Who doesn’t love a recipe that makes the house smell like an Italian grandmother’s kitchen on a Sunday afternoon?
This recipe was created from my love of Italian food mixed with the desire to not gain a million pounds by stuffing my face full of pasta. Call me crazy, but most times I order pasta, it is because of my love affair with the sauce. I used some prepared ingredients (don’t tell your grandmother), mixed with fresh ingredients to spruce the sauce up, and served it over one of my favorite roasted vegetables … Eggplant! If eggplant parmesan and pasta Bolognese had a love child, it would be this dish! Plus, it leaves your house smelling wonderful.
Olive oil cooking spray
1 medium eggplant, sliced in ¼ inch rounds
1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
¼ tsp salt
1 lb ground turkey
1 medium carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, finely diced
½ small onion, finely diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
25 oz jar tomato basil sauce
¼ c red wine (optional)
Parmesan cheese, shredded
Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Slice the eggplant into ¼ inch rounds and place on the baking sheet in a single layer. Spray the tops of the eggplant with olive oil cooking spray and season with ¼ tsp salt and 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
While the eggplant is roasting, brown the ground turkey in a large skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Drain off any excess fat.
Add the grated carrot, diced celery, diced onion and minced garlic to the pan. Continue cooking until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Season the turkey and vegetable mixture with 1 tsp of garlic powder and remaining ½ tsp of salt.
Stir in a 25 oz jar of tomato basil sauce and reduce the heat to medium-low. Optionally, you can also add ¼ c red wine at this time, which gives a rich, deep flavor to the sauce. Plus, it is the perfect excuse to open a bottle of wine while cooking, because you clearly can’t let the rest go to waste. Allow the sauce to simmer until the eggplant is finished cooking, or about 15 minutes.
Removed the roasted eggplant from the oven.
Place a roasted eggplant round on the plate and top with the Bolognese sauce. Continue stacking until 3 layers of eggplant and sauce are completed. Add some fresh shredded parmesan cheese on top, and you have the perfect meal! We served ours alongside a Caesar salad, but the options are endless!
MTP (My Toddler’s Plate)
Here is how I adapted our meal for my 1 year old and 2 year old daughters. I added the sauce over some organic pasta and served the eggplant on the side. I served the side Caesar salad for my 2 year old and cucumbers for my 1 year old, because they love the vegetables tossed in dressing. I have always given my kids the same things we eat, but just adapt it slightly to their needs. They may not always eat it all, but they at least try everything, and that makes me a happy Mama!