Is there a healthy eggplant parmesan recipe that actually tastes good?
My favorite dish to make is eggplant parmesan but I cannot, with a conscience make it the way I used to in the past. It was delicious recipe for eggplant but WAY TOO FATTY. For the longest time I really thought this was the only way to make eggplant but I discovered other ways that are budget friendly, easy eggplant recipes that are kind to your waistline.
But first before you start cooking - know how to pick your eggplant!!
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
When selecting eggplant choose ones that are firm and free of bruising. Also look at the navel of the eggplant and you’ll notice they have 2 different shapes. One being a circle and the other being a slit or oval shape. Some say this what tells the difference between the “male” and “female” eggplant – but eggplant is a fruit and there is not a difference in sexes. But, for some reason the “male” eggplant seems to have less seeds which gives it a milder flavor. I have never failed with this approach and people always ask me how I get my eggplant to taste so good. This has always been my secret!!
As for storage, keep the eggplant in a plastic bag and store it in the crisper drawer in your refrigerator. It should stay for a few days before it starts to get soggy.
PREPARATION AND COOKING TIPS:
You can eat the eggplant with the skin or without. If it’s a baby eggplant or smaller in size then the skin texture is tender but if the eggplant is too big then the skin texture is chewy.
Eggplant can be roasted, baked or steamed. To test for readiness your fork should easily pass through it.
Other summer squashes or Portabello Mushrooms
The real eggplant parmesan takes a year and a day to make. I used to make it for big family get togethers' because EVERYONE loved it. I used an old family recipe to make eggplant parmesan. I can’t even say it was a recipe – it was just the way we made it in my “Big, Fat Italian Family”.
First we started with making the marinara sauce using cans of crushed tomatoes and plum tomatoes – seasoned to perfection.
Then we sliced the eggplant quite thin – maybe less than ¼’ it seemed. The slices were dipped in egg then in breadcrumbs and then fried to tasty crisp.
The fried eggplant slices drained on layers of paper towels to soak up all the oil then the slices were placed in a pan layered with sauce and mozzarella cheese.
The process is repeated until it was about 6 layers thick and then baked for about 30-45 minutes until cooked through and cheese was bubbly and stringy.
This is not an easy recipe for eggplant parmesan – it can take 3-4 hours to make!
Plus it’s expensive….it would cost $30-$40 minimum to make a tray – not very budget friendly!!!
Sounds REAL HEALTHY!!!! NOT!!!!
So even though I do make it like this now and again….and believe me it’s a BIG HIT because it is DELICIOUS it definitely is not wise to make it this way often since it is very high in calories.
I don’t have the time and I don’t always want to spend all that money on a dinner plus I want to feel good about what I am eating.
Here is a much kinder version that won’t hit you hard in the waistline or the wallet.
In this healthy eggplant parmesan recipe I do use a jarred sauce. I know, I know…..I should be promoting CLEAN EATING and we should all make everything from scratch. But let’s be real…..when we are in a time crunch or a budget crunch there are times when it makes sense to bend the rules a bit. Ithink the health benefits of eating an eggplant which is high in phytonutrients outweighs the jarred factor of the tomato sauce. Just be sure to choose a sauce that is basic in ingredients and does not have the big “no-no’s” in the ingredient list. No high fructose corn syrup!!!
Also, jarred marinara sauce can cost ½ what it costs to make a sauce from scratch. Now by ALL MEANS make your sauce from scratch when you have the time – but if you are in a pinch – these jarred sauces can suffice especially when they are modified a bit.
use Emeril’s sauces or Newman’s Own sauces.
They are budget friendly and healthy friendly.
**You can use the jarred sauce as it…..but I like to alter the taste a bit using the optional ingredients as seen below. I have done it both ways.
For the Sauce:
For the EGGPLANT:
You can add some low fat mozzarella if you choose….but my husband does not like mozzarella and neither does my waistline so I abstain from using it.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, covered at 350 degrees.