Have you ever walked into a cafeteria and immediately been hit with the delicious aroma of baked eggplant? If so, then you know how irresistible this dish can be. And if you haven’t experienced it yet, then buckle up, because I’m about to share one of the best baked eggplant recipes out there: Wyatt Cafeteria’s Baked Eggplant (Aubergine) Recipe.
For those who are unfamiliar, Wyatt Cafeteria is a beloved Texas institution that has been serving up classic cafeteria-style meals for over 70 years. And their baked eggplant casserole is one of their most popular dishes. It’s easy to see why – creamy, indulgent, and loaded with flavor, this recipe is hard to beat.
But don’t worry if you don’t live near a Wyatt Cafeteria – with this recipe, you can recreate their classic dish in the comfort of your own kitchen. Trust me, once you take a bite of this savory, cheesy eggplant masterpiece, you’ll never look at cafeteria food the same way again. So let’s dive in and get cooking!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re a fan of eggplant, the Wyatt Cafeteria Baked Eggplant recipe will quickly become a favorite. But even if you’re not, I can assure you that this dish is one that you won’t forget. It’s creamy with just the right amount of spices to give your taste buds a jolt.
Firstly, what sets this recipe apart is its simplicity. With just a handful of ingredients, it’s easy to prepare, and you won’t be spending hours in the kitchen trying to perfect it. Whether you’re an experienced cook or novice, the recipe is easy to follow.
Secondly, the combination of eggplant with cheddar cheese and dried sage takes this recipe to another level of flavor. The eggplant pairs perfectly with sauteed onions, green peppers, and celery, which adds texture to the dish. Every bite provides creamy goodness with a hint of spice from the added peppers.
Thirdly, whether you want to serve it as a side dish or have it for dinner with a salad, it’s versatile enough for both options. Your guests will be amazed by how delicious and wholesome this dish is. The vibrant purple color of eggplant casserole will add beauty to any meal spread.
Lastly, this dish has been perfected over time at Wyatt Cafeteria bringing together its signature flavors. With copycat recipes available all over the internet, there’s no surprise that the Wyatt Cafeteria baked Eggplant had our mouths watering!
In summary, this eggplant casserole recipe won’t let you down; rather, it will pleasantly surprise you with its simplicity combined with flavors that will excite your taste buds. So why wait? Give it a try today!
Here are the ingredients that you will need to make Wyatt Cafeteria’s famous Baked Eggplant (Aubergine) Recipe:
- 1 lb. eggplant (peeled and diced into 1″ cubes)
- 2 cups dried breadcrumbs (use panko breadcrumbs for extra crispiness)
- 4 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped pimiento
- 1 lb. cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 12 oz. evaporated milk
- 1 tsp. dried sage (for a flavorful touch)
All of these items can be easily found in your local grocery store, and you likely already have some of these ingredients on hand in your pantry or refrigerator.
The Recipe How-To
Step 1: Prepare the eggplant
The first step in making the Wyatt Cafeteria’s Baked Eggplant (Aubergine) Recipe is to prepare the eggplant. Begin by washing it thoroughly, removing the stem and slicing it into 1/2 inch cubes. Then, sprinkle with salt and let it sit for 10 minutes. This will help to draw out any excess moisture.
Step 2: Sauté the vegetables
While the eggplant is resting, heat a large pan over medium heat and add 1/4 cup of butter. Once the butter is melted, add in 1 cup of diced onion, 1 cup of diced celery, and 1 cup of diced green pepper. Sauté the vegetables for 5-7 minutes until they start to soften.
Step 3: Add the eggplant
After sautéing the vegetables, add in the cubed eggplant along with 2 tablespoons of dried sage and some freshly ground pepper. Continue to sauté until the eggplant is cooked through and begins to turn golden brown in color.
