I stumbled upon this lighter version of classic eggplant parmesan when I was pregnant and had gestational diabetes.* I had to carefully balance carbs and protein, and this meal fit the bill. We had it a lot, since it also happens to be one of my favorite dinners. I made it again recently after a hiatus, and it definitely deserves a place in the rotation. It’s simple to put together, tasty, and balanced, so it’s the whole package!
* This is not necessarily a “fat person’s disease” or something you get from eating unhealthily. In my case, my family history of diabetes did me in, and I’m likely to have it again if I have another pregnancy. Sorry for the not-strictly-necessary PSA, but this got under my skin when I was dealing with it, and it still does now!
Even the hubby, who is a bit squeamish about eggplant, loves it. I think it’s a texture thing — a lot of times, the eggplant comes out stringy and mushy, but that is definitely not the case in this recipe. The trick is in the preparation.
I slice the eggplant thin, let it stand to dry out, and broil it first, which browns it a bit and gives it a little “crust” without breading. I’ll definitely never go back to the traditional way again, not because of the extra calories, but because it just tastes better this way!
I really like to use my own frozen or canned tomato sauce in this recipe, but sadly I didn’t get around to canning any last summer (boo!) and all of my frozen stuff has already been used, so I had to resort to jarred sauce.
It was actually pretty good… just not as good as the “real” stuff, and more expensive to boot. So put canning tomatoes and tomato sauce on my “to do” list for this summer!
1 1/2 pounds eggplant (about 2 medium)
1 to 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 to 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Slice eggplant into 1/3-inch thick rounds. Lay rounds on paper towels and sprinkle with salt, letting them sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Blot with paper towels to absorb moisture and brush or spray both sides with olive oil. Preheat the broiler and broil about 6 inches from the heat until rounds begin to brown. Flip and repeat on the other side, then remove. Rounds should look a bit dried out.
Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly oil a 2-quart casserole dish. Heat the tomato sauce and spread about 1/3 on the bottom of the casserole. Layer half of the eggplant slices on top of the sauce, overlapping a bit as necessary. Spread a thick layer of mozzarella over the eggplant, retaining a 1/4 cup or so. Sprinkle the parmesan on top of the mozzarella. Layer the remaining eggplant slices over the top of the cheese and spread the remaining tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the top. Bake until bubbly and melted, about 30 minutes.
Cut into slices and serve on top of a bed of whole wheat spaghetti.