Baked eggplant in tomato sauce and feta cheese

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About two months ago we were in Italy. During our two week vacation, we visited Mauro in Casalincontrada (a small town located about 195 km, east of Rome). Mauro is a professor of Architecture from Italy that I met three years ago at a conference in Bonn, Germany and since then we’re friends.

During our stay in Casalincontrada we bought extra virgin olive oil 5 liter (170 fl oz) can. Today I wanted to make a dish that reminds me of our vacation, thus why I ended up making this baked eggplant in tomato sauce and feta cheese recipe. The eggplant is cut into slices, fried and layered with tomato sauce and feta cheese. Then you throw the casserole in the oven for 25 minutes @ 200 °C (392 °F).

You guys will love this vegetarian Mediterranean style casserole. It’s delicious, low carb, simple, budget friendly and uses just a handful of ingredients. Moreover, if you don’t have eggplants you can replace them with zucchini, bell peppers or mushrooms. Sometimes I use a mixture of all. You could also replace feta cheese with Parmesan cheese. Making this recipe however is time consuming, but all worth it.

This baked eggplant in tomato sauce and feta cheese recipe makes a perfect appetizer or side dish for you and your family or for a crowd. I always make this casserole as a main dish served with homemade bread.

Don’t forget to check out these meatless recipes that even meat – eaters will love:


 

Baked eggplant in tomato sauce and feta cheese

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 50 min
Cook Time: 25 min @ 200 °C (392 °F)

You’ll need:

For the eggplants:

– 2 eggplants (approx. 650 g/ 23 oz)
– 150 ml (5.1 fl oz/ 2/3 cup) olive oil

For the tomato sauce:

– 1 medium onion
– 400 g (14.1 oz) canned tomatoes, undrained
– 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
– 2 garlic cloves
– 1 tablespoon tomato paste
– 4 sun-dried tomatoes, in oil
– 1 tablespoon olive oil/ oil from sun dried tomatoes
– 100 ml (3.4 fl oz/ about 1/2 cup) water
– 1 teaspoon ground paprika
– 1 teaspoon sugar
– salt and pepper to taste
– 250 g (8.8 oz) feta cheese

How to make baked eggplant in tomato sauce and feta cheese

Soak eggplants:

Rinse eggplants and cut them into slices.

Fill the bowl with water and stir in 1,5 teaspoons salt. Soak eggplant slices for about 30 minutes. If there are some slices without water, just press them gently down with your hands. In this way the bitter taste will be drawn out of the eggplant and the eggplant slices won’t soak lots of oil when you’ll be frying them.

Make the tomato sauce:

In the meantime peel and chop onion and garlic finely. Cut sun dried tomatoes into smaller pieces as well.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the pot at medium – high heat and saute onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Add sun – dried tomatoes, followed by tomato paste, dried herbs, sugar and ground paprika.

Stir in undrained tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

TIP: The tomato sauce is very flavorful and you could also make it alone and serve it with spaghetti or use it to make a vegetarian lasagna.

Fry eggplants:

After 30 minutes, remove eggplant slices from the water, put them on a cutting board lined with paper towels and pat dry.

Heat half of olive oil in the skillet over medium heat and fry eggplant slices on both sides, until nicely golden brown. Repeat the process until you fried all the eggplant slices.

NOTE: – Don’t add all of the oil at once, just keep adding oil part-by-part if you need more.
– If you think that 150 ml (2/3 cup) olive oil is too much for you, just brush eggplant slices with oil and roast them in the oven, before layering and baking.
– If some of the slices soaked up more oil, just put them on top of the eggplant slices with less oil, so that the oil will be transferred to the other slices.

Preheat the oven to 200 °C (392 °F), with both top and bottom heat.

Layer eggplant-tomato sauce and feta

Start with tomato sauce and end with feta cheese.

Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in a casserole dish. Then layer with eggplant slices followed by tomato sauce and one-third of crumbled feta cheese. Repeat the process until you’ve used up all the sauces and eggplant slices.

You should divide the feta cheese equally, based on the number of layers you’re having. I had three layers, thus why I divide the cheese into three parts.

Bake for 25 minutes or until feta cheese is slightly brown.

After 25 minutes let the casserole rest for few minutes before serving. Drizzle with balsamico creme, if desired and serve immediately. I served it with homemade flatbread.

Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to see! Snap a pic and share it on Ester kocht Facebook Page or @ester.kocht on Instagram. Or simply write a comment.

Baked eggplant in tomato sauce and feta cheese

This vegetarian Mediterranean style casserole is low carb, simple, budget friendly and uses just a handful of ingredients. A perfect appetizer, side or main dish for you and your family or to feed a crowd.
Prep Time50 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish, Starter
Cuisine: Greek, Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: Antipasti, Antipasto, gluten free, Low carb, Vegetables, vegetarian, weeknight dinner
Servings: 4 Servings
Author: Ester from esterkocht.com

Equipment

  • Casserole dish (15 x 30 cm (6 x 12 inch))
  • Large skillet
  • Large bowl
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Saucepan or pot
  • spoon
  • Fork
  • paper towels

Ingredients

For the eggplants

  • 2 eggplants (approx. 650 g (23 oz))
  • 150 ml (5.1 fl oz/ 2/3 cup) olive oil

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 medium onion
  • 400 g (14.1 oz) canned tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes, in oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil/ oil from sun dried tomatoes
  • 100 ml (3.4 fl oz/ about 1/2 cup) water
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 250 g (8.8 oz) feta cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • water plus 1,5 teaspoons salt to soak in eggplants

Instructions

  • Rinse eggplants and cut them into slices. Fill the bowl with water, put in 1,5 teaspoons salt and stir well. Soak eggplant slices for about 30 minutes. If there are some slices without water, just press them gently down with your hands.
  • In the meantime peel and cut onions and garlic finely. Cut sun dried tomatoes into smaller pieces as well. Next, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the pot at medium-high heat and saute onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Add sun - dried tomatoes, followed by tomato paste, dried herbs, sugar and ground paprika. Stir in undrained tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Preheat the oven to 200 °C (392 °F), with both top and bottom heat.
  • After 30 minutes, remove eggplant slices from the water, put them on a cutting board lined with paper towels and pat dry. Heat half of olive oil in the skillet and fry eggplant slices on both sides, until nicely golden brown. Repeat the process until you fried all the eggplant slices. (SEE NOTE 3).
  • Start with tomato sauce and end with feta cheese.
    Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in a casserole dish. Then layer with eggplant slices followed by tomato sauce and one-third of crumbled feta cheese. Repeat the process until you've used up all the sauces and eggplant slices.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until feta cheese is slightly brown. After 25 minutes let the casserole rest for few minutes before serving. Drizzle with balsamico creme, if desired and serve immediately. I served it with homemade flatbread.

Notes

  1. It's very important to soak eggplant, in this way the bitter taste will be drawn out of the eggplant and the eggplant slices won't soak lots of oil when you'll be frying them.
  2. TIP: The tomato sauce is very flavorful and you could also make it alone and serve it with spaghetti or use it to make a vegetarian lasagna.
  3. When frying the eggplant slices, don't add all of the oil at once, just keep adding oil part-by-part if you need more. 
  4. You should divide the feta cheese equally, based on the number of layers you're having. I had three layers, thus why I divide the cheese into three parts.

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2 Comments

  1. Wow. Looks so temping

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