Cooked With Vegetables

Lacto-vegetarian eggplant casserole with Béchamel sauce and sharp cheddar

When I first dabbled with vegetarian cooking, I thought I was going to do it for my mother. The plan was that she would come and live with us and since she had a history of hypertension, I was learning to cook low-fat, low-salt dishes with lots of vegetables and minimal meat. My mother passed away last summer and although we now have a wider repertoire of vegetarian dishes, we never really went vegetarian.

Sliced eggplants pan-fried in olive oil, layered with Béchamel sauce and shredded cheddar then baked until bubbly.

Well, as I was saying on Facebook, something that I never thought would happen has happened. No, we’re not all turning vegetarian. Sam is. She loves animals so much she doesn’t want to eat them. I don’t share her views about slaughtering animals for food but I respect her opinion which she doesn’t force down our throat. So, to show my support, I promised her that I’d cook vegetarian dishes for her whenever she’s home. Note that Sam is not going vegan but vegetarian. Ovo-lacto vegetarian, to be more precise, which means eggs and dairy will be included in her diet. She’s only ditching meat and seafood.

Earlier today, I made this eggplant casserole for her. Sliced eggplants pan-fried in olive oil, layered with Béchamel sauce and shredded cheddar then baked until bubbly.

Eggplant casserole with Béchamel sauce and sharp cheddar
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 
Servings: 2
Author: Connie Veneracion
Ingredients
  • 3 eggplants (I used Asian eggplants)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Cut the eggplants diagonally into half-inch slices.
  2. Coat the bottom of non-stick frying pan with oil.
  3. Pan-fry the eggplant slices in batches just until lightly browned but not soft. Set aside.
  4. Make the Béchamel sauce. Start by making a blonde roux. Pour in the milk in a thin stream, stirring as you pour. Cook until the mixture is smooth and thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  6. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with a third of the eggplant slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Cover with a third of the Béchamel sauce.
  8. Sprinkle with a third of the grated cheddar.
  9. Repeat to form two more layers.
  10. Bake at 375F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned and the mixture is bubbly.
  11. Rest the casserole for about ten minutes before serving.

Sliced eggplants pan-fried in olive oil, layered with Béchamel sauce and shredded cheddar then baked until bubbly.

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