Mediterranean Eggplant, Zucchini & Chilli Fetta Bake
I had gorgeous purple eggplants in my produce bags this week, they were so pretty, I figured they deserved an awesome dish where they weren’t just a side. I also had red bull horn peppers (sweet long capsicums) and organic zucchinis so decided to make up a veggies bake using what I had in the fridge. It turned out super yummy!
I loved this on its own for dinner, but you could have it as a side too. I have pre-made frozen polenta squares that I defrosted and quickly pan fried to serve with ours and it was delicious. Making up a heap of polenta and then freezing it in individual serves is a great quick way to bulk up a meal. I put herbs and chilli in my last batch and it is so good.
If you aren’t a fan of copious amounts of olive oil, then I would say that this recipe probably isn’t for you. Eggplants love the stuff and soak up so much, it always surprises me every time. But it doesn’t taste oily at all, and luckily I love olive oil, so it all good.
I was rushing to get the pic before it got too dark and didn’t give it time to settle before slicing it up which is why it looks watery, that and it’s not really meant for serving on a board, that’s just for pics : )
I ended up scoffing that serve immediately, after planning on having just one bite. And then kept going back to the dish for another mouthful. But still had room for another serve for dinner when my husband got home.
I meant to put basil in it, but forgot and just used thyme leaves. But you could add basil leaves into the layers of veg if you want.
SUITABLE FOR: gluten, nut, soy & egg free diets and vegetarian. I use goats fetta as it is low in lactose and easier to digest than cows
- Lots of olive oil
- 4 medium eggplants (or 3 large), sliced into 1cm thick discs
- 3 large zuchhinis, sliced lengthways in 1cm slices
- 3 red bulls horn peppers (capsicums), deseeded and cut into thick chunks
- 150g feta cheese (I used marinated chilli fetta)
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 x 400g chopped tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves & 1tspn to top with
- add chilli flakes to sauce to taste about 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon
- 2 tbsp caramelised balsamic vinegar (the caramelised vinegar helps to sweeten, can use brown sugar if you want instead, but maybe less)
- Ground sea salt and pepper
- Put down some sheets of paper towel, lay out the slices of eggplant and then sprinkle both sides with salt. Place a layer of paper towel over the top and press down. Let sit for 30-60mins. The salt draw a out the moisture and bitterness. Then rinse under running water, and dry with more paper towel.
- To get the sauce ready, in a saucepan, add the onions and garlic and sauté until opaque. Add the canned tomato, thyme leaves, chilli flakes, caramelised balsamic, 1 cup water and season to taste. Let simmer for 20-30 mins.
- When the eggplant is ready, add olive oil to a large frypan, and pan fry the eggplant & zuchhini. The eggplants absorb a lot of oil, you will need to keep adding more. Then remove and put on paper towel to absorb some of the excess oil.
- Add the peppers slices, skin side down and cook until black spots start appearing then remove.
- To assemble, put a thin layer of sauce about 1cm on the bottom of baking dish. Add layer of zuchhini, then capsicum and then the eggplant using 1/2 of the veggies prepared. Lightly season and then pour over 1/2 of the remaining sauce and crumble over the fetta cheese.
- Repeat layers finishing with the sauce & fetta. On the top sprinkle over 1 tspn thyme leaves and the Parmesan cheese.
- Place in the oven for 35mins at 180 degrees Celsius or until cooked through and golden on top. My cheese burnt on the top, I suggest covering with foil for the first 20mins and then uncovered for the last 15.
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