Italian-Style Eggplant and Pasta Bake – Dairy Free

Three days ago, in our San Francisco East Bay valley, it got cold enough to cap our mountain with white fluffy stuff overnight.  I took this from the balcony of our office.  Unfortunately the snow only lasted till today, as the days are around 59 degrees.

Snow on MtDiablo 02_13

On cold days, like most of us, I yearn for something that will approximate comfort food.  With my Middle Eastern background, that will have to include a creamy vegetable, like Eggplant; a starch, since I minimize my carbohydrate intake I chose Brown Rice noodles; and cheese for its melty goodness, Almond cheese or Daiya of course.

This dish offers an antioxidant punch with lycopene-rich cooked tomatoes.  The spices and onion add their own health benefits.

You can substitute squash or zucchini for the Eggplant, or a mixture of all three!

My Italian-Style Eggplant Pasta Bake

Recipe

  • 2 medium organic Eggplants, rinsed and peeled in stripes
  • 2 c. organic bottled Tomato Sauce
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 small organic white onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh organic Basil, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp. organic Oregano
  • 1 tsp. organic Thyme
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1- 1/2 c. whole grain, wheat free pasta
  • 2 c. Daiya or Almond cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Slice Eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices, and sprinkle each with salt, stacking them as you go.  Place eggplant stacks in a large bowl and place a heavy plate or pot on top and compress for 10 – 15 minutes to leach out the bitter juice.

eggplant towers

Cook pasta Al Dente according to directions

Brown Rice Noodles

In the meantime, place tomato sauce, garlic, onion, 1/2 the basil, and the spices in a pot over medium heat, and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook on low for 10 minutes, just to infuse the spices into the sauce.

Cheesy Eggplant and Noodle Sauce

Remove dish from eggplant stacks, and press each slice between two pieces of unbleached paper towels to remove water and salt. Place eggplant slices on lightly oiled cookie sheets in oven for 10 minutes to soften. I use Coconut oil, but you may use Olive Oil.  Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large glass baking dish, pour 1/2 c. of the tomato sauce and spread evenly.  Place a layer of eggplant slices close together on sauce so they slightly overlap, sprinkle with 1/2 the remaining basil, and 1/3 of the cheese.

Add 1/2 the noodles and 1 c. of sauce. Repeat eggplant, remaining basil and 1/3 cheese.  Add the rest of the noodles, the sauce and rest of the cheese.

Cheesy Eggplant and Noodle Bake - Dairy Free

OPTIONAL: Mix 1 cup of gluten free bread crumbs with 1 tsp. of organic Virgin Olive Oil, a dash of pepper and a dash of thyme, and sprinkle on top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Serve with a large green salad.

~ Bon apetit!

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11 thoughts on “Italian-Style Eggplant and Pasta Bake – Dairy Free

  1. I just love your recipes. They remind me of the foods I learned to cook in home ec. Cannot wait to make this oh so healthy pasta and eggplant dish. My son will eat what my husband would not. He will like this dish too. I trained him to try many foods unknown to him, and some unknown to me! I appreciate you and your sharing so much on your site. georgia

  2. This looks delicious! I haven’t tried daily free cheese yet even though I have been eating diary free for over a year – it just hasn’t appealed to me. I just might have to with this inspiration assuming I can find some at the market.

    1. I love your typo!! ‘Daily free’ cheese.. I want THAT. 😀 As I mentioned below, you may like Rice Cheese for this recipe as it is better at melting. I only had Almond cheese, so the flavor was yummy, but no melty goodness.

  3. It is one of my favourite receipies,but next time iam going to exchange the fried egg plants with grilled ones,as you suggested,you know hoda I even did it with brown sliced bread instead of pasta..

    1. Layla, Grilling the eggplant is a terrific idea. As long as the bread is not made with wheat flour.. you’re ok. I know that’s a challenge in Leb… but wheat causes inflammation for many people. They don’t realize why the feel bad, or can’t lose weight in spite of ‘eating right’, or why they have back pain, etc. So mostly I eat bread made with 2 – 3 whole grains, like millet, or brown rice, or barley. xx Hoda

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