Sunday, October 24, 2010

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan

Most people assume that Eggplant Parmesan is loaded with calories- and in most cases it is.  Typically the eggplant is fried and covered in tons of cheese. Sounds good right?  It is good, but it isn't very good for you.  Luckily there is a way to make this dish healthier and still maintain the flavor of the original dish.  By simply coating the eggplant in breadcrumbs and then baking it, you get the same crispy eggplant as the fried version but with a fraction of the calories and fat.

The ingredient list and preparation directions may look like a lot but the majority of the ingredients you should already have and the dish really isn't challenging to make.  I made the recipe in just under an hour- perfect for a Sunday evening when you have extra time.  The original recipe, which I have provided a link to below, serves 10, which is great for a crowd but since I am just feeding myself this week I halved the recipe and will have leftovers for the next few night.  Luckily this is a dish that I won't get sick of by the 4th night!

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan
** adapted from Cooking Light
printable recipe

Serves: 4-5
Prep Time: 10
Bake Time: 45

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 T. water
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/8 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 (1 pound) eggplant, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices
Cooking spray

1/4 cup torn fresh basil
1/8 cup grated fresh Parmesan
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
8 ounces light ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten

Remaining Ingredients
12 ounces pasta sauce- any brand or style
3 slices thinly sliced mozzarella cheese- cut into 4th's
1/4 cup finely grated fontina cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Combine egg and 1 T. of water in a shallow dish. Combine panko and 1/8 cup Parmesan cheese in a second shallow dish. Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture; dredge in panko mixture. Place eggplant 1 inch apart on baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 12 minutes, flip eggplant over and then bake for an additional 12 minutes on the other side.

To make filling, combine basil and next six ingredients (through egg).

To assemble, spoon 1/4 cup pasta sauce on bottom of 9x9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer half of eggplant slices over pasta sauce (my pan had room for 4 large and 1 small eggplant slices). Top each piece of eggplant with a large spoonful of sauce and then use half of the ricotta mixture to cover each piece of eggplant. Place a fourth of a piece of mozzarella on each piece of eggplant and sprinkle with 1/8 cup grated fontina cheese. Repeat layers once and then top each piece of eggplant with a large spoonful of sauce.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.  Serve with torn basil and any remaining fontina cheese as a garnish.

** According to Cooking Light one eggplant stack has 318 calories and 15 grams of fat.  Pair with a side salad and you have a healthy and filling dinner!

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