This is a layered affair. If you aren’t familiar with Lebanese 7-Spice or Baharat, you might want to wander into a Middle Eastern market and pick some up. This blend uses the “sweet” spices, like allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, etc. But, it’s wonderful in savory dishes. It lends itself particularly well to lamb and as it turns out, eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes. Can you tell it’s summer and there’s a farmer’s market near us? I love these veggies anytime of the year, but when there’s an abundance in summer, I like to wander into the different ethnic flavors. You can purchase the 7-spice blend in any decent Middle Eastern market, or go ahead and make your own. You can find a recipe here, here and bonus time–you get several different versions here. These are all interesting blogs and you should check out their other recipes, too. As you can see, they’re all a bit different, which is as it should be, since every family/cook would have their own version, much like curry powders in India.
This goes together in a breeze. I like to use a cast iron skillet, but feel free to use a casserole, preferably not glass.
Oil the pan and start layering—eggplant, salt, minced or chopped garlic, zucchini, 7-spice, salt, onions and peppers, canned diced tomatoes (or sliced garden tomatoes), 7-spice. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Bake at 400°F for 40-50 minutes or until the veggies are tender and the mixture is bubbly. You can eat this hot, at room temperature or cold. You can sprinkle some feta cheese over the dish and/or serve it with some plain Greek-style yogurt. But just as is, is positively yummy. This reheats incredible well (I think it’s better!) and it keeps incredibly well, but you won’t have it around that long!
Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato Casserole with Lebanese 7-Spice
I’m listing the ingredients, as amounts are very flexible. Just layer the veggies in a cast iron skillet as given and bake!
- Eggplant, sliced (I leave the peel on, but you may peel it)
- Zucchini, sliced
- Garlic, minced
- Onion, sliced and quartered
- Bell pepper, cut into thin stips
- 7-Spice mixture
- 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, sliced
- Kosher salt (about 1 1/2 teaspoons total)
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
Place some a skim of oil in a cast iron skillet or casserole dish. Slice the eggplant, zucchini, onions and peppers, and fresh tomatoes, if using, no more than 1/4-inch thick; they should all be about the same thickness. Begin layering in the order given in the recipe, beginning with the eggplant and ending with the tomatoes. Sprinkle the garlic over the zucchini layer and dust with some 7-spice. I combine the onions and bell peppers together and layer over the zucchini, topping with the diced tomatoes (including their juice). Sprinkle each layer liberally with salt. Sprinkle some additional 7-spice over the tomatoes, drizzle with some lemon juice and a decent amount of olive oil. I use about 1/4 cup, but it will depend on the size of the pan/amount of veggies. Bake, uncovered in a 400°F oven for 40-50 minutes or until the vegetables are fork-tender and the juices are bubbly. Let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving. This is excellent with feta cheese crumbled over it and with plain Greek-style yogurt of labneh on the side.
Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato Casserole with Lebanese 7-Spice Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2018. All rights reserved.