Egg Plant Parmesan
First of all.... I have never cooked and or eaten eggplant until last night. Italian is one my guilty pleasures. I am all about some carbs people but sadly carbs don't love me. My mom and Honey always order eggplant parm when we go to Italian restaurants and I have always thought WHY ???? Get some lasagna or something with meat. I stumbled across this recipe on one of my go-to skinny websites for recipes Laaloosh, with a few changes to the original recipe I thought eggplant couldn't be that bad when it looks like lasagna.. am I right? Well, I decided to give it a go.... Y'all the hardest part of this is picking a good eggplant. Side note (I attempted this recipe last week and went to the store twice to get home a discover my eggplant was rotten.) This time I bought FOUR eggplants and the two I cut into were perfect. This is now one of my all-time favorite Italian recipes ... If it has made the blog then I promise it is worth making its way into your weekly dinner rotations. You won't miss the meat when you get the crunch of the roasted eggplant with the cheesy goodness and pasta sauce. Lasagna......... you have met your match.
2 medium-sized eggplants, sliced into ½” slices (Non-rotten eggplants are white and have seeds when sliced. Rotten eggplants are brown on the inside)
1/2 cup liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters)
2 cups panko
1 25oz jar prepared marinara or pasta sauce (I always use Wild Oats Organic or Prego Heart Smart 45 Cal per serving one)
1 cup Fresh basil leaves, chopped (If you don't have fresh basil used dried seasoning probably two TBS)
1 16oz container fat-free cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
4 slices Lite Provolone Cheese (I used Sargento 40 Cal)
1 tsp crushed red pepper (I only had ground cayenne so I used probably 3/4 of a Tsp)
1 tsp dried oregano
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets or three medium baking sheets with foil and coat with cooking spray.
The salting of the slices
Slice your two medium eggplants into slices and salt heavily and place in a big bowl and cover with a paper towel. Let the eggplant slices sit for 30-45 minutes until sweat beads have formed on the slices. This takes out all excess water and bitterness the eggplants might have. There is a lot of controversy on whether this step in neccessary. The original recipe did not call for it but after reading other recipes I think it helped my final product not be watery.
Once the eggplant slices sat covered for 45 minutes rise the slices and pat in a single layer between two sheets of paper towels to remove any excess water. YES this uses like twelve squares of your paper towel roll haha.
Breading and roasting of the slices
Place liquid egg substitute in one bowl, and the panko in another, shallow bowl. ( I would use one cup at a time because after like 7 slices being dipped in panko it starts clumping up. When it starts clumping dump the old panko and put in the second cup to keep it coating evenly)
Bread each eggplant slice by first dipping into the egg substitute, shaking off the excess, and then dipping in the panko.
Place eggplant slices onto baking sheets, place in oven and cook for about 30 minutes or until golden brown, flipping over once, halfway through cooking.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine cottage cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, basil, oregano, garlic, crushed red pepper, salt & pepper.
Roasted Eggplant after 3o min pictured above.
To assemble, spray a 8X8 inch baking dish with non-fat cooking spray. Spoon about ½ cup of the pasta sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Layer the eggplant slices to cover the bottom of the dish over the pasta sauce and top with ½ the cottage cheese mixture. Top with some pasta sauce then repeat layers again, but ending with the pasta sauce and then top with the four slices of provolone cheese.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes. Remove foil; top with shredded mozzarella, return to oven and bake for another 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese melts; let cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving. Cut evenly into 8 pieces.