Here’s another response to a recipe request for a main dish involving eggplant. The flavors in this recipe combine my favorite types of sweet/savory flavor profiles. It’s a beautifully layered Mediterranean casserole dish (specifically from Crete) that’s reminiscent of lasagna but without cheese. This is a beautifully clean recipe with very little added fat and no dairy. You could also replace the ground turkey with ground chicken if you wish. By the way, if anyone is looking for an actual vegetarian lasagna recipe, you can find my Green Lentil Noodle Lasagna recipe posted in this group (search the term “lasagna” in the search box at the top of the group page). That recipe also has vegan instructions. As always, enjoy!! And please post feedback and photos!!
Ingredients: • 2 large eggplants, cut into 1/4-in. round slices • Salt • 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus non-stick clean cooking spray as needed • 1/2 bunch spinach, chopped • 1 green pepper, chopped • Ground cinnamon to taste • 3 tbsp ghee • 2 medium onions, sliced into half moons • 2-3 garlic cloves, sliced • 3 carrots, cut into 1/4-in. round slices • 2 tbsp dried cranberries, or raisins, or dried cherries • 15 oz. can tomato sauce, canned • 1 lb. lean ground turkey • 4-5 tbsp. Ezekiel (or other clean) bread crumbs
Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a rectangular baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Place the eggplant slices on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt. Top with another paper towel, and place another pan on top. Let them rest until ready to cook. (The salting will draw out the bitterness from the eggplant.)
3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the eggplant and sauté until slices are browned on both sides. Add extra cooking spray as needed.
4. Transfer the eggplant to the baking pan, forming a layer on the bottom of the pan.
5. Then add the chopped spinach and green peppers to the frying pan. Sauté about 4-5 minutes. Then transfer them to the baking dish and season with cinnamon. Then spoon the tomato sauce over the vegetables.
6. Add 1 tbsp of ghee to the sauté pan. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes until onions are translucent. Set aside in a bowl.
7. Add the carrots and raisins/dried fruit to the pan and sauté 3-4 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Set aside with onions.
8. Add the ground turkey to pan, breaking it up with a fork. Cook it most of the way through. Then transfer to the baking dish, spreading the turkey evenly. Top with more tomato sauce, followed by the onions, carrots, and raisins/dried fruit. Press down to compact, and add more cinnamon to taste. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.
9. Add the last tablespoon of ghee to the pan and heat until melted. Drizzle melted ghee over the breadcrumbs.
10. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Uncover and cook for 15 minutes longer until golden brown and bubbling around the edges. Serve with brown rice or clean pasta.