Indian Eggplant and Tomato Casserole

I had a few eggplants and a bunch of ugly tomatoes sitting on my counter and I knew I needed to do something with them pretty quickly before the tomato and/or eggplant pile grew even more as my garden continues to produce delicious veggies for us this month. This simple Indian Eggplant and Tomato Casserole is a great summer recipe to use some in-season veggies and it’s also a perfect “meatless Monday” meal to start your week! 

We don’t necessarily follow a meatless Monday rule around here but we certainly do eat quite a bit of vegetarian fare throughout the week. You might have heard the reports issued recently about the fact that eating less meat (specifically non-local beef) can be better for the environment than reducing the amount of time spent in your car. While this observation isn’t new and it does give us some food for thought… what is even more important than reducing the amount of steaks you might be eating with your family at the next barbecue is to actually eat everything in your refrigerator (or on your counter) before you go to the store or farmers market to buy more food.

A few of my “ugly” tomatoes

The average American family throws away about 25% of their weekly grocery purchase. That number is mind-boggling. I used to be guilty of running to the store 2 or 3 times a week just to “grab one thing” because I had “nothing” in the house to cook for dinner. Four small kiddos put the kibbosh on that bad habit and I quickly learned that, unless my cupboards were truly bare, I really did have enough ingredients in the house to make something for dinner. (To read a very short article from the New York Times Health section on the topic of food waste, click here.)

People often ask me if I have a recipe system or use a weekly menu to help make my nightly dinners easier and I have tried that approach many times but I found that I always wasted food. My grandmother, born in 1920, had a phrase that she heard often as a child and repeated it to her children and grandchildren .. “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” This eggplant tomato casserole recipe is a perfect example of using up what I have.  It might take a little practice to get comfortable with this maverick cooking style, but once you get used to it, I think you will love it.

Assorted Eggplant from Edgerton Farm

Ingredients: 

2 to 3 eggplants, sliced in thin circles
A bunch of tomatoes, chopped (6 medium)
2 small onions, chopped
4 to 5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 cups (or so) shredded mozzarella

Directions: 

I took a couple of the eggplants (delicious specimens from Edgerton Farm) sitting on my counter and sliced them thinly, sprinkling them with a little salt and layering them on a cookie sheet so they could “sweat” a bit. I chopped up a couple of small onions and garlic and all the ugly tomatoes that were lounging around on my counter. By ugly tomato, I mean those tomatoes that are either bruised or split or partially green. If you have a garden, I’m sure you know what I am talking about! While it would be nice if every tomato I grew came out perfectly round and vibrantly red, the truth is far from that. However, once you chop these up and start cooking, no one will ever know they started out less than pretty.

Layers of tomato sauce, eggplant, and cheese

I lightly sauteed the onions and garlic, adding all the chopped tomatoes and about 1 tablespoon of garam masala – a delicious Indian spice that you can probably get at your grocery store. I have found garam masala here in Charlotte at my local Harris Teeter and Earth Fare. The house took on a wonderful aroma. I cooked my tomatoes over medium heat, lightly breaking them up as they cooked, until I had basically created my own Indian-spiced, slightly chunky, tomato sauce.

Taking a large, round casserole, I took a spoonful of tomato sauce and spread it around the bottom. I layered the sliced eggplant over top and added a little more tomato sauce. I sprinkled shredded mozzarella cheese over the sauce and repeated my layers – eggplant, sauce, cheese – until I had used up all of my ingredients.

This dish was a wedding gift … I need to use it more!

Make sure your last layer is cheese, pop it in the oven at 350 degrees and let it cook for about 30 minutes. My children had thirds! Don’t expect any leftovers unless you increase the ingredients and cook it in a lasagna pan. Enjoy!

Sharing is caring!

5 thoughts on “Indian Eggplant and Tomato Casserole”

  1. I made this tonight and have to say the tomato sauce mixture was DELISH (I added a glob of some yummy olive oil that I like to get from Pasta & Provisions) but my eggplant was funky. Some of it was fine but some were outright bitter…really, really nasty stuff. What could account for this? I used the small eggplants from Harris Teeter.

  2. Hi Melissa! Do you know if your eggplants were local? I have been just using the eggplants from my garden or the eggplants from the farmers markets around here and they have all been delicious. When you cut up your eggplant, I would recommend you toss any piece that is discolored or isn’t looking fresh and white. After that, I usually salt my eggplant and let it sit for a bit while i prepare the other ingredients – the salting helps to pull out any bitterness that might be present. With these local eggplants, that hasn’t been a problem, but when I buy eggplants in the middle of winter, I ALWAYS salt them. Just a thought…

    I am glad that you loved the sauce! Me, too!!

  3. Thanks Erin! I don’t cook eggplant very often…just got the small ones from Harris Teeter. I *think* they said locally grown, but not sure. I didn’t realize it should look white; there were definitely some discolored pieces. Will give it another shot. Also thought about just making the sauce with a slew of other veggies (zuke, mushrooms, etc.). Love your blog, will keep watching!

  4. Absolutely!! We have been making tons of different tomato sauces with whatever veggies we have on hand. I think that last week we ate zucchini in something every night! 🙂 So glad to hear that you are enjoying the blog! – Erin

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *