Last week I was asked to prepare a vegetable side dish for a dinner party that we were attending. In my enthusiasm for vegetables, I decided to prepare two. One tried and true and one new and untested.
So I went to a handy-dandy website, http://www.fatfreevegan.com/ and decided to try Susan’s Italian Layered Vegetable Casserole. http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2009/05/italian-layered-vegetable-casserole.html I adjusted the proportions of the ingredients from the original recipe. I was totally surprised at this casserole’s awesomeness. I’m inspired too. Inspired to make it again and try out my own unique versions of it. It would be fabulous with even more vegetable layers, maybe fresh tomato and basil or portobella mushrooms. You could even add precooked whole wheat lasagna noodles and make it into a vegan lasagna. You really can take this thing wherever you want.
Here’s my first version of this vegan, low calorie yummimess. More versions to follow in the near future!
Italian Layered Vegetable Casserole
makes 8 servings, 2 Weight Watchers points per serving
2 large eggplants
2 medium-large zucchini, sliced thinly (or 2-4 cups sliced vegetables of your choice, such as mushrooms)
chopped parsley, garnish
28 ounces of your favorite pasta/tomato sauce
16oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 lb tofu (firm, reduced-fat recommended–not silken!)
1 tsp. salt (optional)
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (adds a cheesy taste)
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. rosemary, crushed
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Peel the eggplants, if desired (this makes the casserole easier to cut). Cut into 1/4-inch slices. Pre-cook the slices until they are partially dehydrated: To pre-cook in the oven, place on a silicone baking mat or parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake at 450 F until slices are shriveled but not brown or crispy. About 25 minutes. Remove immediately from baking sheet and place on a plate.
Prepare the filling by placing all ingredients into a food processor and processing until smooth.
Preheat oven to 425. Spray a mid-sized rectangular casserole dish (I used 9×13-inch) with canola oil or non-stick spray. Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the dish–just barely enough to cover the bottom. Arrange 1/3 of the eggplant slices over the sauce. Spread 1/2 of the filling over the eggplant, and put half of the zucchini or other vegetables over the filling. Drizzle lightly with sauce. Repeat eggplant, filling, zucchini, and sauce. Place the final layer of eggplant over the top, and pour the remaining sauce evenly over it, spreading it to cover the eggplant completely.
Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes. Check to make sure that zucchini is cooked and sauce has thickened; if not, add more time. Remove when done and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chopped parsley as garnish.
So what’s been going on in your kitchen lately? Let me know!