Eggplants are low in calories and fat and a good source of dietary fiber, B vitamins, potassium, and vitamin C. Traditional Eggplant Parmesan recipes call for salting, pressing, draining or “weeping” and frying the eggplant in batches before layering it in the casserole dish. So much work! And when eggplant is fried, it acts like a sponge and soaks up a lot of oil.
There’s none of the prep, clean-up, and extra fat in this recipe! No need to hover over a hot spattering fry pan. You’ll need extra time for the baking though, but that’s just extra time for you to relax.
Eggplant or “aubergine” in French is most often used as a vegetable, but it is actually a fruit. A native of India, it comes in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors — from white, yellow, green, reddish purple to dark purple. It’s rather bitter raw but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich flavor and nice texture making it a versatile ingredient in many styles of cooking.
Eggplant is popular in various cuisines: Japanese (miso nasu), French (ratatouille), Greek (moussaka), Italian (melanzane alla parmigiana), and Indian (baingan bharta).
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Season breadcrumbs with kosher salt (optional) and freshly ground black pepper:
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
3. Cut into 1/2″ slices:
- 1 large eggplant
4. Dip eggplant slices into:
- 3 beaten eggs, then into breadcrumbs to coat each side
5. Place eggplant slices in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.
6. Bake for 20 minutes. Then flip slices over and bake for another 20 minutes. Eggplant should be soft and tender.
7. Sprinkle eggplant with herbs after baking and while still hot:
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
8. Cut into thin slices:
- 16 oz. low-fat mozzarella cheese
9. Build your dish:
LAYER 1 – Spread in a 9 x 13″ glass baking dish to cover the bottom:
- 1/2 jar of Classico® Tomato & Basil spaghetti sauce (310 mg. sodium per serving – not bad for a prepared sauce!)
- 2 Tbsp. of pesto (made with basil, garlic and pine nuts)
LAYER 2: Place 1/2 of the eggplant slices in the sauce.
- 1/2 of a 16-oz. package of low-fat mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Repeat LAYERS 1, 2, 3.
TOP LAYER – Sprinkle with:
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
10. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 8 servings.