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Eggplant and Squash Casserole

By Marni Sumbal

eggplantThis would be a great dish for the kids to help with, and this makes great leftovers (I’d suggest combining a handful of spinach with leftovers and heating it the next day at work). There are layers of flavors, filled with wonderful nutrients.

One of the best parts about having a balanced lifestyle is having the time to prepare wholesome meals at home, which enhances our lifestyle. I believe to achieve balance in life, you need to sit down and stop thinking about what others are doing, and think about your own life and how much time you can devote to training/exercise without it affecting other areas in your life. When I think about my days during the week, I'm conscious of the time needed for meal prep (I always bring my lunch to work) as well as how much time I need per night to have a restful night of sleep. This is in addition to time spent at work at the hospital and with my business and my time spent on recovery, among other things. For me, recovery means proper nutrition, stretching, etc., to keep me consistent with my training and healthy with activities of daily living.

Even though this meal takes 45 minutes to cook, I wasn't sitting around starving and waiting for my dinner meal. I always recommend having a pre-dinner snack such as a few nuts, a side salad, a little bit of protein or a small piece of fruit or veggies — all depending on what you have for your meal. Let your snacks complement your meals.

Second, multitask. I like to use my oven when I'm really busy so I can stick the meal in the oven and forget about it as I do things around the house or answer emails. Just don't forget to start pre-heating the oven as soon as you can so when you finish your meal prep, your oven will be ready for cooking.

Recipe: Eggplant and Squash Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant (sliced)
  • 1 large yellow squash (sliced)
  • 1/2 container firm tofu (crumbled) (another type of protein could work here if you want)
  • 1/2 large onion (Sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • Mushrooms (1 container)
  • Yellow sweet peppers
  • 1 can Hunts no-salt added stewed whole tomatoes
  • Leftover rice or grains (I used basmati rice)
  • Olive oil
  • Seasonings: Basil, parsley, marjoram, chili flakes, pepper
  • Farmers Cheese (or ricotta)

eggplantBefore you prep your meal, be sure to pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.

1. Lightly spray bottom of glass casserole dish with non stick spray. Layer eggplant on bottom; don't overlap.

2. Crumble tofu on eggplant, then layer with squash.

3. Spread onions (allow a few for the top layer), mushrooms and yellow pepper and a handful rice/whole grains on squash and then crumble a little farmers cheese on top of each squash.

4. Lightly spread tomatoes on squash/onions. Sprinkle with seasonings (listed above or your choice - a pinch of each evenly all over)

5. Finish with a layer of eggplant and a few onions. Drizzle with olive oil.

6. Bake for around 40-50 minutes or until eggplant begins to brown on top.

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) and holds a certification by the American Dietetic Association in Adult Weight Management. She is a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach, Ironman finisher and an Oakley Women ambassador, and she has contributed articles to a number of triathlon organizations, such as Lava Magazine, Triathlete Magazine, IronGirl.com and Beginnertriathlete.com. To contact Marni, email trimarnicoaching@gmail.com, visit trimarni.blogspot.com or become a fan of TriMarni Coaching and Nutrition on Facebook.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.

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