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The Lighter Side of Eggplant Parm

“I love to make eggplant parm, but it can be a rather heavy dish,” said Food Sharing Network contributor Rose Ellen Lorber-Termaat. So I decided to lighten up this recipe by baking the eggplant instead of frying it and using a light marinara-type sauce. It’s still the real deal, but with a lot less guilt!

The Lighter Side of Eggplant Parm

Baking the eggplant instead of frying it means less mess and fewer calories, but not less flavor.

Baking the eggplant instead of frying it means less mess and fewer calories, but not less flavor.

The Basics (Sauce):

2 14.5-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce

1 yellow onion

3 cloves garlic

Olive oil

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. crushed basil

½ tsp. parsley

½ tsp. rosemary

½ tsp. thyme

¼ cup brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup red wine

Chop onions and dice garlic.

Sauté over low heat until onions are translucent and garlic begins to brown.

Add rest of ingredients and cook over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes.

The Basics (Eggplant):

3 large eggplants, approximately 8 to 10 inches long

3 cups Panko or regular unseasoned bread crumbs

2 eggs

1 cup 2% milk

1 tbsp. Italian seasoning

Salt

Spray oil

1 large ball fresh mozzarella (1 to 1½ lb)

1 16-ounce package shredded mozzarella

***The night before, peel eggplants and slice thin (1/3 to 1/2 inch thick). Place in shallow pan and salt liberally. Place a second smaller pan on top and weight down with cans. Place pan in refrigerator, and let sit overnight. This will take a lot of the water out of the eggplant and keep the vegetable from tasting bitter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

When you are ready to prepare this dish, drain excess water from the eggplant, rinse the slices well and pat dry.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and Italian seasoning. Set aside. In a second bowl or a large plate, place your breadcrumbs.

Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with spray oil. Dunk your eggplant slices in the egg/milk mixture and dredge them in the breadcrumbs.

Place the eggplant on the baking sheets and bake until golden brown on both sides. Note: flipping is required!!!

Cut fresh mozzarella into small chunks. In a large lasagna pan (or two pans) place some of your sauce on the bottom. Place your first layer of eggplant slices on the sauce and lightly cover with more sauce. Sprinkle this layer with some of the fresh mozzarella and shredded mozzarella. Repeat process until you use all eggplant and cheese.

Bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, uncovered, until cheese is golden and bubbly. Let sit at room temp for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

Taste alert: This dish freezes well and tastes great reheated too!

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