The first meal I made when the power came back on after nearly 3 days without was an old favorite, pistachio-crusted eggplant. This dish is a Vegetarian Times find from a few years ago that I’ve now made many times, with some modifications. I had bought the necessary ingredients thinking I would be packing up to stay with family until the power (and heat) returned and knowing this recipe is something that mixed diets would enjoy. The power returned as I was packing the car and I ended up staying home to get my house back in order while this comfort casserole was cooking away in the oven.
As promised in the other day’s check-in post here are the modifications I make to this recipe. The modifications are really quite simple. First, I halve the recipe and make it into a casserole instead of the cutlets described. When halved the recipe fits nicely in an 8 x 8 pan.
I often add nutritional yeast to the finely chopped pistachios; usually about 1/4 cup nutritional yeast to the 1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios. The most obvious modification to those who are plant based, replace the oil-packed sun dried tomatoes with sun dried tomatoes sold in pouches. Simply rehydrate them in warm water for 10 minutes or so before draining and blending with the roasted red pepper and garlic.
The sundered tomato mixture is more of a paste than a sauce. I typically serve this dish with a side of pasta topped with homemade tomato sauce; Forks Over Knives tomato sauce is my go-to (modifications to that recipe are simple add-ins like fennel and crushed red pepper). Since I have sauce on hand anyway, I line the bottom of my casserole dish with the tomato sauce.
To make this dish into a casserole, I use my mandolin to thinly and evenly slice my eggplant and place a layer of eggplant over the tomato sauce layer. Next, top the eggplant with a smear of the sundries tomato mixture, followed by a sprinkle of the pistachio mixture before moving on to the next layer of eggplant. Once you’ve reached your top layer of eggplant, smear and sprinkle as before but I also add a bit of tomato sauce on top (especially around the edges). This time I had a fresh tomato that had seen better days so took some inspiration from Engine 2 Raise the Roof Lasagna and topped my eggplant casserole with thinly sliced tomato before one more sprinkle of the pistachio mixture.
It does take longer to cook as a casserole, 40 minutes or so, but I prefer it this way.
As an aside, I have made the E2 lasagna a few times and it is delicious, albeit a more time consuming affair to assemble; well worth it for a Sunday night dinner.