Friday night John and I had no plans and decided to stay in and veg out, which was just what the dr. ordered after 10 days of being out of town (I was in Chicago for 5 days for work, and then spent 5 glorious days in the Florida Keys with some awesome chicks). All I wanted to do was eat something healthy, chill on my couch, and get some sleep and that's excactly what we did!
When I went to the store earlier in the week, I came home with a huge eggplant assuming we'd throw it on the grill at some point. But when John saw it, he said, "Ooh are we having eggplant parmesan?!" Done and done. I love eggplant parm and rarely get to have it, so I immediately started googling recipes and looking for ways to make a healthier version than the fried restaurant variety that you get when you order out. I stumbled across an awesome website, www.eatingwell.com, which I will definitely be revisiting soon (I love how they post the nutritional stats for every recipe), and found a recipe for a healthy eggplant parmesan that turned out great.
I made a few modifications - reduced the portions to make about 3.5 - 4 servings, used spaghetti sauce instead of tomato sauce, and an egg instead of 3 egg whites. I also cut up the eggplant, salted it, and let it sit for about an hour so it could sweat to avoid soggy eggplant! Do not skip this step!
We had this over whole wheat pasta with a tasty bottle of Hook and Ladder red blend. You could also eat this without pasta with a nice caesar salad to reduce the carbs/calories.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Recipe adapted from Eating Well
1 large eggplant
1 tablespoon water
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil
2 1/2 cups store bought marinara sauce
3/4 cup grated part skim mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut eggplants into 1/2 inch thick pieces and line on drying racks with paper towels underneath. Salt the eggplants and let them sweat for 45 minutes to an hour. Pat very dry.
Combine breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Dip eggplant pieces in egg wash (mix 1 egg with 1 t water), then coat both sides with bread crumb mixture. Place on tin foil lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, flip eggplant to other side, and bake 15 more minutes.
Spread 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce in a baking dish, then layer with some of the basil. Arrange half of the eggplant parmesan, layering slightly, then top with more marinara sauce, then half of the mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of eggplants, mozzarella, and basil. Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.