Turkish Eggplant Casserole with Tomatoes (Imam Bayildi)

by Sheryl

Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 15 mins | Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins | Servings: 6

I am no vegetarian, but I super love this Turkish eggplant recipe “Imam Bayildi”. It’s easy to throw together with just basic ingredients, and you can even make this ahead of time. If you have not tried this, you are missing out already!

Ingredients

2 medium eggplant (or 4 small Italian eggplants), about 1 3/4 lb, thinly sliced 1/4” thick lengthwise
Sea salt
Olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red chilli flakes
Dash of cinnamon
One 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, divided

How to make Turkish Eggplant Casserole with Tomatoes (Imam Bayildi)

Step 1: Prepare the oven. Preheat it to 350 degrees F.

Step 2: Make sure to lightly salt the eggplant slices and set them aside for about 20 minutes. After twenty minutes, pat the eggplant slices dry and keep them aside.

Step 3: In a large oven-proof like a cast-iron skillet, heat a thin layer of olive oil. In batches, pan-fry the eggplant over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes per side until all sides are golden brown. If needed, add more oil, so the eggplants don’t burn. To a plate, transfer the cooked eggplant.

Step 4: To the now-empty skillet, saute the onion for about 5 minutes over medium heat until soft. Add the garlic, chilli flakes, half tsp sea salt, and cinnamon. Continue to cook for another minute until aromatic. Add the potatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes until the mixture has slightly thickened. Take off the heat, then stir in half of the parsley.

Step 5: Remove 3/4 of the sauce to a bowl if using an ovenproof skillet, leaving only a thin layer of sauce behind. Or to the bottom of an 8 x 8-inches or similar casserole dish, add 1/4 cup of sauce. Evenly arrange the eggplant in a single layer in the skillet or dish and slather with a layer of sauce. Do this for the rest of the eggplant and sauce like what you would do when making lasagna.

Step 6: Using foil, tent the dish. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes until the eggplant is very soft and the sauce has reduced. Remove from the oven when done and let the dish rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature garnished with the rest of the parsley.

Note:

For this recipe, you can use a casserole dish if a cast-iron skillet is not available.

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