Eggplant with Baked Tomatoes & Tomato Ajvar Sauce (Vegetarian, Gluten & Grain Free)

Eggplant with Baked Tomatoes & Tomato Ajvar Sauce (Vegetarian, Gluten & Grain Free) From Front In A Bowl Close Up

This recipe is for a delicious, flavorful, creamy and tasty Eggplant with Baked Tomatoes & Tomato Ajvar Sauce. This recipe only calls for a few easy ingredients, is ready in only 30 minutes and does not require too much effort from your end. Serve this dish as a starter, main course or side dish. This dish is both vegetarian, gluten and grain free.

Eggplant with Baked Tomatoes & Tomato Ajvar Sauce (Vegetarian, Gluten & Grain Free) In A Bowl From Front

I often hear people saying eating vegetarian is quite boring. But I couldn’t agree less. There are so many different and wonderful foods and ingredients you can use to make the most lovely vegetarian dishes with endless variations. One of my favorite is to use eggplant when making vegetarian dishes. They are both healthy, easy to use and have a little bit of “meaty” feeling that adds a nice texture to a dish. My favorite paring with eggplant is tomato sauce. It makes a lovely mix of taste and textures, provides a comforting and warming feeling, but still feels light and fresh. This dish is made with those two ingredients as a base and pimped with some additional lovely ingredients. The tomato sauce is made not only with tomatoes, but also with ajvar. Ajvar is a roasted bell pepper based sauce that also can include eggplant, onion, garlic, chili and other spices. Adding ajvar to a tomato sauce adds a lovely roasted taste, some heat (if using a hot one like I did) and a mix of tasty spices. This dish is served with warm, tender and sweet oven roasted cherry tomatoes, fried eggplant, creamy mozzarella, salty feta cheese and crunchy pistachio nuts. It is great to serve either as a starter, main course or side dish.

A few tips:

  • Use good quality canned tomatoes. It makes the biggest difference since the cheaper once are way more tasteless and not as full bodied.
  • The same goes for the cherry tomatoes. Make sure to buy the sweet and juicy once and not the cheaper bland once. You really want to have that wonderful taste of juicy sweet tomatoes.
  • I used a spicy ajvar, but if you prefer less spicy food you can use a mild one.
  • The amount of ajvar can be adapted according to taste and how spicy you prefer your sauce.
  • I would recommend you to cover the eggplant slices in salt for 10-15 minutes before frying them. This makes creamier in texture and less bitter in taste.
  • Rinse the eggplants well from the salt and path dry using a paper towel before frying them.
Eggplant with Baked Tomatoes & Tomato Ajvar Sauce (Vegetarian, Gluten & Grain Free) In A Bowl From Above

Ingredients for this Eggplant with Baked Tomatoes & Tomato Ajvar Sauce:

  • Canned tomatoes
  • Ajvar
  • Garlic
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Mozzarella
  • Feta cheese
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Fresh basil
Eggplant with Baked Tomatoes & Tomato Ajvar Sauce (Vegetarian, Gluten & Grain Free) From Front In A Bowl Close Up

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Eggplant with Baked Tomatoes & Tomato Ajvar Sauce (Vegetarian, Gluten & Grain Free)

This is a delicious, flavorful yet light and fresh dish that is great to serve either as a starter, main course or as a side dish.
Course Main Course, Main Dish, Side Dish, Starter
Cuisine All around
Keyword Easy, Gluten-Free, Grain Free, Healthy, Quick, vegetarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 1 can Canned tomatoes
  • 3-5 tbsp Ajvar (I used a spicy one)
  • 2 Garlic cloves minced
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil

Other ingredients

  • 150 g Mixed cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Yellow bell pepper sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 small Eggplant sliced
  • 1 package Mozzarella sliced
  • 1/2-1 package Feta cheese crumbled
  • Pistachio nuts roughly chopped
  • Fresh basil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
  • Slice the eggplant into an equal amount of slices. Cover with sea salt and let sit for 10-15 min.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes and bell pepper to an oven safe baking pan, drizzle with a little olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Bake in the oven for 18-20 min.
  • Meanwhile preheat a nonstick pan over medium heat with some olive oil.
  • Fry the garlic until soft and golden brown. Add the crushed tomatoes, ajvar and season with sea salt and black pepper. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Preheat a grill pan/non stick pan over medium heat with a little olive oil.
  • Rinse the eggplant with water and dry path using a paper towel.
  • Fry the eggplant for 3-4 minutes on each side, until grill marks start to form and it is soft.
  • When about 2-3 minutes remain for the tomatoes to be done in the oven take half of the eggplant slices, top with mozzarella and crumbled feta cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese has melted a bit.
  • Place the tomato ajvar sauce at the bottom of two plates. Divided the eggplant halves that does not have any cheese on them on top of the sauce.
  • Divide the baked tomatoes between the eggplant slices, top with the cheese baked eggplant slices.
  • Top with fresh basil and chopped pistachio nuts.

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