Eggplant Parmesan is a tasty Italian dish that features our favorite violet-hued vegetable along with a fresh tomato sauce and two of Italy’s most famous cheeses: mozzarella and parmigiano. Unfortunately, despite this dish’s main ingredient being a vegetable, it’s easy to get carried away with the calories while making and eating the authentic recipe.
We decided to make a lower-calorie version that doesn’t involve breading the eggplant, allowing the fresh ingredients to speak for themselves. Next time you want to indulge, remember that you don’t necessarily have to, in terms of your meal plan; this baked eggplant parm is just as tasty as the original and is way better for you, so go ahead and try it!
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- 2 large eggplants
- 1 (28 oz.) can no-salt added whole tomatoes, with juices, chopped
- 1 (6 oz.) tube tomato paste
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 20 fresh basil leaves
- 2 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 400º F and lightly oil 2 baking sheets (or spray with non-stick spray).
- Rinse eggplant, pat dry and slice crosswise, into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place slices on baking sheet and brush with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake for 30 minutes, or until softened.
- Remove from oven and set aside. Lower oven temperature to 350º F.
- In a large saucepan, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat and cook garlic for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant.
- Add tomatoes, tomato paste, basil leaves, oregano, pepper and remaining salt, and cook until reduced and thickened. About 15 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce onto the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish and add a layer of baked eggplant. Top with another 1/2 cup of sauce and sprinkle liberally with mozzarella.
- Continue with another two layers of eggplant, sauce and cheese, and cover with remaining mozzarella and freshly grated Parmesan.
- Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.
- Remove from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Top with more cheese and fresh basil leaves.
Recipe adapted from Prevention