I’m happy to announce that FatFree Vegan Kitchen has been chosen as the featured blog in this month’s Tried & Tasted, a blog event started by Zlamushka’s Spicy Kitchen and hosted this month by Vaishali at Holy Cow!
The idea is simple: For the month of May, any interested blogger can choose a recipe from my blog, make it, and blog about it. At the end of the month, Vaishali will be posting a round-up of all the participants. So, if you’ve been thinking of making something from this blog, now is a good time; blogging events are a great way to get your blog noticed and attract new readers. Get the details on exactly what you need to do at Holy Cow!
I usually do a lot of trying and tasting of my own recipes before I post them to the blog. I may make a recipe two or three different ways, trying to get it just right or to make it a little easier to prepare or more nutritious. Usually the final version is better than the first one. Here’s a recipe, however, that I actually liked best the first way I made it.
I first made this pasta-free “lasagna” using the tofu filling from my lasagna recipe, and we loved it. For the next round of testing, however, I decided to make a soy-free version using white beans instead of tofu. I’d already take the photos you see here before I served the dish to my family and got a “meh” reaction. Everyone agreed that the white bean filling was not as good as the version I made with the tofu.
So what to do? We loved the tofu version, but I had no photos of it; I had plenty of relatively good-looking photos of the bean version, but we weren’t as thrilled with the recipe. In the end, I decided to post the recipe with links to the tofu filling so that you can have the choice of which way to make it. And truthfully, if you’re used to using beans instead of tofu in dishes like this, you will probably love it.
If you’re looking for “real” lasagna, be sure to check out My Favorite Lasagna; for something completely different (and absolutely delicious), try Spaghetti Squash Pesto Lasagna.
Italian Layered Vegetable Casserole
- 2 medium eggplants
- 1 large or 2 medium zucchini or 2-4 cups sliced vegetables of your choice, such as mushrooms, sliced thinly
- chopped parsley garnish
Sauce (or use 28 ounces of prepared pasta sauce):
- 1/2 small onion minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar or other sweetener optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
Creamy Bean Filling (or use tofu filling in Notes):
- 1 15-ounce can great northern beans rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 cup spinach firmly packed
- Peel the eggplants, if desired (this makes the casserole easier to cut). Cut into 1/4-inch slices. Pre-cook the slices until they are partially dehydrated.
- To microwave, cover the bottom of the microwave with two layers of paper towels. Place eggplant slices in a single layer and cook on high power for 8-10 minutes, until reduced in size and beginning to shrivel. Repeat with remaining eggplant.
- To pre-cook in the oven, place on a silicone baking mat or parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake at 450 F until slices are shriveled but not brown or crispy.
- Remove immediately from paper towels or baking sheet and place on a plate. See full-sized image.
Sauce and Filling
- While the eggplant is cooking, prepare the sauce, if you’re making it from scratch. Sauté the onion in a non-stick skillet until softened; add the garlic and cook for another minute. Set aside. Remove 1/2 cup of the diced tomatoes and set aside. Put remaining tomatoes and sauce ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Add reserved tomatoes and onions to blender and stir to combine (do not blend).
- Prepare the filling by placing all ingredients into a food processor and processing until smooth.
Preparing the Casserole
- Preheat oven to 425. Spray a mid-sized rectangular casserole dish (I used 11×7-inch) with canola oil or non-stick spray. Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the dish–just barely enough to cover the bottom. Arrange 1/3 of the eggplant slices over the sauce. Spread 1/2 of the bean filling over the eggplant, and put half of the zucchini or other vegetables over the filling. Drizzle lightly with sauce. Repeat eggplant, filling, zucchini, and sauce. Place the final layer of eggplant over the top, and pour the remaining sauce evenly over it, spreading it to cover the eggplant completely.
- Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes. Check to make sure that zucchini is cooked and sauce has thickened; if not, add more time. Remove when done and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chopped parsley as garnish.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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Tamsen GraceApril 18, 2014 at 1:24 am
I made this yesterday with one eggplant and two zucchini. I used jarred sauce but I think next time I’ll use your recipe for sauce. I also made a double batch of your cauliflower cheez sauce so I added a little bit of that to the bean filling and it was out of this world. The whole casserole was so rich and delicious that I had to check the fat content in the ingredients more than once to make sure it was low fat. This will be my new go to eggplant recipe and I’ll definitely find more uses for the bean filling. Thank you for a great recipe!
g campasMay 3, 2014 at 5:43 pm
Trying monday night will let you know results !Sounds great
Anna-MarieJuly 3, 2014 at 8:15 pm
I have to say that this recipe is absolutely and undeniably delicious! I did use a jar of organic sauce that I had on hand instead, but the bean filling was so GOOD! I mean, after I read that it wasn’t your favorite and you preferred the tofu….I thought I had to try the bean mixture. I love beans, spinach, basil so why not?! I am so glad I did. It was perfect. This will definitely my new go to recipe when I am craving some sort of “lasagna” type meal without all of the guilt! I have plenty of leftovers as well, which I am excited to eat tomorrow! Thanks!!!!
KarenJanuary 15, 2015 at 9:15 pm
I am so glad I found this recipe. I bought a gorgeous white and purple eggplant today determined not to cook it in oil. I had all the other ingredients-mushrooms, not zucchini- except for spinach. I went for it anyway. Oh my gosh it is so delicious. Who needs oil or pasta!! Thank you!
JulianaJuly 2, 2016 at 7:26 pm
Whats the serving size for one person??
Susan VoisinJuly 2, 2016 at 10:56 pm
This makes 6 servings so just divide the casserole into six parts.
Carolyn CouslerJuly 30, 2017 at 10:11 pm
I made this dish tonight with fresh eggplant from my garden, organic zucchini and mushrooms, with the northern beans and spinach. It was delicious! Thank you!!!
Joanne SalihuJanuary 2, 2018 at 1:15 am
Very tasty. Will make again.
Susan SNovember 9, 2018 at 11:59 am
Have made this before and love it. Using jarred sauce because I am short on time. Used the bean filling. Trying something – have assembled the whole casserole but going to bake later – hope that doesn’t change anything in the final product. Has anyone done it this way?
AlocasiaSeptember 22, 2019 at 11:58 am
Can I make this a day ahead of time and keep it in the fridge overnight?
Susan VoisinSeptember 22, 2019 at 3:54 pm
Yes, it should keep just fine.
AnnMarieApril 15, 2020 at 7:02 pm
Yum – thank you! I added a liberal amount of garlic to the bean filling and made polenta to use as the bottom layer of the casserole. Sooo good!
Baker Sue KieferMay 27, 2020 at 11:23 am
Susan, I have made many of your recipes and loved them all. One of our favorites is the lasagna recipe. This one, however, was a failure. I used the bean sauce recipe although I have made the tofu spinach one often. I think I failed to precook the eggplant long enough. Also, the flavor of the “notch” was overwhelming. The bean sauce seemed very dry compared to the tofu sauce.
I was not easy to slice the eggplant in 1/4 inch slices. I am a quilter and I know what 1/4 inch looks like.
I am not sure if I will try this one again even though we love eggplant.