These Cheesy Marinara Veggie Stacks are the perfect way to load up on your veggies for the day!
Every once in a while, whether I’m looking for something in particular or just scrolling and wasting time, I find myself browsing through the archives here on the blog. When you have 7 years worth of posts (3,160 of them, to be exact!) you wind up forgetting about a LOT of them.
Sometimes, I come across them and delete them because they were just bad. Baaaaad. And then, other times, I come across some that I feel definitely missed their time in the spotlight and deserve a little extra attention.
This quick and easy recipe is one of them!
As soon as I came across the post title, I immediately remembered them. And I also remembered how much I LOVED them.
Now that spring is upon us and the warmer weather is creeping in (YAY!), I find myself gravitating more towards veggies and light meals (vs heavy comfort foods that I love and crave all winter long). Anyone else?
There really are so many great things about this recipe…
For one, you could saute your veggies on the stove like the recipe says. OR, if the weather is nice, feel free to go ahead and toss ’em on the grill. Who doesn’t love grilled veggies, right?!
You could also switch things up a bit by making it into a mini casserole instead of veggie stacks. Because if you couldn’t already tell by the pictures, these stacks are BIG. So if too many veggies don’t play nice with your gut at once, then feel free to serve the casserole as a side dish along with your favorite protein.
Personally, I love how all of the veggies are layered along with the delicious filling of ricotta, spinach, fresh basil, and spices.
It definitely adds some great flavor.
So once all of the veggies are cooked, layer them up, top off with some more marinara and cheese, and you’ve got yourself a fabulous, light, and healthy dish.
Yields 2 stacks
15 minPrep Time
25 minCook Time
40 minTotal Time
- 1 medium eggplant, ends removed
- 2 small zucchinis
- 1 small yellow squash
- 1 cup jarred marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup spinach (canned or frozen, drained and thoroughly patted dry)
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 3 tbsp fresh chopped basil (or substitute dried)
- 1 tsp dried minced onion
- dash salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Slice eggplant in half lengthwise. Cut each half lengthwise into 3 slices. Cut off rounded sides of the 2 outer slices so they lay flat.
- Cut zucchini & squash into 1/2-inch wide slices.
- Set out a few layers of paper towels (to use to transfer cooked veggies to drain excess moisture)
- Spray a large pan with nonstick spray and bring to medium-high heat on stove.
- Lay zucchini & squash flat in pan and cook for 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on paper towels.
- Re-spray pan & cook eggplant slices for 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on paper towels.
- In a small dish, combine spinach, ricotta, basil, minced onion, salt, & garlic powder. Stir well, set aside.
- Spray a deep oven-safe pan with nonstick spray. Place half of the marinara in the center of the pan, and place 2 eggplant slices side by side over the sauce.
- Spread about 1/4 of the spinach mixture on top of each slice. Then layer about 1/4 of the zucchini and squash slices on top of each stack. Over the veggie layer, add another eggplant slice.
- Spread the rest of the spinach mixture on top of the stacks. Layer remaining zucchini and squash slices.
- Cover stacks with remaining eggplant slices. Finish it off with the rest of the marinara, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
- Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of each stack, and return to oven for 5 more minutes, or until cheese melts. Enjoy!
(adapted from Hungry Girl)
The recipe may look a little lengthy, but the only part that really takes time is cooking all of the veggies. You could always speed up the process by having 2 pans going at one time (but that would mean more dishes…) or do a little extra meal prep on the weekend so they’re ready to go during the week.
I’m planning on trying this dish out as a casserole next, so I’ll let you all know how it turns out! ; )