I’m racing for time these last couple weeks, of what I feel is left of summer. For me September 1st marks the first day of fall, regardless of what the weather dictates and that means saying goodbye to all the juicy, fresh heirloom tomatoes, never ending zucchini, fresh garden herbs and visits to the farmer’s market on Sunday mornings. Fall brings its own delicious fruits and vegetables but something about summer and those juicy tomatoes that I just can’t get enough of.
So, today I’m sharing another farmer’s market inspired dish.
Zucchini and Eggplant Bake with Goat Cheese and Herbs is simple, juicy, smoky tender, healthy and perfect side to any dish. I’ve been feeling carb deprived these last couple days so crusty bread alongside these veggies has been my go to. Yum-O!
Combination of tender grilled eggplants, zucchini, onions, and bell peppers is slightly sweet and enhanced by few cloves of pressed garlic, fresh cilantro, basil and salty goat cheese makes this side dish perfect for almost anything. Vegetables are twice cooked, first grilled to bring out the smokiness and then baked to bring out the sweetness. Serve hot or at room-temperature over brown rice or quinoa for meatless meal or alongside your favorite fish or chicken dish.
- 1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise 1"
- 3 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1"
- 2 medium onions, sliced 1" circles
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 yellow bell peppers
- 1 large tomato, sliced ½"
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- juice 1 lemon
- 2 small garlic cloves pressed
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- ⅔ cup fresh basil, chopped
- 8 oz. goat cheese, sliced
- sea salt and fresh ground bell pepper
- Preheat the grill on high heat.
- Sprinkle eggplant slices lightly with salt and let stand for 15 minutes to get the moisture out. Rinse the slices and pat dry.
- Drizzle the eggplant, zucchini, onions, and both bell peppers with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and fresh ground pepper.
- Place the vegetables on a hot grill and cook 4-5 minutes (eggplant, zucchini, onion) on each side or until light grill marks are visible and 20 minutes for the bell peppers or until charred, turning constantly. Transfer the bell peppers into a paper bag or container with a lid, let stand closed for 5 minutes. Remove the skin and seeds. Chop into large (about 1") pieces. Set the rest of the vegetables aside to cool slightly.
- In a small bowl, whisk olive oil with lemon juice and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Line a 9 X 13 casserole dish with parchment paper (for easy cleaning!) and layer the vegetables in the following order: eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, half goat cheese, tomatoes, onion and rest of goat cheese. Each layer (except the cheese) brush with the olive oil mixture and sprinkle with fresh cilantro and basil.
- Bake covered for 50-55 minutes. Remove the foil and switch the oven to broil and continue cooking for additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is lightly golden. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and enjoy!