Monday, February 18, 2013

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks (Baked, Not Fried!)

This recipe is one where I take a Favorite with a capital "F" food and modify it to fit with my new, healthier eating strategy. I have always loved eggplant parmesan, ever since that very first taste in Tina Loviza's kitchen back in the early '70s. Growing up in an Irish household, I had never had anything like it, and it's probably one of the first dishes that truly inspired my interest in cooking. Ever since then, if a restaurant menu offers eggplant parmesan, I usually order it! I've also made big pans of it for family parties over the years, always thinking of that first taste in Mrs. Loviza's kitchen!

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.

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.

Crumb coating:

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

Cooking spray


  • 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.

Serves 4.


  1. This looks so yummy! And the recipe is so easy. What perfect timing in terms of Lent. I will be making this for sure! Question, I don't like mushrooms. I was thinking of using a green pepper in its place. Is there something else that you would use or just go with out?

    1. Fran, green peppers would work, and I know mushrooms are not popular with everyone, so just leave them out. Really, any vegetable that you like could work well.

  2. Baked egg plant sure sounds easier than frying , and much better for you ! Another Jeanne inspired dinner will soon be cooked in mty house. CKJ

    1. Cindy, it is much easier than frying, and much less mess! To make up for some of that moisture that the oil would provide, I suggest having some sauce on the side I'd serve this with a big salad and the pasta won't even be missed!

  3. Jeannie, Tina will be honored that you appreciate her eggplant so much! I made a tray of it in January as a belated Christmas gift for our UPS driver Mike (eggplant parm is a favorite meal of his) and I didn't even get a taste. Eating healthier can be so hard at times, but when you find a recipe that works and satisfies those's the best feeling ever! I can't wait to try your eggplant parm stacks.

    1. What a great gift for your UPS driver! Such nice memories associated with this dish. Let me know if you make it, and how you like it! :)

  4. Just printed it and am going to make it soon. You know, you could always let me know what you're cooking for dinner and I'll follow you home. I'll have to stay over because I would never find my way home.

    1. Joanne, I never know what I'm cooking until I'm cooking it, it seems! Things have been very spontaneous in my kitchen lately, and I'm just catching these creations for my blog! : ) You are ALWAYS welcome to anything I'm dishing out!

  5. This looks really good. Maybe I will try it

    1. Try it Maureen - and make sure you have extra sauce on the side, since these are solid stacks (the oatmeal absorbs a lot of moisture). Thanks so much for the comment!