Although eggplant is often considered to be a vegetable, it is actually a berry by botanical definition. I know, I know; I don’t get it either. Health-wise, it’s got a lot going for it. According to naturalremediescenter.com, ” It is said that eggplant may have effects in preventing and treating high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. Eggplant is rich in phenols which may inhibit an enzyme tied to high blood pressure. Thus eggplant may do your body some favors in lower high blood pressure.” And it tastes great. So what’s to lose?
This recipe is a meatless dish so if you are the kind of person who opts for a soybean-based burger rather than traditional beef, you can’t go wrong here.
- 1 large eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch rounds
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 12 oz. Marinara or tomato sauce of your choice
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil (add other herbs as desired)
- 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs, regular or your choice of flavor
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (more is fine)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (more is fine)
- Optional: hot sauce to taste, added to the tomato sauce
Eggplant Parmesan Preparation
- The first step is to “sweat” the eggplant rounds. Since eggplant absorbs so much water by itself, it is important to remove as much moisture from the rounds as possible. Do this by salting both sides and then placing them in a colander in the sink. Two colanders should work for one eggplant. Let them sweat for at least 2 hours. More is better; just like the rising you allocate for homemade bread.
- Rinse the salt off and press dry with paper towels.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Apply olive oil to a large baking sheet pan.
- Whisk the eggs in a small bowl.
- Spread some panko on a dish.
- One at a time, dredge the rounds in the egg, coat both sides liberally with panko, and arrange on the baking sheet.
- Bake 9 minutes, flip the rounds, bake another 9 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow them to cool.
- Lower oven temperature to 350°F.
- Stir the basil into the sauce.
- Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of an 8″ X 8″ Pyrex baking dish.
- Lay out a layer of rounds in the dish. Since they are round you can cut one up to fill the “gaps.”
- Sprinkle with both kinds of cheese; the amount is up to you.
- Top with another layer of rounds.
- Spread sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
- Keep layering in this fashion until you run out of rounds. The top layer should have sauce and cheese.
- Bake for 35 minutes.
That’s all there is to it! Of course, you can try different kinds of cheese. This really is a bonus if you are feeding picky kids. This no-fry eggplant Parmesan is very versatile for the adventurous cook. You might pair it with a Tuscan kale salad or homemade low-carb egg noodles.
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About the Author:
Kelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.