More Meatless This Year
Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Casserole
Every year, I eat less meat. I find it increasingly difficult to stomach the thought of eating animals. Moreover, the positive impact of eating less meat on the environment is staggering.
My vegan daughter inspires me. When she is home, it is fun to find new recipes that we will enjoy and the meat-eaters will tolerate.
For our extended family dinner on Christmas, I made this dish from Martha Rose Shulman. It doubles easily. Make it one day ahead as it improves with time.
- 1 Eggplant (1 ½ pounds), peeled, sliced length-wise, then in ¼” slices
- Olive Oil
- 1 red onion, sliced thin across the grain
- 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas
- Fresh Basil and Fresh Parsley
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and drizzle the foil with olive oil. Place the eggplant slices on the foil, sprinkle with salt and drizzle lightly with oil. Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the heat, and carefully fold the foil in half over the eggplant. Crimp the edges together, so that the eggplant is sealed inside the foil and will continue to steam and soften. Leave for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender and golden brown, about 5-10 minutes, and add the garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about a minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and cinnamon, to taste. Bring to a simmer, and simmer uncovered, until the sauce is thick and fragrant. Stir in the drained chickpeas. Mix in the eggplant slices.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin. Spoon eggplant, tomato and chickpea mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Bake 30 minutes, until bubbling. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Or for a full day ahead. Sprinkle on the basil and parsley before serving.
Serves 6-8. Delicious with bread, naan, rice, or even over pasta.
Image: Very bad photo taken by me at the Christmas buffet table. I was rushing because of the hungry and impatient people behind me – it doesn’t do the dish justice!