Eggplants are the quintessential summer vegetable and Greek cuisine has a large variety of recipes using them. We eat them roasted, stewed, fried and even as a sweet and in this case as an eggplant casserole combined with peppers and cheese. There is even a eggplant festival here in Greece, in the Peloponnesian town of Leonidio which is the eggplant capital of Greece.
Favorites include roasted eggplant with plenty of olive oil, topped with tomato and feta and of course the eggplant dip melitzanosalata. This particular recipe makes use of eggplants along with peppers and onion with the addition of cheese for complete meal. It is easy and require no frying or much prep work.
I used Greek red florina peppers but nay type of sweet red pepper will do. For the cheese I used kefalograviera, which is the cheese usually used for saganaki, it is a hard Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, ideally this would be the best to use. However if you cannot find it, Asiago would be an acceptable substitute. I also used some finely grated aged mitzithra, if you do not have it you can use Romano grated cheese.
I liked this recipe with the cheese, but you could also roast it without the cheese for a vegan version.
A word about nightshade vegetables
Eggplant along with tomatoes, peppers and potatoes belong to a group of vegetables called nightshade vegetables that belong to the Solanaceae family. Lately on the internet (and elsewhere) it has been said that they may be related to inflammation. However, there is no scientific evidence for this, so I would suggest that you continue eating eggplant, tomatoes etc., they are afterall rich in antioxidants and fiber, and an important part of the Mediterranean diet, which is considered by the scientific community, one of the healthiest diets that exist.
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Greek Cheesy Eggplant and Red Pepper Casserole
- 1 pound eggplant sliced thinly thin long eggplant preferably
- 1 pound red peppers sliced
- 1 small onion sliced
- 1-2 minced garlic cloves
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 3 ounces finely grated aged mitzithra if not available use Romano cheese
- 5 ounces grated kafalograviera if not available use Asiago
- Preheat oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 C).
- Wash the eggplant and slice about ¼ inch thick, place in colander and salt them, set aside.
- Slice the peppers in thin rings, set aside.
- Slice onion in thin rings and add to the peppers.
- Rinse and dry the eggplant and place the eggplant, peppers, onions, garlic and olive oil in large bowl and toss.
- In a small bowl mix the tomato paste with 3 tablespoons of water and mix. Add this to the vegetables and mix well until all vegetables are coated with tomato paste and olive oil.
- In a casserole dish place half of the vegetables in one layer, sprinkle with half of the mitzithra and half of the kefalograviera. Repeat for a second layer.
- Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 40 minutes.
- Remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese bubbles.
- This is enjoyed warm or cold and goes well with Greek yogurt.
Photos by Elena Paravantes © All Rights Reserved
This was really good. I used eggplant from my garden. As I was unable to find the Greek cheeses I had to go the Romano/Asiago route and it was delicious. I am looking forward to making this again. We are getting to the end of eggplant season here but perhaps I can squeeze it in once more. It’s definitely going to be on the menu next summer!
Thank you Rachel! I always try to squeeze as many eggplant recipes I can once summer comes to an end.
I’ve bought your “The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners”. I’ve done a lot of research on the Mediterranean diet lifestyle, the Mind diet, and plant-based diet. My breakfast is pretty much routine. In the winter, I have hot oatmeal topped with raisons and brown sugar with a hot cup of coffee or tea. In the summer, I make overnight oats or have Greek yogurt with All-Bran cereal mixed in, a cup of cold brewed coffee or hot tea, green tea, oolong tea, rooibos tea, herbal. I brew a big batch, put it in mason jars and store them in the refrigerated. I take medication, have to wait before I eat, and then I don’t feel hungry. My husband won’t eat “bird seed”, no veggies or fruits, and he doesn’t believe in portion control. He eats a lot of processed foods, hot dogs, snacks on chips and dips, and leads sits. About three months ago, he had an infection in his foot. The surgeon had to remove most of his right foot and has to have more surgery. He’s wheelchair dependent most of the time. The nutritional information that he receives is based on eating veggies, fruits, grains, etc. He hasn’t changed and is very obese. Are these recipes in your book? I’ve tried to find them, but the index doesn’t help. Most recipes serve 6-8 people and doesn’t include servings for 2-4 people. I know that I can freeze some extras, but our freezer space is limited. I buy a lot of frozen veggies, fish, and grains. Without anyone to share a meal with, I don’t have an appetite. I drink a lot of water. I’ve a lot of whole grains, but seafood varieties are limited, expensive, and difficult to find. I’ve been working on this lifestyle for years and haven’t made much head way. I’m going to try your meal prep in your book. I’ve even talked to a nutritionist years ago and am familiar with the Mediterranean pyramid. Suggestions?
