Layers of fried eggplant, seasoned ground beef, tomatoes, and cheeses are easily thrown together and baked to delicious perfection in this casserole dinner dish.
- cooking spray
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 1 pinch salt, or more as needed
- 1 cup cornmeal
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium sweet onion, sliced
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray an 8-inch square glass pan with cooking spray.
- Place eggplant slices on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Top slices with additional paper towels; allow salt to draw off some of the moisture, 30 to 45 minutes. Press down on paper towels to get as much moisture out as you can.
- Combine cornmeal, flour, paprika, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl. Dredge eggplant slices in mixture.
- Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Place floured eggplant slices in pan and cook until edges start to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip; cook until crisp on edges but still soft in centers, 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir ground beef in the hot skillet until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir until onions are softened and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Layer eggplant slices to cover bottom of the prepared pan; follow with ground beef, 1/2 can diced tomatoes, 1/2 the Cheddar cheese and 1/2 the Monterey Jack cheese. Repeat layers, starting with eggplant slices. Dredge any remaining eggplant slices in Parmesan cheese and place on top of casserole.
- Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and bubbling and top is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.