This is an easy to make and healthy vegetarian dish that is surprisingly flavourful considering it only calls for a handful of ingredients. Thinly sliced eggplant is layered with pasta sauce, feta cheese and basil, then topped with breadcrumbs.
Makes: 2 large portions
4 small eggplants
4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil
100g feta cheese
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 pinch chilli powder
1/2 (350g) jar tomato pasta sauce
15 to 20 fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
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Slice the tops off of the eggplants, then cut lengthwise into very thin (3mm) slices. Sprinkle slices with sea salt, then place in a colander set over a bowl or the sink. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, or up to a few hours, so that the eggplants releases its bitter juices. Sit for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
Take the eggplant and brush off excess salt, then pat dry with paper towel.
Once the eggplant is ready, take two baking trays and brush with olive oil (you may want to line with baking paper first to prevent sticking). Place the eggplant slices in a single layer onto the baking trays, then brush the tops with a bit of olive oil. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the eggplant is very soft and tender and is starting to brown on the edges. Turn once halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, slice the feta and sprinkle with oregano and chilli powder. Take a small baking dish (16cm or similar) and place 2 spoonfuls of pasta sauce on the bottom.
Once the eggplants is ready, place a double layer of eggplant slices on top of the pasta sauce already in the baking dish. Arrange one-third of the basil leaves over top, then one-third of the feta and finally a few more spoonfuls of pasta sauce. Repeat these layers, ending with pasta sauce. Finally, sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the whole lot.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 20 minutes, until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly. Serve with good crusty bread!