Monday, August 22, 2011

A Heathlier Eggplant Parmesan..

More CSA fun!  Another item we've received a lot of recently is eggplant.  Wanting to do something a bit traditional but on the lighter side, Nick found a healthier eggplant Parmesan recipe online that came from Shape magazine

Farm Fresh Eggplant
I have always loved eggplant, but somehow when I make it at home it never quite tastes right.  Turns out, there is a method to preparing eggplant properly that I NEVER knew! 

All sliced up
Before you actually start cooking the eggplant, you need to slice is up nicely, put it in a bowl with a bunch of salt and let it sit for about 20 to 30 minutes to take out all the bitterness.  The salt pulls out the moisture, so doing this in a colander in the sink will help.  Once its done sitting, dry the slices off with a paper towel and wipe off some of the salt if you like.  

The Ingredients
The Necessities...
  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), sliced into 1∕4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/2 easpoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups jarred marinara sauce, divided
  • 2 ounces (about 1∕2 packed cup) mozzarella
The real recipe called for part-skim mozzarella, but for some reason my brain was not working when I went to the store and came back with fresh mozzarella (so much for the healthier version!).  I also happened to have a brick of Parmesan at home, so to begin cooking, I shredded the mozzarella and the Parmesan.  Since I love cheese, I shredded a bit extra. 

Lovely, non-bitter, eggplant slices were laid out.

Eggplant Slices
To give the panko a bit extra flavor, I toasted them in a fry pan with some olive oil, which took about 5 minutes.  I stirred the panko about every 30 seconds in order to make sure it all got toasted. 

Toasted Panko
Once the breadcrumbs were toasted, I added them to a bowl big enough to fit the eggplant slices.  When the crumbs had cooled I added to it 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan, the garlic powder, chopped fresh basil, oregano and pepper. 

Herbed and Spiced Panko
In two other bowls I added flour and an egg, which I beat lightly.  You could also use just the egg whites for an even healthier version. 

The Dippings...
To coat the slices, I first dipped one side of the eggplant slices in the flour, then the egg and then the panko mixture and one by one, laid them out on a foil-lined cookie sheet with the unbreaded side down.  I actually ran out of egg so I had to crack another open and I used all of the panko - so making a bit more if you have extra eggplant is necessary.
Breaded eggplant
I put the cookie sheet into a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes until the eggplant was tender.  At that point I pulled them out of the oven and began assembling.  To begin, I sprayed a 9 x 9 glass dish with cooking spray and spooned about a quarter cup of marinara sauce into the dish.  Next, I added about half of the eggplant slices to the dish.  I added a bit of the marinara, mozzarella and Parmesan - then I added the final slices of eggplant and topped it all again with the marinara, dollops of mozzarella and a sprinkle of Parmesan. 

Eggplant Parmesan Assembled
I then put it in the 425 degree oven for another 10 to 12 minutes - until the cheese was a toasted golden brown.
Cooked Eggplant Parmesan
Once out of the oven it was ready to plate and serve!

Ready to Eat
This definitely was a tasty, lighter version of traditional eggplant Parmesan that was easily assembled for a weekday night.  I really think this would work with some other summer veggies like zucchini or summer squash.  The panko with all the herbs really has a nice flavor and texture - I really prefer them to regular breadcrumbs.

Overall this was a nice alternative dish that still maintained the comfort feel and taste!


  1. I love eggplant, this looks delish!

  2. I've never toasted panko but I bet it takes this dish to another level! My husband loves eggplant parm - i'll have to make this lightened version!

  3. I've never used panko before...I love eggplant parm and will certainly have to give this one a try!

  4. I love eggplant pair. This version looks delicious! I just bought a bunch of fairy tale eggplants because they look really cute, but I need to figure out what to do with them!

  5. I did not know that about eggplant too! Thanks for sharing. This recipe sounds great. I haven't had eggplant parm in a while and now I am totally craving it!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...