To break into my new lovely kiwi green Le Creuset casserole, I decided to bake a veggie casserole, specifically a trio of eggplant, zucchini, sweet potato. The ingredients are almost what you can find in a veggie lasagna, sans the pasta sheets. I did a very successful vegetarian moussaka before, but decided to go completely vegan this time (part of the reason being my laziness to create a “bechamel” sauce). The resulting dish is light, befitting for these hot summer days, but no less flavourful given the abundance of herbs. I mostly adapted the recipe from the genius Angela at OhSheGlows.
Layered Veggie Casserole
For one casserole.
- 2 medium eggplants, sliced
- 1 large zucchini, sliced
- 1 large sweet potato, sliced
- Large bunch of baby kale leaves (spinach or arugula would also work well)
- 3/4 jar pasta sauce (I used Alce Nero brand, tomato with basil)
- 1 can (15oz) haricot beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano (if pasta sauce does not already contain herbs)
- 1 tsp dried basil (if pasta sauce does not already contain herbs)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (I used avocado oil)
- Preheat oven to 180C. Place sliced eggplants on a lined baking sheet and pre-cook for about 15 min, or until shrivelled (see picture below). Remove from oven and cool. Once cooled, you can easily peel the skin from the eggplant slices (if you’re finicky like me).
- While the eggplant is cooking, prepare the bean filling. Place the drained beans, herbs, garlic, and oil in a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Layer the casserole. I did mine in the following order: pasta sauce, eggplant, bean mix, sweet potato, pasta sauce, kale, bean mix, zucchini (see picture below). The order doesn’t matter much though although on hindsight it is probably wise to have layered the harder veggies (ie the sweet potato) at the bottom where it would have cooked better. In total, the veggies were sufficient to yield two of such layers.
- Bake for about 40-50 minutes at 200C. (Hunger got the better of me; I was impatient and removed the casserole nearing 40 min but some sweet potato slices were still crunchy, so I recommend 50 min to be safer.)
- Let cool and dig into the amalgam of mushy beany goodness!
By some sort of unexplained science, the bean mix, which was very pasty and difficult to spread pre-bake, had “melted” and “melded” together with the pasta sauce into a wonderful mushy beany combination. If you like beans, you gotta love this.
I have to say that having a cheesy bechamel topping would certainly elevate this casserole up a notch. Nevertheless, it was still very tasty and pizza-ish (thanks to the pasta sauce). I reheated the leftovers for lunch today and it was even better after all the flavours melded together overnight. Hooray for the first recipe in the new LC casserole!