This Greek baked eggplant with tomato sauce & feta is a great healthy (& gluten-free!) appetizer or accompaniment to grilled meat or fish. It might seem simple, but it’ll send your taste-buds soaring … promise!
At the risk of sending some of your cursors racing straight to the cross in the right hand corner of your screens, I’m going to tell you about yet another meal that Mr. Scrummy and I had at a restaurant in Greece one time.
As we got ourselves all comfy on our nice snug corner table, we started leafing through the menu and our hearts sank a bit. You see, the menu was the type that had garish, unappetizing pictures of some of the food. It was also well-worn and even a bit sticky in places. The food sounded very average, too, quite frankly. There was really nothing all that special-sounding.
But obviously you can’t judge a menu by its sticky pages and tacky photos because one of the appetizers we ordered alongside our tasty meat sharing plate was something very close to the baked eggplant with tomato & feta cheese that you see here in today’s post.
As delicious as the meats etc. were, we both agreed that the eggplant side dish was the runaway show-stealer!
Lucky for myself and Mr. Scrummy (and for you!) we took the chance to ask our waiter how the baked eggplant was made. He told us that the eggplant is first baked in the oven by itself with a little olive oil, then tomato sauce is poured over the top, followed by crumbled feta cheese, before the dish is put back in the oven to finish off. So simple that I didn’t even need to jot it down.
Later, while grabbing some last minute items to take home with us at a local supermarket, I spotted the cute little brown dishes with lids you see in the photos. They are just perfect for baking this delicious Mediterranean side dish in, don’t you think? And all for the thrifty price of about 3 euros each!
You may not be able to jet off to the Mediterranean to pick some up, but I find these mini casserole dishes by Pioneer Woman very cute too! (affiliate link)
I made my own slightly guessed version of this easy aubergine dish and Mr. Scrummy and I ate it alongside some greek lemon chicken and potatoes leftovers and again … it was the star of the show. I think it would be just as delicious eaten by itself with some crusty bread (or grilled garlic bread … mmm … unless you need the meal to be gluten-free, of course), or as a side dish alongside some grilled meat or even fish.
So how long do you bake eggplant for?
It depends on the recipe of course, and the way you slice them, but for this recipe you initially bake the eggplant uncovered for 45 minutes (after slicing it in half and scoring it in a criss-cross pattern).
Then, you pour the tomato sauce over it and bake again for another 15 minutes.
So all in all this version of baked eggplant takes an hour. This might sound like a long time, but you really do want that eggplant to be nice and soft.
And trust me, it’s worth it. This really is simple vegetarian Mediterranean food at its best!
Our favourite baked eggplant with tomato & feta
- 1 eggplant / aubergine, sliced in half lengthwise and scored all over in a criss-cross pattern (without cutting through the skin).
- olive oil for baking
- 3 ounces feta cheese
for the tomato sauce
- 0.25 cups olive oil
- 5 cloves of garlic sliced
- 14 ounces chopped tomatoes (400 grams = 1 can)
- fresh basil optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pepper (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 0.5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 200C/390F, then brush the eggplant with a generous amount of olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt and then bake each half facedown in little separate baking dishes (or side by side in a slightly bigger baking dish) for about 45 minutes or until the flesh is soft.
Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil on a medium heat in a pan with a large surface area, then add the garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes (don’t brown the garlic), then add the chopped tomatoes, herbs and salt and pepper. Half fill the empty tomato can with water and add that to the pan, too. Let simmer for about 15 minutes, then remove the herb sprigs. Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar and stir in.
Pour the tomato sauce over the aubergines, then crumble over the feta. Bake for about another 15 minutes or until the tomato sauce is bubbling.
I served my eggplant halves in two separate dishes, but if you don't have two small suitable dishes, you can easily bake both in the same, slightly larger, dish. Obviously this dish is also very easy to double up on if you want to serve more than two.
The tomato sauce I used is just a simple marinara sauce. Why not make a double batch and use the rest as a simple pasta or pizza sauce?
This dish is equally good served hot or a bit cooler (the greeks often serve this kind of dish at room temperature).
Serve alone with fresh crusty bread or garlic bread (unless you need the meal to be gluten-free, of course, in which case forget the bread!), with grilled meats, or as a simple side dish.