By Dana Hirsch
Eggplant–love it or hate it? Society seems to be divided over whether this fruit (yes, fruit!) is a delicious vegan addition to many dishes or the most dreaded ingredient. This Eggplant in Tomato Sauce recipe will please the eggplant-enthusiasts and critics alike!
Here’s why this isn’t your average eggplant recipe: While eggplants in many other dishes are cooked or breaded and fried, this dish uses oven-roasted eggplant. When roasted , eggplants get a delicious golden brown crust that not only brings out its sweet and nutty taste, but also adds a wonderful texture.
Baking tray and parchment paper/reusable silicone baking liner
Pot/pan (preferably oven-safe)
Knife big enough to cut the eggplant
Pastry brush or paper towel
Total time: 1 hr (40-50 minute cook time)
Ingredients for Vegan Eggplant in Tomato Sauce for Two:
One eggplant (currently available at the Purchase
Tomato sauce (I used a 15 oz can of low-sodium tomato sauce from the Purchase food pantry. If using fresh tomatoes, use 8-10 Roma tomatoes, cut the skin in an “X” shape on each tomato, boil for 1 minute, rinse in cold water and the skin will come right off. If using whole tomatoes (canned or fresh), be sure to blend or cut into small pieces.)
Olive oil (about half of a cup)
Fresh garlic (3-6 cloves, depending on how much you like garlic)
Half an onion (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Seasoning (I used sugar, Italian seasonings like rosemary, oregano, thyme and paprika seasoning, as well as dried coriander. You can use any seasoning mix or herbs that you like in tomato sauce. Pro tip: A bay leaf and a splash of red wine takes any tomato sauce from great to amazing!)
A side to serve the dish, such as rice (I use 1.5 cups dry rice for two people), pasta, or fresh Italian bread
Preheat the oven to 425 ºF.
Wash and cut the eggplant into slices lengthwise (about 1/4 of an inch thick). Some of the Purchase food pantry eggplants will have soft spots but you can simply cut them off as these flaws are superficial!
Arrange the eggplant slices on a baking tray and brush them with a pastry brush (or dab with paper towel) using 1/3 cup olive oil. Roast them in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Next, chop onion and slice the garlic cloves.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot/pan (I used a cast iron pan) and cook onions until translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste. (If using canned tomato sauce, consider not adding any more salt as even the low-sodium version often already contains lots of salt.)
Add tomato sauce (or cut/blended whole tomatoes), sliced garlic, a little bit of sugar to bring out the tomato flavor, and seasoning to the pot/pan. Let tomato sauce simmer as eggplant cooks. (If using fresh tomatoes, be sure to let the liquid cook out for at least 30 minutes.)
When your eggplant is golden brown, remove them from the oven but leave it turned on. Half of the sauce should be in your oven safe pot/pan and half in a bowl set aside. Assemble the dish by placing the eggplant slices on top of the tomato sauce in the pot/pan, then add the rest of the sauce, covering the eggplant evenly. (If you don’t have an oven safe pot/pan, you can assemble the dish and let it cook on low on the stove for 10 minutes.)
Cook the dish for another 10 minutes or so in the oven.
Serve hot with rice, pasta, or bread! This dish doesn’t freeze well but will keep in the fridge for a max of three days.
Food insecurity is a common problem among college students. According to the National Student
Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, 44% of college students cut the size of their meals or skipped meals because there wasn’t enough money for food, 15% lost weight because there wasn’t enough money for food, and 20% did not eat for a whole day because there wasn’t enough money for food.
If you’re struggling with food insecurity, visit the Food Pantry website, follow their Instagram, or email Food Pantry Supervisor Dilenny Diaz at email@example.com for more information on how you can access services you need.