A friend of mine was telling me recently that eggplant parmesan is one of her favorite foods…but she only makes it once a year. Why? Too much work! Slicing, breading, frying…it’s quite a labor intensive dish. (And usually not the healthiest one, either.)
But, no need to fear! Eggplant parmesan can be really quickly, easily…and, yes, healthfully prepared. The secret is not to fry the eggplant and to leave out the breadcrumbs…instead, just broil the eggplant! Another time saver: slice the eggplant lengthwise instead of into circles. Finally, I don’t bother to salt the eggplant in advance–this doesn’t seem to add to the flavor. Bottom line: no smell, no standing over the frying pan, no burning oil, no scrubbing caked-on greasy bits when you are done. Not only is it easier, but healthier to avoid frying. I also love how broiling eggplant brings out a smoky eggplant taste (it reminds me of baba ganoush).
Here’s a healthy, easy eggplant parm’ recipe for you, with a bunch of variations to make it interesting.
No-Fry Eggplant Parmesan
1 jar tomato sauce
1 16 oz. package shredded mozzarella
1-2 handfuls of minced basil for flavor and garnish (optional)
(Feel free to halve the ingredients if you only have one eggplant.)
1. Turn on your broiler (I put it on the high setting).
2. Cut eggplant lengthwise, in half. Slice each of the halves lengthwise, into approx. 1/4-1/8″ slices. (No need to make these slices too thin: I like them thick because I love the taste of roasted eggplant, I don’t want to hide it in cheese and sauce!). If you prefer slicing the eggplant into circles, then go ahead!
3. Drizzle baking pan(s) or cookie sheet(s) with olive oil. Place eggplant slices in one layer in pan or on sheet. Drizzle eggplants with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Put into oven and broil for 10-12 minutes. Take eggplants out when they are tender and browning, but not dried (then you left them in for too long).
4. Spray/drizzle bottom of lasagna dish with olive oil. (If you used a baking pan in the previous step, then you can now use it to make the lasagna!) Layer eggplant, tomato sauce, cheese and basil; repeat for 2-3 layers or until ingredients are used. End with garnish on top.
1. Mediterranean style: instead of basil, used parsley and/or dill. Instead of mozzarella, used feta.
2. Zucchini parmesan: use zucchini or summer squash instead of eggplant. Follow directions, exactly. Yummy variety.
3. Zucchini-eggplant parmesan: use zucchini and eggplant!
4. Use fresh, diced tomatoes in addition to or instead of tomato sauce.
5. Use fresh, sliced mozzarella instead of shredded.
Photo Credit (1st photo): seriouseats. Silly me, when I made this last I forgot to take a photo of the finished product…by which I really mean, my family devoured the dish before I could think twice. But, my parm looked almost as nice as this one. 🙂