Turkey Eggplant Casserole

One of my all time favorite dishes as a child, is Eggplant Casserole (come to think of it, that is actually quite a weird thing! Eggplant is NOT a typical favorite of any kid!). But somehow my mom managed to make a pretty darn good thing out of eggplants for me to like it as a kid! Admittingly, I am a girl of strong flavors. Not sure how that came about, but I've always been inclined towards foods that have powerful aromas that would tickle my taste buds. Lucky me, because I can honestly say, there it is a very rare thing for me to dislike something. I've always loved food and used to always wonder why some kids refused to eat (or even try) certain foods.  

Turkey Eggplant Casserole

Turkey Eggplant Casserole

Anyway, back to the eggplant casserole. You see, my mom would be furious if she knew I posted this recipe and mentioned her name on it. But there is NO WAY in heck that I would make it like hers! Deep fried eggplants and fatty ground beef is not on my list of the yummiest things in life! To continue enjoying my favorite dish, I had to modernize the recipe and tweak it in such way that it would be a healthy, high protein dish that is both nutritious and delicious. 

And so instead of deep frying the sliced eggplant, I usually brush it on both sides with a bit of olive oil, spread the slices on a cookie sheet and bake it in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning once halfway through (until tender). This saves tons of unnecessary calories and enhances the wonderful nutty taste of the eggplant. Plus, my mom used to make it with lots of greasy ground beef. For me, this is the perfect opportunity to add lean protein to this great dish. So I replace the beef with extra lean ground turkey (recipe here), and top it with fresh veggies such as tomato slices and chopped parsley. So without further delay, here's the recipe I came up with:

Ingredients

  • 1 large black eggplants, washed & sliced thickly (1 inch)
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 large tomatoes, washed & sliced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley (rinsed & chopped)
  • 1 cup cooked ground turkey (recipe here)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (optional)
  • PAM cooking spray

Method

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place eggplants on cookie sheet and brush with a bit of olive oil on both sides
  3. Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and pepper (and chili flakes, if you wish)
  4. Put in oven for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through (take out of the oven and flip the eggplant slices to the other side to ensure thorough cooking) - until soft
  5. Spray a rectangular Pyrex dish with PAM
  6. Place eggplant slices snugly in the Pyrex dish (they can overlap if you have more than fits the plate, no problem)
  7. Sprinkle the eggplants with the cooked turkey
  8. Place sliced tomatoes on top
  9. Cover with aluminum foil
  10. Put in oven another 20 minutes at 350 degrees
  11. Take out of oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley
  12. Serve with a side of quinoa, rice or a salad

4 servings; Weight Watchers SmartPoints: 2 SP per serving