Eggplant parmesan or parmigiana as it is called in Italy is a popular dish for vegetarians to order while Italian dining. Layers of eggplant combined with cheese, tomato sauce and bread crumbs is delectable no doubt, but can be heavy owing to the amount of oil and cheese used in the dish. The eggplant may be deep fried or cooked in a lot of oil which makes the dish calorie heavy and is not ideal for people watching their diet.
This recipe is quick and simple with a minimum amount of fat and oil, yet big on flavor and does not feel like we are skimping on ingredients. You may reduce the amount of cheese if you want, but I think adding any less cheese than this would make the dish mostly eggplant and tomato sauce.
The bread crumbs give the dish an added crunch, which is optional and not adding will make the dish gluten free.
15-20 minutes to prepare eggplant, 15 minutes to prepare sauce
About 45- 50 minutes
- 2 medium size eggplants, cut into ½ “ thick roundels
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- For the sauce:
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 14.5 ounce can fire -roasted tomatoes
- 1 cup tomato sauce, see notes
- 2 tsp dried herb mix- oregano, basil, thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 ½ cup bread crumbs, optional
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 tbsp butter or olive oil to top the dish
- Fresh basil to serve
Brush sliced eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F and cook the eggplant spread on 2 baking sheets in a single layer for 15-18 minutes.
In a pan add 1 tsp olive oil, heat for 5 seconds and add the chopped garlic. Saute for a minute. Add the chopped tomatoes.
After the tomatoes are soft and softened add tomato sauce, fire roasted tomatoes and the dried herb mix. Cook the sauce for 5-8 minutes and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. Lightly brush a 9 by 9 pan with oil and start layering the elements. Spread a tbsp of prepared sauce at the bottom and place the oven cooked eggplant slices so it covers the whole pan.
Spread the sauce over the eggplant followed by mozzarella and parmesan and bread crumbs. Repeat 2 more layers the same – eggplant, sauce, cheese and bread crumbs.
Top with olive oil or butter and place in the preheated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Cool for 10-15 minutes, garnish with fresh basil. Cut into squares and serve with pasta or spaghetti.
If you don’t have tomato sauce you can use 1 cup tomato puree.
Make sure to season with salt and pepper as you go. Also don’t over do as cheese also has a good amount of salt content.
For the cheeses and bread crumbs eyeball and approximately divide among the 3 layers.
The famous proverb "you are what you eat” as quoted by the French author Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is very true. Food nourishes you from the inside out. Good health is of utmost importance to me. Vegetarianism and Veganism are gaining immense popularity these days. Natural, organic, healthy and homemade is my mantra.
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