My husband and I are trying to get back on track with a gluten free, primarily paleo diet to help not only cut some unwanted pounds, but to curb inflammation and my autoimmune arthritis flare ups. Not only are we trying to cut out gluten and processed foods- but we’re trying to stick to Orthodox fasting days better in 2015 (we’re Orthodox Christians) including meat-free wednesdays and fridays, as well as observing the Lenten fast coming soon in February. For fourty days, we avoid any animal products (minus shellfish) and take a vegan diet to help break our reliance and addiction to food- which is actually an awesome practice to do a few times a year even if there is no religious tie-in for you. It can be extremely difficult to find delicious, healthy meals while crossing out numerous food groups- but this Paleo Vegan Enchilada Casserole is loaded with cheesy and meaty flavor- though it is just made from vegetables!
I actually made this one night alongside a vegetarian enchilada casserole with corn tortillas, spinach, and cheese- and this dish was by far the most popular of the night. We’re using eggplant slices for “tortillas”, and layering onion, broccoli, peppers and enchilada sauce to give one of the most delicious vegan paleo dishes I’ve ever tasted.
I’m going to start making this a couple times a month on Wednesdays and Fridays, but it would be the perfect big dinner for a meat-free Monday party! It’s easy to feed a group with this paleo vegan recipe- and it makes for fabulous leftovers.
While you could skip browning the vegetables and let them cook when tossing in the oven, you will really miss a lot of the flavor of the dish. It takes a little extra time, but browning the vegetables is really very important to develop flavor without adding fat, calories, dairy or carbs!
Don’t stress too much about the uniformity of the eggplant slices. You want them to be thin enough to cook quickly, but thick enough to not break down too much while cooking. Think about the width of a steak fry!
If you’d like to add meat or other vegetables, or some vegan cheese (or real cheese)- go for it. This recipe is very adaptable! Do what works for you and your family- this is just the way I’ve been making it.
I’m also adding beans in the recipe if you are gluten free and vegan but not on a strictly paleo diet. Paleo diets don’t eat beans, but if you aren’t on a strict diet it is a great addition to this dish.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 eggplants, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- 3 bell peppers, sliced thin
- 1 large white onion, sliced thin
- 1 large crown broccoli, diced into ½" pieces
- 12oz can gluten free enchilada sauce
- 1 can black beans (optional, not for strict paleo diet)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Peel skin off eggplants, and use a mandoline or sharp knife to cut thin rounds- about ¼" thick.
- Set aside.
- In a large, heavy pan, bring 1 tbsp olive oil to a shimmer over high heat.
- Add onion and pepper slices, as well as broccoli, and sautee until browned.
- Pour a little enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of a casserole dish.
- Lay down a layer of eggplant slices, lasagna style.
- Add a layer of sauteed onions, peppers and broccoli.
- If adding beans, add a layer of beans.
- Top with some enchilada sauce, enough to thinly cover layer.
- Add another layer of eggplant slices, then more vegetables and enchilada sauce.
- Repeat until youve layered all your eggplant and veggies.
- Pour the rest of your enchilada sauce over the top of the dish.
- Place casserole in oven- bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, until eggplant is soft.
- Serve and enjoy!