eggplant parmesan

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This dish is a healthier version of the beloved classic, in which the eggplant slices are usually deep-fried. Eggplant acts like a sponge and soaks up oil, which is why the usual eggplant parmesan dishes are high in calories and fat. Even though the eggplant slices in dish are not fried, they are first dried in the oven to ensure crispness. In the baking dish, the eggplants maintain their integrity, and the result? Distinct layers of eggplant with cheese and sauce perfectly layered in between!  

I made a huge batch for myself, and ate it over 3 days. I didn't get sick of it at all, but actually looked forward to eating it each day! It actually tasted even better on the second or third day, because I think the flavors really marinated together by that point. You could even cut this into pieces and sprinkle it over a bowl of pasta the next day. This dish freezes well, too-- just heat it up in the oven at 350F when you're ready to enjoy it again. 


currently listening to:
miss A- good-bye baby
an oldie but a goodie; this was a huge hit in the summer of 2011!

health benefits: 

eggplant: rich in vitamin C, folate, B vitamins, and vitamin A; great source of fiber; high in chlorogenic acid (strong antioxidant properties; helps lower cholesterol); low in calories (only 35/ cup) 


2-3 pounds eggplant (depending on the size of your eggplants, 3-4 eggplants)
1 cup flour
1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella 
olive oil

tomato sauce 
2 28oz. cans of canned whole peeled tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
olive oil

serves 4-6
adapted from NancyJo at food52


1. Preheat oven to 450F.


2. Peel the eggplant and slice to about 1/4 in. thick slices- you don't want the eggplant slices to be too thick, or they will not become crispy in the oven!



3. Spread the eggplant out in a colander in layers. Salt each layer as you go. After you have salted all the slices, place a plate with a weight on top. Allow the eggplants to sweat for 30 minutes or more.



4. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-heat. Add the garlic and let them cook until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add the tomatoes with all their juices and salt. Cut the tomatoes into bite sizes pieces using knives or a potato masher (I was lazy and just used kitchen shears while they were cooking in the pan).



5. Allow the sauce to simmer until reduced by almost half, and the sauce is thick in consistency. 


6. Remove the eggplant slices from the colander and pat each one dry (This step is very important!).



7. Cover the bottom of baking sheets in olive oil. Dredge the eggplant slices in flour, shaking off the excess. Place them on the baking sheets, and drizzle the top with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes on one side, then turn them over and cook for 15 minutes more on the other side. The eggplant slices should come out browned and crispy.


8. Lower the oven to 400F. 


9. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, and spread the eggplant out until completely covered. 


10. Sprinkle a generous amount of the grated parmigiano-reggiano. Add another layer of sauce, and then the eggplant. Continue building the layers of sauce, eggplant, and parmesan. In one of the middle layers, add a single layer of sliced mozzarella. Once all of the eggplant is used up, sprinkle the very top layer with sauce and parmesan.



11. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, and carefully pour out any excess liquid. Cook for another 15 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.