Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan

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Italian food is the quintessential comfort food (hello, pasta and cheese!) but some of the dishes can seem daunting when you are trying to recreate them at home. Yes, pasta with tomato sauce is easy to whip up, but making chicken or eggplant parmesan from scratch can be intimidating. Yet, with a little research, I have found a quicker, easier (but just as delicious) way to whip up Eggplant Parmesan without all the fuss and stress!

What I love about this version of eggplant parmesan is that it is super simple (and breading-free), allowing the eggplant to really stand out and shine–the way eggplant parmesan should be. This recipe is cheap, feeds a crowd, and is much healthier than traditional eggplant parmesan that you get a restaurant–so you are not only saving money, but calories too!

It all starts with an eggplant that’s been sliced in ½ inch slices.

Then placed in a colander and salted with some kosher salt–this step seems unnecessary but it really helps the eggplant have a better texture and removes some of the bitterness. This is a great technique for preparing eggplant for any dish that requires sliced eggplant. Let the eggplant sit for about fifteen minutes, which is conveniently about the time it takes my oven to reach 400 degrees.

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When the oven reaches temp, thoroughly rinse off the eggplant, pat it dry, and coat it with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then place it on a greased cookie sheet.

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Pop the eggplant into the oven for 20 minutes, flipping the eggplant rounds over halfway through.When 20 minutes is up, pull the eggplant out of the oven and spoon on a bit of your favorite marinara sauce–this is some really good jarred sauce but if you have homemade, you can use that.

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Then sprinkle on some part-skim mozzarella cheese.

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And then add the secret ingredient. 

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Which is some seasoned bread crumbs. Just a small sprinkle (about ¼ teaspoon per slice) does the trick–it adds a little texture and crunch to the dish without all the heavy breading of traditional eggplant parmesan.

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Now, just pop the eggplant back into the oven for 5-6 minutes until the cheese is melted and turning golden brown.

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Perfection–an easy Italian recipe that gives you the Italian restaurant “feel” in a quicker, healthier form!

Check out more of Catherine’s delicious recipes by visiting Simply A (RD) Foodie and come back here every Friday for new recipes!

Eggplant Parmesan

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into ½ inch sliced width-wise
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (for salting the eggplant)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ to ¾ cup marinara sauce
  • ¾ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Red pepper flake and dried oregano for serving

Instructions

  1. Salt eggplant slices with kosher salt and place in a colander that is set in a sink. Let the eggplant sit for about 15 minutes to allow for some of the water and bitterness to leave.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a high-sided cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. When the oven reaches temperature, rinse the eggplant under cold water, pat dry, and coat both sides with the olive oil, table salt, and black pepper. Place the slices in one even layer on the cookie sheet (if your slices are big in diameter, you may need a second cookie sheet). Pop the eggplant into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, flipping the eggplant slices over once in the middle of cooking.
  4. After 20 minutes, remove the eggplant from the oven. Spoon about a tablespoon of marinara sauce on each slice and then sprinkle on about 1 tablespoon of shredded mozzarella per slice. Finally, sprinkle over some seasoned breadcrumbs--about ¼ teaspoon per slice.
  5. Place the eggplant back into the oven for 5-6 minutes until the cheese is melted and starting to turn golden.
  6. To serve: Sprinkle on some red pepper flakes and/or dried oregano as desired and enjoy!

Nutritional Information:

166 calories | 16gm carbohydrates | 5gm fiber | 8gm protein | 9gm fat | 3gm saturated fat 629mg sodium | 11mg cholesterol | 1mg iron | 183mg calcium

http://im-perfectmagazine.com/eggplant-parmesan/
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Catherine is a registered dietitian, whose love of all things food and cooking started during her study abroad in Italy. She believes that all foods fit into a healthy diet (even chocolate cake), food tastes better when you cook it yourself, and that a well-stocked pantry is a lifesaver. Check her out at Simply a (RD) Foodie.

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