So, how do you take something as delicious and rich and fried as this and make it healthier? Well, you start by not frying it. Instead of breadcrumbs fried in olive oil, this recipe has a baked-on coating of steel-cut oats whirled to a fine crumb in a blender with minced garlic and a little bit of parmesan. The addition of more veggies, and switching out the full-fat cheese for a mixture of part-skim and non-fat cheeses (melts better than non-fat alone), results in a nice facsimile of a pretty great meal.
BAKED EGGPLANT PARMESAN STACKS
Oven 425 degrees Farenheit
8x8 baking pan, sprayed with cooking spray
Cookie sheet lined with foil. Spray foil.
Metal, oven-proof cooling rack placed over foil in cooking sheet. Spray cooling rack.
1 good-sized eggplant (how do you figure eggplant sizes?), peeled and sliced in 1/2-inch rounds. Peeled eggplant is a lot easier to eat than unpeeled - my personal preference. You'll need 8 rounds for this recipe. Save remaining eggplant for other dishes.
1 large egg white beaten with 4 tablespoons water
In blender, mix together the following until a fine crumb is formed:
- 1 cup steel-cut oats
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 red pepper, sliced in thin strips
- 1 sweet onion, cut in 1/8ths
- 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced (if you like mushrooms)
1 1/2 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Cheeses, mixed together:
- 1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella shreds
- 1/2 cup non-fat mozzarella shreds
- 4 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Put dish of egg white/water mixture on table, with dish of crumb mixture to the right of it, and prepared cookie sheet/rack to the right of that. Line them up for easy assembly-line.
Use your left hand ONLY for dipping eggplant slices, both sides, in egg white mixture. Drop into crumb mixture. Use your right hand ONLY for spreading crumbs on both sides of dipped eggplant slices. Placed crumbed slices on rack on cookie sheet. When all slices are in place. Spray tops with a spritz of cooking spray. Flip over and spray other side.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 22 minutes OR until crumbs are beginning to brown nicely. Remove from oven.
While the eggplant is baking, sauté veggies in olive oil over medium heat until softened and wilted.
Spread a couple of tablespoons sauce over bottom of baking dish. Arrange 4 slices breaded eggplant to fit bottom of dish. Spread a generous tablespoon of sauce over each slice. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cheeses over each. Spoon sauteed veggies over slices. Sprinkle another tablespoon cheeses over veggies, and top with remaining slices of eggplant. Generously spread remaining sauce over and between stacks of eggplant. Divide remaining cheese over the tops of the eggplant stacks.
Cover with a piece of foil that's been sprayed (inside surface) with cooking spray.
Bake at 425 degrees Farenheit for 1/2 an hour. Remove foil and let sit for a few minutes.