This Italian Eggplant Casserole is great for a summer meal. Just add some cornbread, Italian bread or Texas toast and a salad. Check out some tips on eggplant, too.
1 medium eggplant peeled and diced in 1 inch pieces or 3 to 4 cups
1 pound lean hamburger
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 cup coarsely chopped green pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of cayenne or several drops of hot sauce
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped (Optional)
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes or could use about 2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
4 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs or plain bread crumbs
1 cup Italian Style Shredded Cheese (This is a combination of Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Romano, Fontina and Asiago) I found this at Walmart. You can also use whatever you like.
Cook the eggplant in enough water to cover it for about 10 minutes until tender. Remove, drain and set aside. In a skillet cook the hamburger, chopped onion, chopped green pepper along with black pepper, salt, oregano, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne and basil until hamburger is browned and onions and peppers are cooked. Drain the hamburger. Stir in tomatoes and eggplant. Spray a baking dish (2 to 3 quart size) with cooking spray, add half of the eggplant and hamburger mixture, sprinkle on 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs, add 1/2 cup cheese. Spread on the other half of the hamburger and eggplant mixture, add the last two tablespoons of bread crumbs and the last 1/2 cup shredded cheese (can add more bread crumbs and cheese if you like) Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings. Enjoy!
Tips on Eggplant:
1. Choose shiny medium sized eggplants with no wrinkles for the freshest and the least amount of seeds. The eggplant should feel heavy in your hands and if you press on the skin it should give slightly but bounce back.
2. Peak season is late spring to fall.
3. Eggplants do not like to be refrigerated but if not using right away can be stored in the vegetable crisper for up to 5 days.
4. You do not have to remove the seeds of the eggplant. They are edible.
5. Raw eggplants contain an alkaloid called solanine which in large doses can be poisonous but you would have to eat several dozen eggplants raw to be poisoned. The flowers and leaves can be toxic.
6. The skin is edible but can be tough in larger eggplants.
If you like this recipe, you might also like my recipe for Zucchini Beef Skillet.
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