Saturday, April 21, 2012

Baked Eggplant Parmesan (to die for)

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This is one of my new favourite mid-week meals, ladies, and I am hoping you’ll take a stab at it even if you’ve never made eggplant parmesan before (and even if you’ve never tried it!).  It’s delicious and this version is baked, so unlike the deep-friend parm dishes you are accustomed to, there are much fewer calories.  I dont know if I’d go so far as to call it “low-fat”, because there is still cheese in the recipe, but of course the lower-fat the parmesan and mozzarella you use the few calories and less fat there will be. 

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Ingredients:

2 large eggplants

2 large eggs

roughly 2 cups of fine breadcrumbs, perhaps more

salt and pepper

favourite Italian herbs (any combination of basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc, will do)

2T olive oil

1 1/2- 2 Jars of a good marinara sauce (preferable your homemade but a good bottled one will due)

parmesan cheese (at least 3/4 cup but more to taste)

mozzarella cheese (at least 1 cup but more to taste)

1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Slice the eggplants about 1/2 inch thick.  don’t slice them any thicker, as the crispiness that they develop in the oven is what makes the dish so tasty. 

2.  Prepare the two eggs by beating them with a dash of water in a wide, shallow bowl.  Add the bread crumbs is a similar dish, adding your favourite herbs and salt and pepper to taste (you want at least two teaspoons of herbs, but I usually use more like a tablespoon).

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2. Grease two large cookie sheets with olive oil.  You dont have to be overly generous here but do be sure that the pan is covered.  You dont want your breaded eggplant to stick or burn and the little bit of oil they will be cooking in will help them to crisp up and give them flavour.

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4. Using tongs, dip your eggplant slices first in the egg wash, and then in the crumbs.  I like to put the slice in the bowl, then gently shake the dish back and forth to get the slice coated nicely.  some people prefer doing this in a plastic bag, but I dont like how clumped up the crumbs get with the egg yolk when I do it that what.  But whatever floats your boat. :)

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5.  Place breaded eggplant on the cookie sheets in a single layer and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes on each side.

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6. In a square casserole dish (size is really giong to depend on how big your eggplants are.  As you can see from my photos, originally I thought my two eggplants would be enough for me to make two 8X8 pans of Parm so I could freeze one for a further date, but as I was filling up the dish I realized that because my eggplants were skinnier than the ones I’ve used in the past, really I had just enough for one very-full 8X8.  So you’ll have to experiment with the dish size), put a thin layer of marinara (preferably your own homemade!) at the bottom of the pan.  Then proceed to layer your eggplant, more sauce, and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.  How you do this will depend on how much cheese and sauce you like in your parm.  For us, becuase I was trying to keep it more cost-effective and lower in calories, I put down two or three layers of eggplant, then sauce, then a light sprinkling of parmesan cheese, and repeated that until at the very top layer I added mozzarella.  But of course it would be all the more decadent if you added mozzarella between each layer.

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7. Place the assembled casserole in the oven and increase the heat to 400 degrees.  Bake until the cheese is hot, bubbly and browned on top, about 30-45 minutes, depending on how big your casserole is.

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8.  You want to make sure you have some extra marinara sauce on the stovetop so that you can serve this delicious Eggplant with some spaghetti and marinara.  Serve it with a nice green salad on the side and you have a fabulous dinner for the whole family, often with left-overs for the next day, and its much lower in fat and calories than your typical fried eggplant parm would be.

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Bon Appétit! 

So excited to be linking up with Veggie Mamma for Meatless Mondays 

and Hey Whats For Dinner, Mom? for Just Another Meatless Monday  Hey What's For Dinner

3 comments:

Sarah @ Nature's Nurture said...

I tried my hand at baked eggplant parm last month and just loved it! Will have to try out your recipe, as your pics look delish! And thanks for the tip on shaking the bowl back and forth to coat the eggplant - that's one of those "duh, why didn't I think of that?" moments ;)

Veggie Mama said...

One of my favorites! Thanks or linking up xx

The Daily Smash said...

Yummy this looks great.

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www.thedailysmash101.blogspot.com