Step 4: Make the custard
While cooking the vegetables, you can start making the custard. In a bowl, whisk together 3 beaten eggs, 1 can of evaporated milk, and 1/2 cup of whole milk. Then stir in 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
Step 5: Assemble the casserole
Once everything is prepared, it’s time to assemble the casserole! Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). First, combine the sautéed vegetables with chopped pimiento, mixing well. In a greased baking dish (9×13 inches), layer half of this mixture followed by half of a cup of dried bread crumbs mixed with four cups grated cheddar cheese (use a mix of mild and sharp cheddar). Pour half of your custard over that layer and repeat again, ending with cheese on top.
Step 6: Bake & Serve!
Now that your casserole is assembled, bake it in your preheated oven for about an hour or until golden brown on top. Once ready, remove from oven and let it cool for about ten minutes before serving.
This recipe makes a perfect side dish or main course paired with baked salmon, cannelloni or even served as an appetizer along crusty bread or crackers.
Substitutions and Variations
Making substitutions and variations to a recipe can turn a delicious dish into something unique and personally yours. For the Wyatt Cafeteria’s Baked Eggplant recipe, there are a few substitutions and variations you can try.
Instead of cheddar cheese, you can use another type of cheese such as Monterey Jack or Parmesan depending on your preference. Using different types of seasonings like thyme, oregano or basil in place of sage can also add distinct flavors to the dish. Moreover, if you like extra spice, sprinkle some red pepper flakes to the bread crumb topping for an added kick.
If eggplant is not available or you prefer other vegetables, try replacing eggplant with zucchini, yellow squash or bell peppers. Simply slice them in similar dimensions as you would eggplant and proceed with the recipe instructions. For a meatier version, mix ground beef or turkey with the sautéed vegetables to create an even richer casserole.
For lactose-intolerant individuals, you may substitute evaporated milk with almond milk or soy milk; however, be mindful that the taste could be different from using regular milk. In addition, whole milk could be substituted for skim milk if you’re aiming for a lighter version of this recipe.
Lastly, this eggplant casserole goes well with some toasted garlic bread or a leafy green side salad for some freshness in every bite. Now that you’ve read through these suggestions for substitutions and variations on this popular recipe from Wyatt Cafeteria’s famous menu, it’s time to get creative and make your own signature version!
Serving and Pairing
Serve this delicious Wyatt Cafeteria’s baked eggplant recipe as a side dish to your main course, and your guests will surely rave about it. The creamy eggplant pairs perfectly with cheese, making it an ideal accompaniment to grilled or roasted meat dishes.
For a complete and satisfying meal, you can serve this dish with a simple salad of mixed greens dressed in a vinaigrette dressing. The salad’s fresh and tangy flavors complement the richness of the eggplant casserole recipe.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing this baked eggplant recipe with some low FODMAP bread or crackers for an additional crunchy texture. The crispy texture of the bread crumbs adds depth to the creaminess of the eggplant.
Moreover, this baked eggplant extravaganza makes an excellent vegetarian main course. To enhance its meat-free goodness, pair it with some starchy sides like roasted potatoes, rice pilaf or quinoa salad.
Complement the eggplant’s nutty flavor by serving a chilled white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc lightly. If you prefer red wine, serve Merlot or Cabernet Franc lightly chilled.
Whatever your preferences may be, serving this Wyatt Cafeteria’s baked eggplant recipe is an excellent way to add flavor and excitement to any meal.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
One of the best things about this Wyatt Cafeteria’s Baked Eggplant (Aubergine) Recipe is that it can be made-ahead, stored and reheated with ease, making it a perfect dish for busy weeknights or when you’re hosting a large gathering.
To make ahead, prepare the eggplant as directed in the recipe, and once baked and cooled, cover it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. The baked eggplant can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), uncover the eggplant and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until heated through. You might want to add some shredded cheese during the last few minutes of baking to make the dish even more savory and luscious.
It’s also worth noting that you can freeze this baked eggplant casserole recipe for up to a month. To do so, follow the recipe all the way through the baking step. Let cool completely, cover securely with plastic wrap and foil, then label and freeze.
