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Eggplant Parmesan

September/October 2013

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Eggplant Parmesan doesn’t have to include layers of deep-fried eggplant and mountains of cheese. This healthy eggplant Parmesan recipe has just enough melty mozzarella between layers of breaded baked eggplant to be satisfying but not pile on the calories and fat. Don’t skip the step of salting the eggplant, especially if you want to freeze one of the casseroles. Salting helps to draw out extra moisture so the eggplant holds up better in the freezer. Serve with a salad of bitter greens tossed with a red-wine vinaigrette. This recipe makes enough for two 8-by-8-inch casseroles (four servings each)—have one for dinner tonight and freeze the other for a night when you don’t have time to make dinner.


Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Makes: 2 casseroles, 4 servings each

Serving Size: about 3/4 cup

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants (about 1 pound each), cut into 12 slices each
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup liquid egg whites or 6 large egg whites
  • 2 1/2 cups fine dry breadcrumbs (see Tips), preferably whole-wheat
  • 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning, divided
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes (see Tips)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 4 tablespoons finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • Fresh basil for garnish

Preparation

  1. 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.
  2. Position oven racks in upper and lower positions and place a large baking sheet on each rack to heat; preheat to 425°F.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Combine crushed tomatoes and the remaining 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning in a medium bowl.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.)

Tips & Notes

  • 1. 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.
  • 2. 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.

Nutrition

Per serving: 294 calories; 14 g fat (4 g sat, 7 g mono); 13 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 14 g protein; 9 g fiber; 459 mg sodium; 716 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (35% daily value), Calcium (28% dv), Potassium & Iron (20% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 1 starch, 3 1/2 vegetables, 1 medium fat meat, 1 1/2 fat


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