Looking for a recipe to use up the last of summer zucchini and eggplant? This recipe is easy enough for a weeknight because it uses jar marinara. No need to be a hero. Jar marina is tasty and with all the brands out there clearly lots of people are using it. Jar marinara mixed with zucchini and eggplant is a match made in baked heaven. Also unlike most eggplant bakes, this lowcarb zucchini eggplant bake has enough flavor and only includes cheese if you want.
Have you ever grown zucchini in your backyard garden? We tried it for the first time and its October and they are still growing. Quality and quantity wise, zucchini is a great choice to grow your own. Not only do you get a lot of them, the zucchini in our garden are ginormous compared to anything you would buy at the grocery store. One garden grown zucchini is equivalent to at least four of the skinny ones found in the grocery store. And the taste, oh the difference in taste. Homegrown zucchini slices are thick and when you bake them have a squash like texture and flavor.
At some point however, around September or October, you are still getting massive zucchini and there are only so many times you can make zoodles again. You start wondering what you are going to do with all that zucchini and it starts weighing on you at work. What am I going to make with those two ginormous zucchini in the fridge? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good problem to have but it does take a little creativity to solve.
As great as homegrown zucchini is the recipe includes the proportions for store bought as well since that is what the majority of people will buy. If you are buying the very skinny that are barely thicker than a quarter in diameter, about three of those equal one of the massive garden grown ones. The second most common store bought size of zucchini is about two inches thick in diameter and two of those should equal one homegrown zucchini.
For this recipe, you first bake the zucchini and eggplant in the oven and then layer them in a baking dish with the jar marinara. It is like a lasagna but a lowcarb one. To make it even healthier, serve this lowcarb zucchini eggplant bake with chickpea rice or lentil pasta. Regular pasta works fine too.
Zucchini Eggplant Bake
- Flat baking tray like a cookie sheet
- Baking tray
- Strainer (Not a colander)
- 2 large Eggplants, chopped into round 1 cm thick slices
- 2 Zucchinis, chopped into 1/2 cm slices
- 1 Bell pepper chopped into medium sized pieces
- 3 cups Jar marinara
- 8 ounces Cottage cheese. Use more or less depending on taste.
- 2 ounces Basil leaves. Use more if desired.
- 1 tsp Dry thyme
- 3-4 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup Olive oil. You can also use cooking spray.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven for 350 degrees
- Coat the eggplant slices on both sides with either olive oil or cooking spray and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Put the eggplant slices on a baking tray and cook for 15 minutes
- While the eggplant slices are cooking, coat the zucchini slices in olive oil or cooking spray and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
- After the eggplant slices have cooked for 15 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and turn over each side.
- Add the zucchini to the tray or to a separate tray and place both trays back into the oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove the tray from the oven and turn over the zucchini slices.
- Place the zucchini slices back into the oven and bake for 5 more minutes.
- While the zucchini is baking, strain the marinara sauce to remove excess water. Use a strainer, not a colander because the hole in a colander are too large for this purpose.
- After 5 minutes, remove the trays from the oven.
- Add some sauce to the bottom of a 9 x 5 inch baking dish.
- Add 4-6 eggplant slices to the bottom of the baking dish.
- Put a bit of sauce on each slice and spread
- Layer some zucchini, cottage cheese, basil leaves, garlic and peppers on top of the eggplant and add more sauce.
- Add another layer of eggplant and keep layering until you run out of ingredients.
- Try to save some basil leaves for the top layer for presentation purposes.
- Bake in the oven or warm up in the microwave. Serve alone or over lentil pasta, quinoa or cauliflower rice.