Mozzarella or manchego cheese, shredded (vegan substitute: use nutritional yeast)
Salt and ground black pepper
Optional ingredients for a hearty meal:
1 small onion, julienned
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large size red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, finely chopped (optional)
2 cups of chopped mushrooms, or 1 lb. of fully cooked lean ground beef, or turkey or pork ham slices
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. of olive oil
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dry garlic in powder
1/2 tsp. dry onion
1/2 tsp. dry basil
Preheat your oven at 350°F (177°C). Cut the eggplants in thick slices, brush them with olive oil, add salt and pepper.
Grill the eggplants in a large skillet or cast iron pan to give them a smoky flavour. You can also roast them in the oven for a few minutes but don’t fully cook them.
In a pan at medium temperature add 2 tbsp. of olive oil, fry for 10 minutes the onion, garlic, red bell peppers, jalapeño or serrano peppers and parsley. Add mushrooms or pre-cooked lean ground beef. Season with salt and pepper, paprika, dry basil, dry garlic in powder and dry onion. Reserve.
In a casserole dish, spray some cooking oil and add one layer of eggplants, tomato sauce, mix of optional ingredients and grated cheese. Continue forming layers until you cover all the baking dish. Cover with aluminium foil.
Bake in the oven at 350°F (177°C) for 35 mins. Remove the aluminium and cook for 10 more minutes to get a nice crust of grilled cheese on top.