To reheat frozen eggplant, simply thaw overnight in your fridge or on your kitchen counter until it’s completely defrosted. Then remove from plastic wrap and foil, transfer it into an ovenproof dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake as directed in the recipe at 350°F (175°C) for about 40-45 minutes or until heated through.
This baked eggplant (aubergine) casserole is a dependable crowd-pleaser that tastes even better warmed up the next day! Plus, it’s perfect for meal prepping or make-ahead dinners where you want something tasty yet low-fuss.
Tips for Perfect Results
To achieve the perfect baked eggplant dish, here are some tips and tricks to follow.
Firstly, when selecting your eggplant, go for a firm and smooth one with an even color. Avoid any that have bruises or are discolored. This helps ensure that the eggplant will hold its shape when baked and not turn mushy.
Next, it is important to properly salt the eggplant to remove any bitterness. To do this, slice the eggplant and sprinkle each slice generously with salt. Let them sit for about 30 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with a paper towel. This process also helps in minimizing moisture content in your dish.
When breading your eggplant before baking, use dried breadcrumbs instead of fresh ones as they tend to absorb less oil while cooking, subsequently making your dish crispy. Alternatively, panko breadcrumbs can be used as they are also great for creating a crispy texture.
It is recommended to sauté the onion, green pepper, and celery with butter before mixing them into the egg mixture. This adds more flavor and depth to the dish.
For those who want to make a healthier version of the recipe, try using low-fat evaporated milk or whole milk instead of heavy cream to cut down on calories without sacrificing taste.
Lastly, if you’re short on time or making the dish ahead of time, reheat it in the oven rather than using a microwave. This optimizes the texture and prevents sogginess.
By following these tips, you will surely come up with a creamy and tangy baked eggplant dish that will leave people wanting more!
In conclusion, the Wyatt Cafeteria’s Baked Eggplant recipe is an absolute must-try for all food lovers out there. With its perfectly cooked eggplant, flavorful herbs, and creamy melted cheddar cheese, this dish will surely leave you with a happy stomach and a satisfied soul.
Not only is this dish delicious, but it is also incredibly easy to make and can be customized to cater to different dietary needs or taste preferences. Whether you’re looking for a standalone vegetarian meal or a delectable side dish to complement your meaty entree, this recipe has got you covered.
So why settle for boring and uninspired dishes when you can elevate your culinary game with this amazing recipe? Don’t wait any longer and start cooking up a storm in your kitchen with Wyatt Cafeteria’s Baked Eggplant recipe. Trust us; your taste buds will thank you later.
Wyatt Cafeteria’s Baked Eggplant (Aubergine) Recipe
- 1 lb eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1/2 lb dried breadcrumbs (I use as did my mother-in-law a herbed stuffing mix)
- 1/2 cup canned evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon chopped pimiento
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- Soak the eggplant cubes in salt water in refrigerator overnight or a minimum of six hours.
- Drain and place in medium saucepan.
- Cover with water and simmer until tender.
- Soak the bread crumbs in milk.
- Saute the onions, green peppers, and celery in melted butter for about 15 minutes or until tender.
- Combine the cooked eggplant, bread crumbs and sauteed vegetables.
- Add the eggs, pimiento, and seasonings; mix thoroughly.
- Place the mixture into a 2 quart baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove cover, top with grated cheese and return to oven last 5 minutes of cooking.
- The preparation time includes the soaking time for the eggplant.
Your Own Notes
Recommended Recipes Just For You
John has been working in the coffee industry for over five years, having started out as a barista in the bustling city of Los Angeles. He fell in love with the craft and set out to expand his knowledge and understanding of coffee. He has traveled all over the world, visiting coffee farms and learning from the best in the industry. His mission is to share his love of coffee and its unique flavors with others, and The Drive Coffee Bar is his way of doing that.