Grilled Eggplant Parmesan with Garden Vegetables layers grilled baby eggplant with a homemade garden tomato sauce, and baked with a parmesan and mozzarella cheese crust. A real treat for any vegetable lover!
I had so much fun creating this dish. While in limbo waiting for our household goods to arrive from Europe, we are staying with dear friends for the entire month. Barbara is one of my favorite people ever, and she is fantastic in kitchen. Both of us love fresh vegetables, and we created this dish together! While visiting our local farmer’s market yesterday, we came across these beautiful baby eggplants:
Aren’t they cute? I learned that these smaller eggplants are not as bitter as large eggplants, but instead have a slightly sweet taste. I couldn’t wait to bring these home and try them on the grill! I also came across these delicious tiny garden tomatoes:
The variety in color gave them a deliciously fresh and sweet taste. We started this dish by preparing a sauce on the stovetop. It began with onions, yellow bell pepper, and mushrooms. Once they were cooked, we added the tomatoes and covered the pan. While the sauce was being prepared, Barbara grilled the eggplants. I cut them vertically about 1/4-1/2 inch thick and brushed them with a little olive oil:
Once the eggplant was opaque and had nice grill marks, we removed them and set aside. The sauce was completed once the cherry tomatoes popped and opened up. The fun part was layering it all together. We started with a layer of sauce, a layer of eggplant, more sauce, and then a combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. We repeated for 2 more layers. The dish was baked for 15 minutes and came out with a beautiful golden cheesy crust:
I am not crazy about the pictures for this dish, but I was absolutely CRAZY about the flavor!! It was just a hard one to photograph. I will admit that my kids were not that crazy about this dinner. I gave them a side of noodles and bread to soak up some of the sauce. Only a few bites of the actual eggplant was taken. My kids aren’t perfect eaters, but I do like to get them to try new things. This is just one of those meals that I have to convince them to keep trying. With my kids, I’ve learned that it can often take 10 times of them tasting a food before they finally enjoy something. Will I make this again? Absolutely!!
Grilled Eggplant Parmesan with Garden Vegetables
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped white onion
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 3 lbs baby eggplant
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- Salt to taste
Begin by preparing your sauce: Heat up a large skillet to medium high heat and add olive oil. Saute the onion and pepper until the onions are clear and fragrant (about 5 minutes). Turn down the heat to medium and add the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms are browned and smaller (about 5 minutes), add the tomatoes and cover. Simmer for around 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes have popped, and can be smashed with a spoon or spatula. Add in 1 cup crushed tomatoes and turn heat to low. Stir and let simmer until ready your casserole is ready.
Prepare your grill. While grill is being heated, prepare your eggplant. Slice them vertically, and brush with olive oil and salt. Grill the eggplant on each side until opaque. Remove and set aside.
Assemble the dish: Heat up your oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Begin with a cup of sauce on the bottom, layer with 1/3 of the eggplant, add another cup of sauce, add some fresh basil, and finally top with 1/3 cup mozzarella and 1/3 cup parmesan. Repeat for 2 more layers.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
Remove and set aside for 10 minutes before serving.
You can add 1 cup of bread crumbs to the top of this dish before placing in oven to give it an extra crunch if you do not follow a Gluten Free diet.