Healthier Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is a popular Italian dish in which slices of eggplant are typically dipped in egg, rolled in bread crumbs and fried in oil, before being combined with tomato sauce, spices, and cheeses, then baked. In this recipe for Healthier Eggplant Parmesan, slices of eggplant are dipped in milk, then rolled in a mixture of bread crumbs and wheat germ, combined with tomato sauce and cheeses, then baked. The wheat germ has a somewhat nutty taste which enhances the flavor of the bread crumbs.

Eggplant has a spongy texture which is absorbent and when fried eggplant soaks up a lot of oil. When eggplant slices are baked instead of fried, Eggplant Parmesan becomes lighter as well as lower in fat.

In many recipes, eggplant fulfils the role of being a complementary ingredient that balances the surrounding flavors of the more pronounced ingredients. Eggplant holds an esteemed place in the cuisines of Italy, Greece, Turkey and France.

Some Eggplant Facts

Eggplant is called “aubergine” in France and in British English. Eggplants are the edible fruit of the Nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, sweet potatoes and potatoes. It has long been prized for its deeply purple, glossy beauty and its unique taste and texture. Eggplants are available in markets year round but are best from August through October when they are “in season.” Eggplant is available in several colors and sizes in addition to the traditional purple variety. Leading growers of eggplant include Italy, Turkey, Egypt, China and Japan. 

Eggplant offers some good nutrition, too. One cup of eggplant contains only 35 calories and they have a low glycemic index. Phytonutrients, many of which have anti-oxidant activity, are found in eggplant. Also found in eggplant are dietary fiber, vitamin B-1, vitamin B-6, copper, manganese, niacin, potassium, folate and vitamin K.

Choose eggplants that are firm and heavy for their size. Their skin should be smooth and shiny, and their color vivid. Eggplant should be free of discoloration, scars and bruises, which usually indicate the flesh beneath has become damaged or possibly decayed.

To test for ripeness, gently press the skin with your thumb. If it springs back, the eggplant is ripe, if an indentation remains, it is not. Eggplants are very perishable and should be stored with care. Don’t cut eggplant until you’re ready to use it. Store in the refrigerator. Wash eggplant before using and cut off the ends. Eggplant can be eaten with or without the skin. If the skin is tough, as is sometimes the case with a large eggplant or one of the white variety, peel the skin before cutting the eggplant.

The Recipe for Healthier Eggplant Parmesan

Healthier Eggplant Parmesan
Serves 8
A lighter, healthier version of traditional Eggplant Parmesan which features baked eggplant slices instead of fried.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large eggplant
  2. 3/4 cup milk
  3. 2 cups fine bread crumbs or wheat germ or a combination of the two
  4. 1 teaspoon basil
  5. 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  6. 48 oz. bottled Spaghetti Sauce (or use your own Italian Tomato Sauce)
  7. 1 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
  8. 1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  9. 16 oz. Ricotta cheese (whole or part-skim milk)
  10. 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Oil two baking pans or use pan spray.
  2. Slice eggplant into 1/2" thick slices. Place the milk in a shallow bowl. Combine bread crumbs and wheat germ (if using), basil and Italian seasoning. Dip each eggplant slice into the milk, then roll in the crumbs. Spread the coated slices of eggplant on the baking pans and bake until tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Use pan spray or oil a 9" x 13" pan. Ladle some spaghetti or tomato sauce into the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add a layer of eggplant slices and cover with more sauce. Sprinkle some mozzarella over the sauce, then repeat the with a layer of eggplant slices and tomato sauce.
  5. In a bowl, mix together 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese and egg. Spread mixture on top of tomato sauce. Sprinkle on remaining mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees F. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. Fresh basil may be added to the topping mixture and/or the crumb mixture for additional flavor.
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

 I hope you enjoy this healthier version of Eggplant Parmesan! Make some soon for your family!

Remember to Savor the Flavor!

Janet

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Comments

Eggplant Parmesan – A Healthier Version — 38 Comments

  1. I love eggplant, and this recipe looks so lish and yes, healthier than some! Thanks!
    –G
    http://gingerwroot.com

  2. I love eggplant – and this looks succulent, cheesy and delicious! Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner Link up!

