Healing Kitchen

Eggplant Parmesan
The eggplant is the sponge of the vegetable world. The minute it encounters the oil that is used to cook it, in a skillet, or under the broiler, or on the grill, it soaks it all up and asks for more. The trick is to find out how to cook it so it ends up meltingly tender without also being loaded with fat. Eggplant Parmesan is the perfect testing ground for working this out. In a traditional eggplant Parmesan, slices of eggplant are coated in a egg and breadcrumbs or in an egg-based batter before being pan-fried in lots of olive oil (the classic recipe calls for 2/3 cup). Then these slices are layered into a casserole and covered with mountains of cheese. before being topped with loads of cheese.

Our solution to this was to bake the eggplant rather than fry it, though we stuck with the traditional egg (in our case, egg white) and bread crumb coating. Instead of cooking the eggplant in 2/3 cup oil, we used only 2 tablespoons. Even though the calories have dropped by more than half and the fat has been reduced by a whopping 77% we think you'll find that the dish still feels quite generous.

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The Ingredients

     2 egg whites  1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4"-thick slices  1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs  2 tablespoons olive oil  2 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce  1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped with their juice  1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried  1/4 teaspoon salt  1/2 teaspoon black pepper  1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)  1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese  
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a shallow dish, beat the egg whites and 2 tablespoons of water until foamy. Dip eggplant into egg whites, then into bread crumbs, pressing crumbs into eggplant.

3. Place eggplant on prepared baking sheet and drizzle oil over eggplant slices. Bake 30 minutes, turning eggplant over after 20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

4. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, stir together tomato sauce, tomatoes and their juice, basil, salt, and pepper. Spoon 3 tablespoons of tomato mixture into bottom of 9" square glass baking dish. Place half of eggplant over sauce, spoon half of remaining tomato mixture over, and sprinkle half of mozzarella on top. Repeat with remaining eggplant, tomato mixture, and mozzarella.

5. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and bake for 20 minutes, or until eggplant is piping hot and sauce is bubbly. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 301 calories, 14g total fat, 5.2g saturated fat, 7.2g monounsaturated fat, 1.1g polyunsaturated fat, 6g dietary fiber, 16g protein, 30g carbohydrate, 21mg cholesterol, 643mg sodium
Good source of: calcium, potassium, lycopene

Author: the Healing Kitchen staff
Date Published: 01/24/2001
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