Baked Eggplant With Spinach and Olives

5 03 2014

Baked eggplant is an Italian classic, and a great meatless meal option especially if you observe Lent. There are so many great versions, and here, I add a layer of chunky spinach and kalamata olives. A delicious, healthy Italian dinner with a boost of veggies and an extra salty bite, what’s not to love?!

Baked Eggplant With Spinach and Olives

Baked Eggplant With Spinach and Olives

Baked Eggplant With Spinach and Olives

Baked Eggplant With Spinach and Olives

The following serves 2-3 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into rounds
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup marinated kalamata olives, with some of the oil
  •  2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Marinara (I had some leftover from a previous dinner, but see below for how to make an easy marinara)
  • Reduced-fat, shredded Italian cheese blend (Sargento is a good option)
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Fresh basil, torn into pieces

Lay sliced eggplant on a non-stick baking sheet in one layer and sprinkle with salt. Set aside until eggplant starts to sweat. Pat it dry with a paper towel.

Preheat oven to 350. Drizzle eggplant with a little oil and bake until it starts to loosen slightly, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Meanwhile, add olives, spinach and garlic to a food processor and pulse slightly, until chunky.

Spray a medium casserole dish with non-stick spray. Add a little marinara to the bottom of the casserole. Next, add a layer of eggplant. Top eggplant with a layer of the spinach-olive mixture, and top that with some more marinara (add a glob on top and around each eggplant slice). Top with a layer of shredded cheese as well as a sprinkle of parmesan. Repeat layering: eggplant, spinach-olive mixture, marinara and finally, both cheeses.

Cover with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove foil, raise the oven to 400 and continue baking, uncovered, another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Garnish with basil and serve.

This Girl’s Easy Marinara:

In a saucepan, add a Tbsp or so of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add half an onion, diced and cook for a few minutes until soft. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, cook for another minute. Add 1 large can crushed tomatoes (28 oz) and few leaves of basil, chopped. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper to taste, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Off heat, use an immersion blender to puree the sauce slightly. Store any extra in a covered tupperware container in the fridge.

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