Eggplant Ratatouille Bake
This recipe can be classified under “throwing things together and praying it’s edible”, but let me tell you- I was SHOCKED at how this turned out. I was really craving something that resembled lasagna, but my stomach doesn’t do well with tomatoes, so I really had to think outside the box. And then I found the new “fermented cashew drink” at Trader Joe’s (basically dairy-free kefir) and had to use it for something. So out came this dish that I wasn’t even sure what to name it but had to put it on the blog because it is so. good. And there are so many vegetables in it!! So tangy, salty, creamy, and full of different textures. The perfect comforting, blood-sugar balancing meal full of fiber, protein, greens, and phytonutrients. Yes please.
Slice eggplant into ½ inch rounds and spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Thinly slice zucchini longways, about ¼ inch, and spread onto another baking sheet. Spray both with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until tender, flipping eggplant rounds halfway through.
While those cook, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add in garlic and saute a minute more before adding the bell peppers and mushrooms. Continue to cook until caramelized and tender, approximately 5 more minutes. Set aside to cool.
Using the same skillet, heat again on medium heat and add ground meat along with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and onion salt. Cook until browned, about 7 minutes.
In a blender or food processor, add ⅓ of the mushroom and pepper mixture, 3-4 slices of eggplant, a generous pinch of red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and chicken stock. Pulse until roughly blended. Add kefir, fermented cashew beverage, or buttermilk (or more chicken stock with lemon) and continue to pulse until almost smooth but not completely pureed. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Pour a little bit of the red pepper sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 pan and begin layering eggplant, sauteed vegetables, ground turkey, and zucchini, filling in sauce periodically. Top with the remaining sauce and cheese or nutritional yeast and bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until bubbling.