When I use the eggplant emoji, I am 100% actually referring to eggplant.
Eggplant fries? Yes. Baba Ganoush? Yes. Fried eggplant sandwich? Yes.
When my Bearded husband grills steak, for me he grills eggplant.
Eggplant is the star of this dish, but each component is something I can and will consume on its own.
The marinara, the ricotta… even the buttery roasted garlic will happily be spooned into my mouth, solo, without any other accompaniment.
Combining them all together forms a layered heaven of textures and flavors that I love and crave. Plus there is something satisfying and almost meditative about the simple act of building this deep dish rainbow.
For that reason, I present it to you to take or leave as you please!
1 Bulb of Garlic
2 Cups Ricotta Cheese
½ Tsp. Smoked Paprika
½ – 1 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
2 Cups of Favorite Jarred Marinara Sauce (or see Quick Marinara* Below)
¼ cup Shaved Parmesan
Fresh Basil for Garnish (Optional)
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Drizzle the full bulb of garlic with olive oil, wrap it in foil and allow to roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes
- Meanwhile, slice the eggplant and zucchini and arrange on separate sheet pans
- Drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, flipping the vegetables halfway through, remove and allow to cool before handling
- Add the ricotta to a bowl to mix in the smoked paprika and red pepper flakes
- When the garlic completes roasting, squish the golden buttery roasted magic into the ricotta and stir to combine
- In desired baking dish, drizzle with olive oil before layering the ingredients in the following order à eggplant, zucchini, ricotta, marinara sauce, etc.
- Repeat until all the ingredients are used up, top with parmesan cheese
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 20-25 minutes til bubbly and golden brown
- Tear fresh basil on top to serve
I only allowed this to cool long enough to snap pictures of the finished product before diving in for a giant scoop. Full disclosure: I ate half of this and saved the rest to eat for dinner a couple nights later. The leftovers reheated BEAUTIFULLY!
1 Can Diced Tomatoes, 4.5 oz.
1/3 Bell Pepper, Diced
¼ Yellow Onion, Diced
1-2 Tsp. Dried Basil
1-2 Tsp. Dried Oregano
Handful of Halved Cherry Tomatoes (Optional, I just had some I wanted to use)
Salt & Pepper
- Add 1-2 Tbs. olive oil to the bottom of a medium saucepan and place on medium high heat
- Toss in the bell pepper and sauté for a couple minutes before adding the onion
- Pour in the diced tomatoes, toss in cherry tomatoes, and season with salt, pepper, basil, and oregano
- Reduce heat to medium and allow to bubble and reduce down for about 15 minutes
- Allow to simmer on low until ready to use