This eggplant casserole is a classic Middle Eastern dish common in Iraq. It is usually made with layers of kofta (beef patties), eggplant, potatoes, onions, peppers and tomatoes. But in this Can You Vegan It? dish, just skip the kofta and bake up the veggies using the same method. The result? A light and deeply flavourful casserole served alongside rice, with some yogurt on the side. Traditionally, all the vegetables are fried before they are layered together and smothered in sauce, then baked in the oven. But you can also roast them instead of frying, which is quicker and yields so much flavour.
Start by preheating your oven to 400°F.
Wash the eggplant and peel it in a zebra pattern down the length, peeling every other stripe. Then cut it into ½ inch circular slices.
Peel and wash potatoes and cut them into ¼ inch circular slices.
Put 3 Tbsp of the vegetable oil on the potatoes and eggplant, sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt, then place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel the onions and wash the pepper, then cut them both into thin slices. Heat a skillet with remaining vegetable oil, add the onions and peppers and sprinkle with remaining salt, then cook them on medium heat until softened.
Mix together tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, water, salt and pepper. Slice the tomatoes into ¼ inch thick slices.
Assemble the casserole by layering the eggplant, potato, onions and peppers, tomatoes and then pour the tomato sauce on top.
Bake covered for 45 minutes, then uncover and broil for 15 minutes. Serve with rice and a side of yogurt.