You would be hard pressed to find an Italian pizzeria without a bottle of oregano. For generations, people have savored the way the herb’s unique, earthy fragrance complements the tomato and cheesy goodness. But did you know that besides its taste, oregano has some wonderful health benefits?

The name oregano comes from the Greek words oros (mountain) and ganos  (joy). I can understand why! The health benefits of oregano are seemingly endless–the herb is rich in fiber, iron, manganese, vitamin E, vitamin K. iron, calcium, omega fatty acids, tytophan, and antioxidants. It is great for treating respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract disorders. Additionally, it is also known for its antibacterial properties used to fight infections, and anti-inflammatory properties used to treat disorders including osteoperosis and arteriosclerosis.

With all its health benefits and deliciousness, I like using oregano whenever I’m cooking a tomato-based meal. It goes beautifully with this hearty, go-to meal, perfect for meatless nights.

Eggplant-tomato-layered-yum-ingredients

 

Eggplant Tomato Layered YUM! with Oregano – serves 6

4 small Italian eggplants, trimmed and cut into 1/4” slices
5 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch of scallions (with large bulbs if you can find) or 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 tsp. of dried oregano
1/2 of a ball of mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
8 slices of provolone cheese, torn to fit
6 plum tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4”slices
Salt
Pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tbs. chopped chives

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slick a 15” x10” glass Pyrex pan with olive oil. Lay eggplant slices to cover the bottom.

Sprinkle on sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Spread out garlic and sliced scallions or shallots to cover. Then sprinkle on the oregano and take a moment to breathe in the wonderful aroma. Lay on top any leftover extra eggplant slices. Swirl a little bit of olive oil all over the top.

Lay on the mozzarella, then cover with the Provolone, tearing slices to make a nice even covering. Spread out tomatoes on the top. Lightly salt and pepper the tomatoes.

In a small bowl, mix together with a fork, the panko, olive oil, Pecorino Romano, chives and salt and pepper to taste.

Spread crumb mixture on top. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Test the eggplant with a knife to make sure it is tender. Then let sit 10 minutes before cutting up to serve.

Cut into 6 rectangles and serve with LOVE on top of whole wheat pasta for a delicious vegetarian meal. Enjoy!

Eggplant-tomato-layered-yum-plated-on-ww-pasta

About The Author

Mary Frances

My name is Mary Frances. I am a designer, creative director, painter, wife, mother and cook. I own an internationally recognized, award-winning brand development and marketing communications firm in New York City, and am a graduate of Parsons School of Design. I especially love to cook and serve great food to make people content and happy. Hearing mmmm’s makes my heart soar. I grew up in suburban St. Louis, in Webster Groves, the youngest of six and the only girl. (Yes, that’s FIVE older brothers!) My mom was a great home cook, and she made sure that I could make a mean pie from scratch. After Parsons, I married, had two boys and moved from NYC to the NJ suburbs where I threw myself into cooking and entertaining. Now it’s time for me to share the great recipes, tips, stories and LOVE with you. The inspiration for LOVE – the secret ingredient www.lovethesecretingredient.net came from our youngest son when he wrote in a gift cookbook that the one ingredient that was ever-present in my meals was love. When you cook with LOVE, everything just tastes better.

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