Eggplant and Bocconcini Bake

This is my gluten-free take on eggplant parmigiana, without the frying!
It‘s a slow baked vegetarian sensation and is lovely served hot or cold, with mixed salad leaves.

serves 6
what you need
3 large eggplants
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh basil leaves
2 cups (500ml) tomato sauce
100g bocconcini, sliced
100g parmesan, finely grated
salad leaves, balsamic vinegar
and extra virgin olive oil, to serve

what you do
1. Preheat the oven to 180 deg c (160 deg C fan forced). Cut the eggplant crossways into 1cm thick slices. Slice eggplant into 1cm thick slices. Brush both sides of each slice with oil. Arrange the slices onto an oven tray, and bake for 30 minutes until tender.
2. Brush a 30cm x 18cm x 4cm deep (or similar with an 8 cup capacity) ovenproof dish lightly with oil. Arrange a layer of half the eggplant slices over the base, and top with half the basil leaves. Cover with half the tomato sauce, and top with the bocconcini slices.
3. Arrange the remaining eggplant into the dish, the remaining basil leaves. Cover with remaining tomato sauce, and sprinkle the parmesan over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown on top.
4. Serve hot or cold with mixed salad leaves, dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

bocconcini are small, semi-soft, white, rind less, unripened mild cheeses. They originated in Napoli the name is Italian for ‘small mouthfuls’. Once made only from milk of water buffaloes, nowadays they are usually made from a combination of water buffalo and cow's milk. Each cheese is about the size, shape and colour of a hardboiled egg. Baby or mini bocconcini are smaller, about the size of a teaspoon. Bocconcini are sold packaged in whey or water and have a spongy texture which readily absorbs the flavours they are combined with. Bocconcini is often used in tomato and basil based salads and pasta dishes.

© Recipe - Naked Food - the way food was meant to be - by Jane Grover