July 14, 2010

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

I have never actually tried eggplant parmesan until I made it last night. I was a bit hesitant about the eggplant, because the last time I tried eggplant it was chewy and tough. Not a good memory, but with as much time that I spend cooking I like to give foods a second try. Whatever your ideas are of what Eggplant (or chicken) parmesan is, let that go, because this dish was nothing like I was expecting. 

It is probably one of my new favorite dinners. It is vegetarian, and I must tell you I never even noticed I was missing the meat. I got the recipe from the Clean Eating magazine, and changed it up a bit. It is definitely a "clean dish". There is no butter in this recipe, which is almost unheard of for "anything" parmesan. You dip the eggplant slices in egg whites, and then a parmesan/whole wheat bread crumb mix. I did not have any bread crumbs in the house, so I toasted up some wheatberry bread, and pulsed it in my food processor and it turned out great. 

If you are sensitive to gluten, you can do the same with gluten free bread, or buy gluten free breadcrumbs. It is the perfect dish for a hot summer night (we hit 113 today!). I absolutely love eating a meal that you can taste and feel the nutrients feeding your body. I served mine alongside a spinach salad with cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, and a balsamic drizzle. 

Baked Eggplant Parmesan
I love using produce that is in season. The eggplant is perfectly accented with the bright taste of the tomato sauce. Enjoy!
Serves 4-6

For the Tomato Sauce:
1 (28 oz) can diced organic tomatoes
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
A pinch of sea salt
A pinch of pepper 
Extra virgin olive oil 

For the Eggplant:
olive oil cooking spray
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs *(see note)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 globe eggplants
1 cup part skim, shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese

For the sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and saute the onions and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the can of tomatoes (juice and all), balsamic, the basil, and the spices. Simmer on low until the eggplants are done. 

For the eggplants:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with olive oil spray and set aside. 
Place egg whites in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, parmesan, oregano, garlic powder and salt. Trim the ends off the eggplant, and cut into 3/4 inch rounds. You should get about 6 per eggplant. 

Dip each eggplant slice in egg whites, then crumb mix, and place them on the baking sheets. Before sticking them in the oven, spray lightly with olive oil, and bake until they are golden brown, about 25 minutes. 

Once they are brown, pull out of oven, and preheat your broiler. Spoon tomato sauce over each slice, dividing evenly. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the sauce, and place back in oven under the broiler until the cheese is brown and bubbly, about 3 minutes. To serve, place one slice on top of another, and garnish with some fresh basil.

* If you can't find whole wheat crumbs, you can use 3 slices of your favorite wheat (or gluten Free) bread, and slightly toast in the toaster. Once toast is lightly toasted, pulse in a food processor until they become light crumbs.  

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love Eggplant Parmesan. Can't wait to try this!