Oh. My. God. We are taking it to a whole new level.
Run — don’t walk — to your farmer’s market, because the ingredients for this tasty dish are only at their peak for a few more weeks. There’s no time to waste!
This dish came about because a friend of ours had the great misfortune of leaving some marinated eggplant in his restaurant cooler while he was out of town. So we scooped it up. We have no idea what it’s marinated in — balsamic vinegar, for sure, some scallions, maybe, and of course, oil. But no matter. If your friends didn’t leave you with a tub of marinated eggplant, just get the following:
- 2-3 medium eggplants, peeled
- salt for sprinkling
- olive oil for drizzling
Once the eggplant is peeled, cut into half-inch slices. Arrange as a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, turning once halfway through.
Then, gather the following for the sauce:
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 – 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
Simply heat the oil over medium-low heat, add the garlic and sweat for a few minutes. Add in the crushed tomatoes and season with salt (you need more than you think) and Italian seasoning. Let that hang, stirring occasionally, for at least half an hour.
Finally, get yourself a loaf of sourdough bread — have them slice it at your grocery store (uniformity is key). Spray each side with olive oil spray (or brush the oil on lightly). Toast the bread lightly, on both sides, over medium heat in a large skillet. Set aside.
When everything is done pre-cooking, you can start assembling:
- Grab yourself a large casserole dish — spread 1 1/2 cups of the sauce on the bottom (it sounds like a ludicrous amount, but the bread will absorb a lot of it).
- Place the bread slices on the bottom, trying to fit them together as best you can (they don’t have to completely cover the bottom, though, so don’t strain yourself).
- Place half of the eggplant on top of the bread and …
- … cover with another 1 1/2 cups of sauce.
- Add more bread, eggplant and sauce, repeating the layers.
At this point, if you want to go totally vegan, you can just top this with one cup of breadcrumbs.
OR, you can top with one cup of cheese. The choice is yours!
We went with cheese, then topped THAT with slices of fresh tomato, seasoned with salt and pepper.
Into the oven it goes at 400 degrees for about half an hour. Let the casserole rest for a minute before cutting it up. Serve with a mixed green salad (or more bread).
You’ll never think of lasagna the same way again. (Thanks to Vegan Yum Yum for the awesome idea and recipe)