I’m not really sure what to call this one, but it is delicious, and melty, and soft, and meaty, and tomatoey, and it’s just the best thing ever. It’s super simple – eggplant, garlic, and tomato sauce, baked until the eggplant disintegrates and you are left with rich melty eggplanty saucy goodness.
This is something my husband makes that has been passed down in his family. He says that his step mother used to bake eggplant and garlic in tons of oil and marinara all day long in the oven at a really low temperature. We are both too lazy and impatient for that, so this is the easy version.
I count this as a veggie and a fat serving. This makes 4 servings at a time and is an excellent one for batch cooking or for feeding families or company.
That means that if you are on the weight loss plan (and it’s dinner time) you have a protein still to work with. I love to put this delicious melty eggplant over legume pasta, or quinoa. Yes, I just said the P-word. There are so many weird pastas out there now-a-days, and some of them are technically compliant. Some people find any pasta-like things triggering, so please be careful and trust your intuition about this. I haven’t had any issues with it.
Some brands of legume pasta are mushy and strange (black bean and edamame pasta for example – are kind of gross in my opinion) but there are a few that have a much better texture that I really like. Some brands that I’ve found that I like a lot are Tolerant lentil pasta, Ancient Harvest POW lentil pasta, Banza chickpea pasta, and Trader Joes lentil pasta. See photos below. In the FAQ, Susan mentions pasta from the Explore Asia brand, which is compliant, but I think it’s gross and mushy compared to these brands.
Here’s what the FAQ in my program says about legume pasta:
If you are looking at a different brand and wondering whether it will work, it needs to meet the following criteria:
- No flour is listed in the first three ingredients.
- It contains more than 15 grams of protein per serving.
- It contains more than 10 grams of fiber per serving.
If it meets these three criteria, it’s acceptable. 6 oz. = 1 protein serving for both women and men
Ok, enough about pasta. Let’s make some delicious melty eggplant.
Delicious Melty Eggplant
Each Serving Contains:
- 1 Veggie Serving (adjust quantity to your individual food plan)
- 1 Fat Serving
- 2 medium eggplants
- Protein Options:
- Quinoa (4 oz = 1 protein serving)
- Legume pasta (6 oz cooked = 1 protein serving, I just use 3 oz dry because it roughly doubles)
- Vegan ricotta (2 oz = 1 protein serving)
- Split your protein – half pasta, half ricotta – this is my favorite!
- 4 tablespoons or 2 oz of olive oil (4 fat servings)
- 1 jar of marinara sauce (check for sugar!)
- Salt, pepper, oregano
- 4-5 garlic cloves, whole
- Grain Additions: Eat over any cooked grain, I prefer quinoa.
- Protein Additions: More lentil pasta, vegan ricotta, or pine nuts.
- Fat Additions: More oil, or vegan ricotta.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Slice the eggplants into lengthwise chunks about the length and width of two fingers.
- Put the eggplant into a casserole dish or baking dish and add the oil.
- Dump the jar marinara sauce on top.
- Sprinkle about a teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and oregano.
- Throw a few whole garlic cloves on top.
- Stir it all together and place in the oven, covered with a lid.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 20-25 minutes and stabbing the eggplant with a fork to mash it slightly.
- Meanwhile, cook legume pasta or quinoa to put the eggplant on top of.
- Separate the completed dish into 4 servings, noting the weight of each serving and using that number as your veggie amount. I eat 10 oz of veggies at a meal, and this usually come in a little bit short of my veggie quota, so I add a few cherry tomatoes, a side of carrot sticks, or a side of whatever else is lying around.