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Here we bake breaded eggplant for crispy results with fewer calories to boot. This makeover of the classic eggplant parmesan recipe was originally developed by our Test Kitchen in 1995 and got an update in 2020 for our 30th anniversary issue.

EatingWell Magazine, September/October 1995; October 2020 30th Anniversary

Gallery

Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

active:
25 mins
total:
45 mins
Servings:
6
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How To Make Eggplant Parmesan Healthy

Eggplant Parmesan is a comforting dish that's easy to make and with a few tweaks, it can be healthy too. Our eggplant Parmesan recipe features tender eggplant with a crispy crust, a flavorful tomato sauce and plenty of ooey-gooey cheese just like the classic version but with fewer calories, less fat and less sodium. Here's how we did it:

Skip The Frying

That crispy crust on the eggplant is usually the result of breading and frying eggplant slices in oil. We love that crispy crust and we take a different approach to achieve the same results. We bread our eggplant slices then spray them with cooking spray and bake them in the oven instead of frying them in the pan. Cooking spray distributes a light coating of oil evenly over the eggplant slices and doesn't soak up into the eggplant itself. This gets the breading nice and crispy, but slashes fat and calories.

Jazz Up Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce is essential to a good eggplant Parmesan and you need plenty of it to keep the eggplant moist as it bakes. Tomato sauce can be high in sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure, so we opt for no-salt-added tomato sauce in our eggplant Parmesan. (Check out more ways to slash sodium in your diet here.) To boost the flavor we add fresh basil, garlic and crushed red pepper to the sauce so you won't miss the salt.

Use a Combo of Flavorful Cheeses

Mozzarella gives eggplant Parmesan that ooey-gooey melted cheese factor. We use part-skim mozzarella cheese instead of whole-milk mozzarella. It provides a silky, texture but keeps saturated fat to a minimum. Since we saved on sodium by using no-salt-added tomato sauce, we can boost the flavor of our cheese layer by adding Parmesan cheese to the mix. Parmesan adds salt where it counts providing a rich and savory flavor throughout.

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Position racks in middle and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 400°F. Coat 2 baking sheets and a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

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  • Whisk eggs and water in a shallow bowl. Mix breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan and Italian seasoning in another shallow dish. Dip eggplant in the egg mixture, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture, gently pressing to adhere.

  • Arrange the eggplant in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Generously spray both sides of the eggplant with cooking spray. Bake, flipping the eggplant and switching the pans between racks halfway, until the eggplant is tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Meanwhile, mix tomato sauce, basil, garlic and crushed red pepper in a medium bowl.

  • Spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce in the prepared baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant slices over the sauce. Spoon 1 cup sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Top with the remaining eggplant, sauce and cheese.

  • Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with more basil before serving, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

1 1/2 cups
241 calories; protein 14g; carbohydrates 28g; dietary fiber 6g; sugars 9g; fat 9g; saturated fat 4g; cholesterol 83mg; vitamin a iu 1227.9IU; vitamin c 44.7mg; folate 84.7mcg; calcium 209.4mg; iron 1.9mg; magnesium 53.4mg; potassium 761mg; sodium 553mg; thiamin 0.3mg.
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