Delicious might not be the first word that comes to mind when you hear the words: big, purple, mushy, sponge. These words are commonly used to describe an… eggplant! Eggplants are weird, everybody knows it. What everybody doesn’t know is that they are also totally delicious. Sometimes people find this veggie to be too intimidating and strange to even give a chance. I used to be one of those people, but man am I glad I’ve crossed over into eggplant land.
Eggplant parmesan is often the gateway dish for eggplant noobs. It’s dunked in breadcrumbs, slathered in sauce, covered in cheese, and it is darn delicious. It’s also pretty darn bad for you. Bummer, right? Well, have no fear! I have created a much lighter version of eggplant parm that is still totally yummy and satisfying.
So, how do you create a healthier eggplant parmesan? It’s simple – choose healthier ingredients and omit what you can. Typically an eggplant parm recipe would call for some type of bread crumb, and lots and lots of ooey-gooey mozzarella cheese in addition to the parmesan. Instead of using breadcrumbs, try substituting almond flour or almond meal. They will provide a delicious crunch and flavor without the guilt! Next, nix the extra cheese. Yes, cheese is delicious and makes everything better, but it’s also full of fat and calories, and isn’t super great for your body. In this recipe, I omit the extra ooey-gooey cheese, but keep the parmesan around. It’s also important to be weary of the sauce you choose to use. A lot of canned or jarred sauces have extra ingredients like sugar or cheese. Try to avoid those and instead choose sauces with cleaner ingredients.
Healthier Eggplant Parmesan
A lighter take on classic eggplant parmesan
- 1 large eggplant (cut into 3/4 inch rounds)
- 2 tbsp coarse salt
- 2-3 eggs
- 1/3 cup almond flour or almond meal
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 24 oz tomato-basil sauce
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- olive or avocado oil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Slice eggplant into 3/4 inch rounds.
- Place raw eggplant in a bowl and add 2 TBSP coarse salt, then toss. Let sit for 10 – 20 minutes. This allows the eggplant to expel excess water.
While the eggplant is sweating it out, whisk the eggs in a bowl and combine the almond meal, cayenne, salt and pepper in another bowl or plate.
- Once the eggplant has sat long enough to expel some water, coat the slices in the egg wash and then dip into the “breading”. Each slice should have a light coating of the mixture.
- Pan fry the slices on the stove top over medium heat – about 1-2 minutes per side.
- Remove pan-fried slices from the skillet and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
- In an oven safe dish, pour in the tomato-basil sauce and spread evenly across the bottom of the dish. Submerge the eggplant rounds into the sauce.
- Top the dish with 1/2 cup parmesan. Bake for 20-30 minutes until sauce is bubbly and parm topping has browned.
- You can spread the sauce on top of the rounds if you’d like, but I prefer to leave the tops exposed to keep the breading crunchy.
- Turn this dish into a meal by serving it with roasted veggies. If you’ve accumulated a bunch of veggies at home and would like to take a stab at making your own tomato sauce. Try this: Hidden Veggies Tomato Sauce
- If you’re looking for some other eggplant recipe options, check out some of my favorite recipes:
Happy Munching : )
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