Comfort food made healthy, this cheesy eggplant casserole layers eggplant with protein-rich turkey and mozzarella. The best part? It bakes up in 30 minutes!
As I was planning for recipes this fall, I realized I didn’t have that many casserole recipes on my site. Time to change that! I love making casseroles for a hearty, family sized meal. We love leftovers so I often make a casserole like this for just the two of us and we enjoy leftovers for a couple of nights. It’s the best.
This is also the perfect recipe to bring to new parents or friends and family that are in need of a meal. It feels like baby girl is going to make her arrival any day now and I know I’d happily accept this meal when I’m running on empty!
You can bring just this casserole or whip up a simple side salad to pair with it for a complete meal.
If you’ve never tried eggplant before, don’t be scared! You will love eggplant in no time. It has a really mild flavor and when cooked properly, takes on the surrounding flavors of the dish. You can leave the skin on or peel it if you prefer. I find that the skins gets really soft when eggplant is baked in a casserole like this so I never take the time to peel it.
Eggplant is a super simple vegetable to work with. One thing to note with eggplant is that it holds a lot of water. In order to make sure the casserole doesn’t end up soupy or extra watery, you simply sprinkle salt on the eggplant slices ahead of time to pull the water from it.
Start by cutting your eggplant into slices. Place on a flat surface and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. This allows the water to be pulled out of the eggplant, making sure that the casserole doesn’t end up super watery. Blot the eggplant slices with a paper towel.
To make your sauce, sauté your garlic in a little olive oil over medium heat and then add the ground turkey along with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Break up the turkey as it cooks. When the turkey is no longer pink, add the tomato sauce to the pan and stir to combine.
It’s time to build your casserole! Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Spread a little turkey sauce into the bottom of the pan and add a layer of eggplant slices. Top with half the turkey sauce mixture, add another layer of eggplant and top with the remaining turkey sauce. Sprinkle on mozzarella cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. The tin foil keeps the cheese from getting too browned! Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.