We’ve been binge-watching the TV series Heartland the past few cold, winter days. Unlike Downton Abby where the elderly Dowager Countess of Grantham seems to get the best lines, the young neighbor girl Mallory often offers opinions no adults would dare speak. For example: “What is this stuff?” as she looks down at her plate. When told it was Shepherd’s Pie, she remarked, “It looks more like something the shepherd stepped in.”
I hope this doesn’t look that bad, but I admit cooked eggplant is the opposite of photogenic. Is there a word for that? Can somebody help me? In ultrasound, we call it “ultrasound ugly.” Maybe we could call eggplant “food ugly.”
But I won’t let the unfortunate appearance of eggplant keep me from eating it. If you are tired of green beans, broccoli, and carrots, you might try eggplant in this scrumptious vegetable casserole. I only call it dressing because it includes cornbread crumbs. You could just as easily use rice or quinoa in place of the cornbread.
I’m not a fan of boiled eggplant as called for in so many eggplant recipes. I much prefer to grill it using a grill pan so it doesn’t get mushy. In the absence of a grill pan, saute the eggplant in a skillet brushed with olive oil.
Since I’m always looking for ways to trim calories, I’m rather sparing with the cheese. Otherwise, I would stir an additional two ounces of shredded Cheddar into the casserole just before baking.
- 1 small to medium eggplant, cooked and diced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup chopped onions
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ¼ cup chopped red pepper
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 4 ounce button or portobello mushrooms, sliced or chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup lowfat milk
- 1 4 oz. can green chilies
- 1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed corn
- 1-1/2 cups crumbled, stale cornbread
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
- Use greased grill pan or skillet to cook peeled and sliced eggplant, flipping when browned. See picture above. Set aside.
- Melt butter in large skillet. Add onions, celery, peppers, and garlic and saute until soft. Add mushrooms and sage to skillet and cook another 3-4 minutes.
- Sprinkle flour over cooked veggies. Stir to distribute evenly. Add milk and continue to stir until thickened. Add cooked and chopped eggplant, green chilies, corn and cornbread crumbs, stirring gently. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over the top during the last 10 minutes.