Eggplant Parmigiana / Parmesan / Parm / Ooey gooey yummy….. oh my. I know some of you may not believe me, but it’s been less than a year since I took my first bite of eggplant parmigiana. One of my dear friends (who happens to be a dietitian) had me over for dinner and made the most delicious eggplant parm ever. I likely would have gone my entire life without ever having it had she not made it for me. I mean who wants eggplant anything, right? But – I was hooked from bite one. The other day while wandering the aisles of Sprouts I saw this beauty and decided I needed to recreate that dinner.
If you haven’t tried Eggplant Parm, I’m telling you – don’t be afraid! It’s yummy and simple. Eggplant is a mildly flavored vegetable with a dense consistency which lends itself to work well in dishes like parmigiana because it’s difficult to overcook (unlike most other vegetables). Since I was losing daylight (I prefer to take pictures in natural lighting) I had to bypass roasting the eggplant first, and use my trusted microwave to speed the cooking process up.
First step – wash and dry your beauty, then slice into 12 even slices, about 3/4-1 inch wide. Place in a microwave safe dish with about 2 tablespoons of water and cover with a paper towel. Microwave for 3-4 minutes so the eggplant slices become soft (but not mushy). OR you can bake the slices on a foil lined baking sheet at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes, then remove and let cool as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Once you have softened the eggplant slices (either by baking or in the microwave) you’re ready to assemble your meal. I decided to make “Eggplant Parm Stacks” because they look cute and I like cute things. You could layer these instead though and make it more of a casserole if you so desire.
This post barely needs a recipe – but I will add one below – basically it’s an assembly line of eggplant with marinara sauce (I went with a pre made minimally processed sauce that I bought at my local farmers market), shredded mozzarella cheese, and basil. Then repeat and top with a little bit of panko bread crumbs.
- 1 large eggplant
- 1½ cups of pre made marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 12 basil leaves
- ½ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Wash and dry eggplant
- Slice eggplant into 12 even slices, about 1 inch thick.
- Place in microwave safe dish with 2 tablespoons of water and cover with paper towel. Microwave for 4 minutes.
- Remove from microwave and place on plate lined with paper towel to let dry and cool while you assemble the other ingredients.
- In 9 x 11 dish place 6 slices of eggplant, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- To each eggplant slice add 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce, 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese, 1 basil leave. Top each eggplant slice with additional six eggplant slices, and repeat layering process.
- Sprinkle each stack with 1 heaping tablespoon of whole wheat panko bread crumbs.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and brown.
Feel free to add sautéed hot italian sausage, ground beef, or chicken to this dish to bump up the protein content. I served it with grilled chicken breasts.
- Where there’s a will there’s a way! Modifying recipes to decrease fat and calories without losing flavor is possible. In this dish for example we skip the breading and frying process that is common when making eggplant parmigiana.
- Don’t forget to add a dense protein source to this recipe. Your typical protein goal per meal after weight loss surgery (WLS) is 15 – 25 grams. Each of these stacks contains about 5 grams of protein. Add an additional 2-3 oz of dense protein (chicken, beef, or pork would work well in this dish).