  3. Hi Ginger, Thanks for your kind comments and for your visit! Hope you enjoy this recipe! Blessings, Janet

  4. Hi Helen, I hope you get to try this recipe soon. It is yummy! Thanks for hosting What’s for Dinner! Blessings, Janet

  5. I have made spaghetti squash parmesan, but haven’t attempted it with eggplant. This looks so yummy!

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

  6. I’ve never tried eggplant, but I’ve heard it’s good. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  7. Hi Samantha, This would be a good recipe to try if you’ve never eaten eggplant before. Thanks for your comments and for your visit! Blessings, Janet

  8. Hi Carrie, I bet the spaghetti squash parmesan is similar to the one made with eggplant. Thanks for your comments and visit. Blessings, Janet

  9. I like the baked eggplant idea instead of fried.Thanks for linking up to Merry Monday! Pinned! Have a great week!
    Kim

  10. Pinning. My husband loves this stuff and we certainly need a healthier version.
    ? gwingal

  11. This looks like a great recipe! Thanks so much for sharing it with us at Share The Wealth Sunday!

  12. Hi Kim, Baked eggplant is much lighter than the fried version! Thanks for your kind comments and for hosting Merry Monday! Blessings, Janet

  13. Hi Nikki, I hope you and your husband enjoy this healthier version of Eggplant Parmesan! Thanks for pinning and for stopping by! Blessings, Janet

  14. I love this recipe, Janet! Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite meals, and I am glad you shared a way to make it healthier! Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week ?

  15. Eggplant parm is a regular dish in our home. I use to fry it in oil but I have begun baking it instead. I honestly like it better fried, but for health reasons I am trying to enjoy it baked.

  16. Hi Michelle, I hope you’ll try this version of baked eggplant for the eggplant parmesan if you have a chance. I think you might like it. Thanks for your comments and for hosting Party at My Place! Blessings, Janet

  17. Hi Kelly, I hope you like this recipe – I really like it and my husband (who prefers anything fried!) even likes it! Thank you for your comments and for hosting #SocialButterflySunday! See you Sunday! Blessings, Janet

  18. This lighter version sounds wonderful!! I always disliked that it can be so difficult to cook the eggplant without it absorbing too much oil, but you’ve solved that! Thanks for sharing this week with us at Fiesta Friday and Throwback Thursday!!

    Mollie

  19. One of my favorite dishes! Thanks for sharing at the Sunday Fitness & Food Link-Up ?

  20. Hi Angela, I hope you like this version of Eggplant Parmesan! Thanks for your comments and for hosting Sunday Fitness & Food Link-up! Blessings, Janet

  21. Hi Mollie, Thanks for your comments & I hope you get to try this lighter version of Eggplant Parmesan soon! I saw your recipe for Lemon Pie, which looked divine! Blessings, Janet

  22. I love eggplant and this is right up my alley. Thank you for bringing this simple yet delicious dish to Fiesta Friday!

  23. We love a great Eggplant Parm and your recipe looks delicious! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend!
    Miz Helen

  24. Hi Miz Helen, Thanks for your kind comments and your visit! Hope you get a chance to try this Eggplant Parm! Blessings, Janet

  25. I love anything eggplant! This looks so good! Love that you used ricotta cheese. Thanks for sharing the recipe and some facts about eggplants. ?

  26. Hi Jhuls, Thanks for all your kind comments and for visiting! Hope you get a chance to try this version of Eggplant Parm soon! Blessings, Janet

  27. Thanks for sharing on Let’s Get Real Friday Party. #LetGetRealSocial. I am looking forward to eggplant coming into season soon.

  28. This looks and sounds absolutely delicious and so healthy! Thanks so much for sharing on the Healthy Living Link Party ? We hope to see you back tonight!

  29. Thanks for the kind comments and for hosting the Healthy Living Link Party! I’ll see you again this week! Blessings, Janet

  30. Janet, love this healthier version of the traditional eggplant Parmesan! Thanks for sharing. Saving the recipe!

  31. Hi Suchitra, Glad you like this recipe and are saving it! Hope you enjoy it when you make it! Thanks for your comments and your visit! Blessings, Janet

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