I don't like eggplant so I substituted one butternut squash instead.Didn't have any mushrooms on hand.I used one 28oz can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh.Came out great and not too much liquid, probably because I didn't use the mushrooms. I caramelized the onions on the stove before adding to the rest of the mixture.I think it is important to do this. I did not layer the dish,I just tossed everything into a huge mixing bowl before pouring it into the casserole dish and it came out great. tasted even better the next day. good with wild/brown rice.it would probably be very good even without the parmesan cheese. add lots of seasonings, if you don't have italian then just be generous add:basil,oregano,parsley,thyme,rosemary and lots of fresh garlic.
I didn't find it to be bland at all. Next time, I'm going to substitute the squash for sweet potatoes and see how it turns out.
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I don't like eggplant so I substituted one butternut squash instead.Didn't have any mushrooms...