I love Italian food. Seriously! But when I think of delicious Italian meals I picture wine, carbs and plump grandmothers passionate about their cooking. So I went looking for a healthy alternative to the classic Eggplant Parmigiana and found a yummy recipe from Eating Well. Fair warning, it’s a little involved. Active prep time is 45 minutes while the total time is 2.5 hours but it’s worth it. The good news is that this recipe makes 2 8×8 casseroles so if you have a small family you can freeze an unbaked one for up to three months.
- 2 Eggplants, cut into 12 slices each (about 1/4 inch thick)
- 1 1/2 t kosher salt, divided
- 3/4 c whole-wheat flour
- 6 large egg whites
- 2 1/2 c fine dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs
- 3 T Italian seasoning, divided
- 4 T olive oil, divided
- Olive oil to coat the baking dishes
- 2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 c shredded part-skin mozzarella cheese, divided
- 4 T finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
- Fresh basil for garnish (for you fancy folks)
> To make whole-wheat breadcrumbs place torn pieces of whole-wheat bread, sans crust, into a food processor and process until fine and crumbly. Dry by baking at 250 degrees F for 10 – 15 minutes. One slice of bread = 1/3 c dry breadcrumbs.
- Line a baking sheet with two layers of paper towels. Place eggplant slices in a single layer then sprinkle with 3/4 t of salt. Top with another two layers of paper towels and eggplant with remaining salt. Cover with another two layers of paper towels. Keep covered at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Adjust over racks to highest and lowest positions and place empty large baking sheets on each rack and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Dab excess water from eggplant slices after an hour.
- Place flour in the first shallow dish, egg whites in a second dish, and combine breadcrumbs and 2 T Italian seasoning in a third dish. Press each slice of eggplant into the flour, covering both sides, then sake off excess. Next dip the slices into the egg whites and then press into the breadcrumb mixture, again covering both sides.
- Take out heated baking sheets from the oven and coat each with 2 T of olive oil. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layers on the baking sheets, being careful not to let the edges touch. Spray a generous layer of olive oil (or cooking spray) on the tops then bake for 15 minutes. Remove and flip slices over then resume baking for another 15 minutes, until golden.
- In a medium bowl mix together crushed tomatoes and last T of Italian seasoning.
- Spray the 8×8 baking dishes with cooking spray. Fill the bottom of each dish with 1/2 c seasoned tomatoes and spread to coat. Next arrange a single layer of eggplant then cover with 1 c of seasoned tomatoes and top with 1/4 c mozzarella cheese. Place another layer of eggplant, 1 c seasoned tomatoes and 1/2 c mozzarella then top with 2 T Parmesan cheese.
- [If freezing let the unbaked dishes cool to room temp before freezing] Bake for 15 minutes, until cheese melts and the sauce bubbly. Garnish with basil for a fancy finish.
I served it with a spinach salad with red onion, pecans, orange slices and shaved Parmesan topped with a balsamic vinaigrette. And the calories saved from making this dish at home allow for a tasty glass of wine. Buon appetito!