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Baked Eggplant and Spinach

If I could figure out how to do it, I would absolutely make out with our local Farmers Market. Considering I grew up eating Banquet frozen chicken and TV dinners, it's probably a little weird that I get all sorts of hot and bothered by fresh produce, but I do. Mmmm...fresh produce.

Last week's Farmer's Market run included a HUGE pile of stuff, not the least of which was eggplant and spinach. I happen to be a big fan of putting them together and adding some marinara sauce and cheese to the concoction. I have no clue what it's "technically" called, but I've been calling it Baked Eggplant and Spinach. Most of the time, that is. Sometimes I call it, "The Eggplant Crap." (Nobody ever said I was good with naming things.)

It turns out a lot like Eggplant Parmesan, but with a lot less fat and calories. Shhhh...don't tell anyone that I generally eat healthy foods. I have a reputation to maintain, n'at.

Baked Eggplant and Spinach

1 Eggplant, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
Spinach (If frozen, use one package. If fresh, use as much as you can fit into a produce bag.)
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup (or more) shredded cheese

Slice the eggplant into 1/3 inch pieces.

Coat each side of the eggplant slices with olive oil and a little sprinkle of salt. Place in the oven under the broiler (low, if you have a choice). You can use a cookie sheet if desired, but I like to put it directly on the rack.

While you're waiting for the eggplant to cook, cook the spinach. I prefer to steam it, but it doesn't really matter.

When the eggplant is lightly browned on top, flip it over and allow the other side to cook. It takes about 5 minutes per side, but oven temperatures vary, so keep an eye on it. (Pro tip: If the eggplant seems a little dry after cooking the first side, feel free to slap some more olive oil on the uncooked side before putting it back into the oven.)

Once the eggplant is lightly browned and softened, remove it from the oven. Place a layer of eggplant in the bottom of an oven safe dish.

Add a layer of cooked spinach.

Add a layer of marinara sauce, and then repeat the layers until you run out of eggplant.

Then look at how amazingly healthy you're being and realize there isn't enough protein happening. Fix that with some shredded cheese on top of your last layer of marinara.

I'm a fan of mozzarella and provolone, but anything works.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until it is warmed all the way through. Then turn the broiler on high and make some quick magic.

Whoever first figured out that burnt cheese is the greatest thing ever deserves a medal. We fight over that stuff at my house.

I like this as a side or a main course exactly as it comes out of the oven. The husband, however, likes to put a huge serving of it on a hoagie roll.


It's good no matter what.

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Reader Comments (9)

I might eat this. I don't generally like eggplant but I've discovered with some sauce and cheese it is edible. Throw in some spinach (which I do like) and it might just be elevated above edible.

And burnt cheese? My mom and I always fought over the burnt or crispy edge of casseroles or the Stouffer's Mac and cheese when I was a kid. It was the best part! Now I'm constantly trying to fight with my husband over it and he gives me this "you are insane" look. He doesn't like the crispy cheese. And I'm the crazy one?

July 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Smiles

Love the sound of that. Now if only I could get my husband to eat spinach or eggplant. Maybe with lots of cheese he won't notice whats underneath. You have me in the mood for burnt cheese now so I will to do something along those lines for dinner tonight.l

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

How did you know that I have a lonely eggplant in the fridge? Greg always buys one and I am not a fan of breading and frying it. Eggplant and spinach for dinner tonight. Oh, and burnt cheese, too.

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary Lynn

Yum and PERFECT! I always oven bake my eggplant (instead of frying it), but that takes about 40 minutes. I never thought to broil it - now this is a weeknight meal!

I will be making this tonight with Swiss Chard (from the CSA) and some frozen spinach added (I don't have a whole bag).

Thank you!

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobyn

This sounds amazing. I'm always looking for new ways to include veggies in meals. I have to try out this recipe, and soon.

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTara R.

Hello, yum! I may have to try this with zucchini!

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

sounds sooooooooooooo good, but too many steps for me. dammit.

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

Mmmmmm this looks so yummy! Thanks for sharing it.

August 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoxy

Made this for dinner and mixed zucchini and eggplant. It was so good..thanks for sharing. It is going to become a new dinner option for my meatless days. A great way to hide the spinach too..

August 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkatsbynp
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