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Main Dishes - Vegetarian Bon Appetit
Eggplant 11/1/1997

EGGPLANT AND PORTOBELLO “LASAGNAS”

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Servings: 4 servings

Comments:
163 calories each with the cheese they say (we use more). Can be assembled a day ahead.

Ingredients:
1 pound plum tomatoes, quartered
1½ cups coarsely chopped fennel bulb
1 tablespoon olive oil
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 large Japanese eggplants, trimmed, each cut lengthwise into four 1/3-inch-thick slices
3 medium portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed, caps sliced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 cups spinach leaves, rinsed
Mozzarella cheese, low-fat (recipe says 4 thin slices -- we used about 8 ounces, or 2 ounces per lasagna
2 roasted red bell peppers from jar, drained, cut into ½-inch-wide strips
8 large basil leaves

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Arrange tomatoes and fennel in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Drizzle oil over; toss to blend. Bake until fennel is tender and begins to brown, about 45 minutes. Cool.

Spray two nonstick baking sheets with vegetable oil spray. Arrange eggplant and mushroom slices on prepared sheets. Bake until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes for eggplant slices and 40 minutes for mushrooms.

Puree tomato mixture in processor. [Recipe says to transfer to strainer set over bowl. Press on solids to extract liquid; discard solids. But we don’t do this. We just used the whole pureed mixture. Why waste all that good food?] Stir in vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir spinach in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray four flat individual-serving size casserole dishes (recipe says 1¼-cup custard dishes) with vegetable oil spray. Line each dish with two eggplant slices (crosswise - not necessary, depends on the dish). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each with ¼ of the spinach. Top each with mozzarella slices. Arrange pepper strips over, then basil and mushrooms. Top with remaining eggplant slices, cutting to fit (again, not necessary). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover each dish with foil. (Can be made one day ahead. Chill until ready to bake.)

Bake lasagnas until very tender, about 25 minutes. Remove foil. Using small knife, cut around vegetables to loosen. Invert onto plates (again, not necessary; serve in casserole dish). Spoon sauce (or vinaigrette if you follow the recipe) over.

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