Place 2 layers of paper towels on a baking sheet or cutting board. Place half the eggplant slices on the paper towels. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cover with another double layer of paper towels. Top with the remaining eggplant slices and sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cover with another double layer of paper towels. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.Advertisement
Position oven racks in upper and lower positions and place a large baking sheet on each rack to heat; preheat to 425 degrees F.
Blot the eggplant slices with more paper towels. Put flour in one shallow dish, egg whites in another. Combine breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning in a third dish. Dip each slice of eggplant in the flour, shaking off excess. Dip in the egg, letting the excess drip off, then press into the breadcrumbs.
Remove the heated baking sheets from the oven and add 2 tablespoons oil to each, tilting to coat. Place half the eggplant on each baking sheet, not letting the slices touch. Generously coat the tops with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the slices over and continue baking until golden brown, about 15 minutes more.
Combine crushed tomatoes and the remaining 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning in a medium bowl.
To assemble: Coat two 8-inch-square baking dishes with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of the tomatoes in each prepared baking dish. Make a layer of 6 eggplant slices over the sauce. Spread with 1 cup of tomatoes and sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella. Top with the remaining 6 slices of eggplant, a generous 1 cup tomatoes, 1/2 cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
To serve: Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Serve garnished with basil, if desired. To freeze: Let unbaked casserole(s) cool to room temperature. Tightly wrap with heavy-duty foil (or freezer paper) and freeze. (To prevent foil from sticking to the cheese, coat with cooking spray first.)
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 6, cover and freeze (unbaked) for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 2 days. Uncover and bake at 400°F for 40 to 45 minutes.
To make your own breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse (or fine) crumbs form. To make dry breadcrumbs (coarse or fine), spread on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs.
Sodium amounts vary widely among brands of crushed tomatoes. And although it's hard to find any that are labeled “low-sodium,” for the best tomato flavor we use brands that have little or no added sodium. Compare nutrition labels and choose one that has 190 mg sodium or less per 1/2-cup serving.
1 starch, 3 1/2 vegetables, 1 medium-fat meat, 1 1/2 fat