacks are hot about 15 minutes.



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