Monday, April 30, 2012

Italian Sausage and Eggplant Strata

This dish was compared to both Lou Malnati's pizza by one of my favorite taste testers, Coach Katie at RNCF. I think it is because the spices used are almost exactly what goes into a pizza. The eggs baked into the sauce give it a creamy, almost cheesy flavor, and the sausage has just enough bite to kick up the eggplant slices. This is a recipe that saves incredibly well. I thought the flavors were even more developed and tasty on day 2 of leftovers.

Here is what you need:
  • 3 1/2 lbs eggplants (about 2-3)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons Italian sausage seasoning
    • A batch is 4 teaspoons dried parsley, 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs, 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons paprika, 4 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed.
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 large basil leaves, chopped
  • Preheat oven to 400 F. Cover 2 baking sheets with foil and brush a 13x9 baking pan with some of the melted coconut oil.
  • Slice the eggplant into rounds about 1/2 inch thick and place on baking sheet. Brush the eggplant with the remaining coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 mins then remove from the oven and allow to cool. Turn the oven temp down to 350 F for the next step of baking.
  • While the eggplant is roasting, crumble the ground pork into a large mixing brown and add the Italian sausage seasoning and knead until blended.
  • Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the pork into the pan, break it up into large chunks with a wooden spin, and cook until browned (about 7-10 mins). Remove the meat to a bowl and return the pan to the stove.

  • Reduce the heat to medium, then add 1 tablespoon of coconut oik and the garlic to the pan. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of fresh basil. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce then to a simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Season with pepper and salt if needed and remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature **NOTE: It took longer than expected for the sauce to cool, I would do this step FIRST next time. :)

  • When the tomato sauce is cool, whisk the eggs in a small bowl then blend into the tomato sauce. This will not look appetizing, but keep going and trust.
  • Place a single layer of eggplant in the bottom of the greased 13x9 pan. Sprinkle half the cooked meat on top of the eggplant, then top with 1 1/3 cup of the sauce. Repeat with another layer of eggplant, the rest of the meat, and 1 cup of the sauce. The final layer with eggplant and the remaining sauce.

  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Before serving, lightly brush the top of the strata with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining basil.


Recipe adapted from Well Fed.


  1. I made this today with our homegrown eggplants. I did a few tweaks based on past eggplant experience. Sliced and salted the eggplants for 20 mins before putting onto baking sheet. Brushed with melted pork fat. Did not have any basil, but used parsley. The meat mixture was quite salty on its own but once it was assembled and cooked it was very good. The creamy eggplant and the egg turned out tasting like bechamel sauce. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. This is an great recipe! My only suggestion is to lower the salt. It was too salty for us. Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. 3 Studies SHOW Why Coconut Oil Kills Belly Fat.

    The meaning of this is that you actually burn fat by consuming Coconut Fats (also coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from major medical journals are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world upside down!