18 May 2010

Eggplant-Mushroom-Cheese Melt -a Quick Dinner

Shaking off my ( Hyderabad heat induced ) lethargy, I have finally made a Fan Page for Saffron Trail blog. If you are on Facebook (really, who isn't??) I would really love it if you joined me there. 
Right now I am sharing some toddler food recipes that my toddler seems to enjoy as well as some interesting must-try bookmarked links from other bloggers. It will be fun to interact with you there. If you've liked my blog but been too bored to comment or Blogger hasn't made things easy for you - then join the fun on Facebook - I'd love to see my readers delurk :)

Here's yesterday's dinner in today's post - for you! :)

This is the kind of dish that comes together when one want to use up an overdue eggplant, a pack of fresh mushrooms that one doesn't want to go bad, a handful of beans leftover from the weekend's dinner and then throw in some bread to round it off. This Italian style of cooking it is really making me a fan of eggplant. Earlier it was strictly - "Thanks but no thanks" to eggplants of all shapes and sizes. Then it came to "I am okay with the big roasted ones converted into a tasty 'bharta'". Later it turned out that I'm so much in love in the caponatas of the world. Now, even if its roasted eggplant puree on a pizza, I am like - "Bring it on, baby!!" And when I brought out the 'Roasted eggplant soup' on the blog, fellow foodies must have shaken their heads and said 'Boy, is she losing it or what!'.

But this dish is not as crazy as the soup. Stir in some vegetables (peppers, eggplant, squash, mushrooms, onions - all work fine here) with garlic, tomato puree and herbs - bake it over moistened slices of bread and you have an Italian main course ready without even putting the pasta to boil. You can call it a mock lasagna. I have two packets of lasagna lying in the kitchen and I haven't brought myself to try out the real stuff yet. In the mean while making myself happy with this...Try it - I am sure you'll love it. And so will your kids!
Eggplant hater? No problem, just use the other vegetables I've listed above.

Recipe for Eggplant-Mushroom-Cheese Melt

Time taken – Under 30 minutes
Serves 2-3

2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup eggplant cubes
200 grams mushrooms – washed, wiped dry and quartered
¼ cup of any cooked beans like kidney beans or black eyed peas (optional)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup tomato puree
½ tsp chilli flakes or powder
½-1 tsp salt
¼ cup grated cheddar or mozzarella
3-4 slices whole wheat bread
½ cup milk

  1. In a wok, heat the oil and sauté the garlic for a few seconds.
  2. Add the eggplant cubes and stir on medium heat till half done – around 5 minutes, sprinkling some water if required.
  3. Then, add the mushrooms, and let it cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the cooked beans, herbs, chilli flakes and salt along with tomato puree at this stage. Mix well to combine, cover with a lid and let it simmer on low heat for 3-4 minutes until the eggplant and mushroom is cooked.
  5. Stir in all but 1 tsp of the cheese.
  6. Line the base of a baking dish with slices of bread dipped in milk and squeezed gently. I had to use 3 slices to cover a roughly 10 X 6 dish.
  7. Spread the mixture on top of this, sprinkling the reserved tsp of cheese on top.
  8. Bake / grill for 8-10 minutes. Remove each serving with the bread and the topping.
  9. Serve hot.
I'd consider this a relatively low carb, high protein dinner as the main source of carbs here were there 3 slices of whole wheat bread shared between two of us, and mushrooms, beans, cheese are all high in protein. Taste wise, it was really high on flavours - if you store packs of tomato puree at home and cans of beans, it can be put together in a jiffy even for a weeknight dinner!


Priya Arun said...

Sounds yumm! I'm a huge fan of aubergines!

Quick question: How bad can it get if I leave out the cheese? :-? Any replacements (in my dreams, eh?)?

Nandita said...

Pander or tofu crumbled Is good substitute or you can leave it out completely - dish is flavourful even without cheese

Pavithra Srihari said...

wow , this is mouthwatering one .. egg plants. mushroom and above all cheese ..No wonder its sooper

Nandita said...

Priya - I meant Paneer*

Aparna said...

So this was what you were talking about. Looks good even though I'm still at the "Thanks, but no thanks" stage as far as baingan is concerned, except for a couple of dishes. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello Nandita,

Sheela here. I have been visiting your webpage frequently for the past few weeks.I am fairly new to cooking and get very exhausted when i look at endless list of ingredients and cooking process.(Hate to say but not very fond of cooking but have started to like ever since I moved to US)
I am a vegetarian basically from Bangalore. I must say Thanks for your recipes. So far I did try Handvo for breakfast which is a different version of Adai dosa I guess!! Loved it!! I tried your Tam Bam 30 minute lunch recipes and it turned out Yummmmm. Reminded me of my mom's cooking.
I reside in US now, so your recipes are such time savers and makes me want to try different recipes.
Keep in touch.
PS: your e-mail link does not work, so could not send you one.
would love to keep in touch with you.

Chaitra said...

Wow...this looks inviting....lovely click dear....
Drop in sometime

Rajani said...

hi nandita! just found you! already love your blog :)

hope chest said...

Are these eggplants? They don't look like one! Oh my! I can make my kids eat this one!

Sayali said...

great one...

Adelina said...

Great recipe! Love your site. One of the best I have seen on Indian vegetarian!

Mani said...

Hi Nandita
I tried this recipe too. My husband and I liked it, was easy and delicious. My kids did not like it as much . The bread was soggy . I may try with lasagna sheets next time.
Great job with this blog !

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