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Low-Calorie Eggplant Parmesan

August 31, 2010

Well last night was our fantasy football draft (my husband and I co-manage a team) and I am not so sure it is going to be a winning season.  Draft time fell right at dinner, so as a result food was not a priority.  We take competition very seriously in our house!  My husband fixed pre-marinated (shocking for us, I know) curry chicken and rice.  Thankfully I have a recipe left over from the weekend to share with you so have no fear!  Plus it is especially delicious so you are in luck.

Eggplant Parmesan   
Yields: 10 Servings

3 large Egg (lightly beaten, divided)
1 tablespoon Water
2 cup Whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated fresh, divided)
2 Eggplant (peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices, about 2 pounds)
Cooking spray
1/2 cup Fresh basil (torn)
1/2 teaspoon Crushed red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon Garlic (minced)
1/2 teaspoon Salt (divided)
1 16-ounce container Part-skim ricotta cheese
1 24-ounce jar Pasta sauce
8 ounce Mozzarella cheese (thinly sliced)
3/4 cup Fontina cheese (finely grated, 3 ounces)

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. To make eggplant, combine 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon water in a shallow dish. Combine panko and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano in a second shallow dish. Dip eggplant in egg mixture; dredge in panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere and shaking off excess. Place eggplant 1 inch apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes or until golden, turning once and rotating baking sheets after 15 minutes.
3. To make filling, combine basil and next 6 ingredients (through egg).
4. To assemble, spoon 1/2 cup pasta sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer half of eggplant slices over pasta sauce. Sprinkle eggplant with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Top with about 3/4 cup pasta sauce; spread half of ricotta mixture over sauce, and top with a third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup fontina. Repeat layers once, ending with about 1 cup pasta sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375F for 35 minutes. Remove foil; top with remaining third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup fontina. Bake at 375F for 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese melts; cool 10 minutes.

*Notes from experience: I really wish I had a photo to share of this meal because it came out beautifully, but unfortunately it was one of those rough nights with my infant son and I didn’t even eat it when it came out of the oven, let alone have time to take pictures.  I am sure all you moms can relate!  I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed it when I did have time to sit down and eat. 

My husband took the lead on this dish, but the recipe is fairly straightforward.  I would not, however, place this in the quick and easy category.  When it was all said and done, it took about two hours to prepare.  The eggplant was so fresh that it made it worthwhile in the end.  I would recommend using this recipe only when you have more time to enjoy a few hours in the kitchen or when you are having guests over.  It was a great low-calorie version to standard eggplant parm (just over 300 calories per serving) and probably the best we’ve ever fixed.

We used regular panko bread crumbs since that is what we had on hand, although the recipe specifically calls for whole-wheat.  My understanding is that the whole-wheat helps the eggplant stay crisper, but I did not find the regular panko to negatively impact the taste or consistency.  Also, I cut the fontina from the recipe to lower the cost and used grated mozzarella.  Neither of these changes ruined the recipe, although I suspect the fontina makes it extra tasty!

By the sounds of it, we are much better at cooking than drafting.

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