Hi Beverly, Thank you for your questions and sharing you insights. Just to clarify the majority of recipes in my book serve 2-4 people, you will find on each recipe page the servings, serving size, nutrition information as well as storage information. All recipes are noted clearly in the beginning of the book in the table of contents. In addition, the recipes are categorized with different chapters for each category . The recipes in my cookbook are authentic Mediterranean recipes based on the authentic Mediterranean diet Pyramid and over 85% of them are plant based meaning they are mainly made from vegetables and/or grains and do not contain meat. Perhaps you have bought a different book of another author? I would suggest going through the chapters in the beginning that talk about meals, lifestyle habits and other tips to help transition, it is full of helpful advice on how to incorporate this type of eating to your lifestyle. Like I said most recipes serve 2-4 people, but can easily be halved. Also, particularly the cooked vegetable dishes last at least 2-3 days, which limits cooking.
I made this dish for my family last night and it was wonderful! I also used hard italian cheeses since the others were unavailable. Both of my young sons and my husband went back for seconds and this has now replaced Eggplant Parmesan as their new favorite dinner! Thank you for this recipe! I have made almost a dozen of them and they are delicious every time!
Thank you for sharing Tiffani! It’s so great when they ask for seconds!
Thank you for this recipe. I was looking for some inspiration for my weekly farm share, which came with eggplants and red pepper. I went pretty far off-script, using what I had, but the result is lovely.
Thanks for sharing Jill!
Made this tonight-it was awesome! Because I live in Iowa I don’t have access to the cheeses, so used Parm, gruyere and threw in some goat cheese. Spent three months in Greece in 2016-had some awesome eggplant/pepper dishes that I have tried to replicate. This recipe comes the closest I have found! Thank you so much!!!
Thank you Margo! Glad you enjoyed the recipe
I made this tonight with sheep’s milk romano cheese and a Mexican cheese I had on hand called cotija which is a white, hard, crumbly cheese. Just some feedback: I used two eggplants (didn’t weigh as per the recipe) and one and a half large red pepper, and a large pyrex for the baking. Because there were so many eggplant slices, I doubled the tomato paste mixture and the olive oil. (1/4 cup or six tablespoons instead of three) to make sure there was enough to coat them.
I mixed the vegetables with my hands, as that was the only way I could with the long eggplant slices and peppers. I also added three more tablespoons of EVOO over the final product. I layered the eggplant on the bottom, the pepper, onion and garlic in the middle, topped that with the cheese, and topped off the casserole with more long slices of the eggplant which I added in a ‘V’ pattern. I then topped it off with some cheese shreds which remained. I also added ten more minutes baking time uncovered. The final product looked picture perfect, and it was absolutely delicious! Thank you Elena! It was a bit time consuming as are most Greek veggie casseroles in prepping, but it was well worth the effort. My entire family loved it.
Thank you for sharing Angela!
I made this tonight for dinner and it was delicious! My husband was a big fan too. I didn’t have access to the authentic cheeses so I used the hard Italian cheeses, as recommended, and added some shredded some feta just for fun. Thanks for a great recipe! Will definitely keep this one handy for summer eggplants!!
isn’t it obvious? She means ‘no frying or much prep work’
Thanks Jean,typo corrected
Thanks for your postings, I enjoy your recipes. Many people may not notice small errors in content and I can most often ignore them. But when there are errors that affect the use of recipes or instructions, you may suffer the loss of readership. For example, the last sentence in first paragraph… ‘no frying are much prep work’…. what exactly do you mean?
Yes! Just in time for our garden eggplant! Thanks!
Wonderful, you are so lucky!