An eggplant Parmesan your waistline will love
A healthier eggplant Parmesan really is possible.
It may seem dubious. After all, this Sicilian comfort dish traditionally is made with breaded eggplant that’s fried in a lot of oil, then smothered in a blend of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and tomato sauce.
But by using a healthy oven “frying” technique and making a few other modifications, you can make an eggplant Parmesan that’s rich with flavor without using any oil at all.
In this lighter version of the classic, instead of being fried in oil, eggplant slices are dipped in egg whites and coated with a breadcrumb-cheese mixture before being baked until they are golden and tender.
Next, part-skim mozzarella cheese is used in place of whole milk mozzarella and the overall amount of cheese is reduced from about a pound to about 4 ounces.
The amount of the Parmesan cheese is cut as well, by about half. Make sure to use a high-quality cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano. It costs more, but its flavor is incomparable, so you’ll get the most bang for your buck (and calories).
Remember, fat equals flavor, so when you’re making lighter versions of a dish you’ll want to make sure all of your ingredients taste as good as possible.
This recipe calls for jarred marinara, but using homemade only improves the results.
Eggplant Parmesan Light is melt-in-your mouth good with about a tenth of the fat of the original. To complete the meal, add a green salad simply dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar, plus a piece of crusty Italian bread.
Eggplant Parmesan Light
Start to finish: 1 hour 25 minutes (55 minutes active)
2 eggplants (about 2 pounds total)
3 large egg whites
3 tablespoons water
1 cup plain fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided (1 ounce)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce
1/3 cup slivered fresh basil leavers or 1 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided (4 ounces)
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly oil two large baking sheets and a 7-by-11-inch baking dish. Set aside.
2. Slice the eggplants crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. There is no need to peel them. Set aside.
3. In a bowl, whisk the egg whites and water until frothy. Set aside.
4. In a shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
5. One at a time, dip the eggplant slices into the egg-white mixture, then coat both sides with the breadcrumbs. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and very tender when pierced with a knife.
6. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the marinara, basil and red pepper flakes. Spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
7. When the eggplant are done, arrange half of the slices over the sauce, overlapping them slightly. Spoon 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the eggplant, then top with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella.
8. Arrange the remaining eggplant slices on top, pressing them down into an even layer. Top with the remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake, uncovered, until the sauce bubbles and the top is browned, 25 to 30 minutes.
Nutrition information per serving: 291 calories; 11 g fat (4 g saturated); 14 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrate; 13 g protein; 4 g fiber; 862 mg sodium.