By: Sue Anganes
Eggplant is a food that people either love or hate. In my family about half of us love it. Since my husband is one of the haters, I usually make it when he is away traveling for his job.
I have finally created a method to prepare it in such a fast, easy way that it’s now a regular side dish to our go-to spaghetti and sauce dinner. It’s amazing to think that something so tasty can also be so healthy and low in calories. One cup of uncooked, cubed eggplant (approximately 3 oz) is only 20 calories. Compare that to a 3 oz steak which is 214 calories. Usually when someone makes baked eggplant Parmesan, they fry and bread the eggplant first. That takes a lot of time and the eggplant also soaks up a lot of oil, which results in a lot of consumed calories. Why take all that time and consume all those calories when you can do it the easy way, which also tastes great? Also, not breading the eggplant makes it an easy gluten free meal, and in my case, something my gluten free daughter can enjoy too!
Here’s my recipe:
1 Large Eggplant (I use two, but I make it for seven people, plus, I love leftovers)
Spaghetti Sauce – homemade meat sauce or traditional tomato sauce is fine.
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (optional)
First wash and cut off the stem of the eggplant. Slice the eggplant into approximately 3/4 inch thick slices. Put a layer of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish to coat the dish. Arrange one layer of eggplant slices on the bottom of the pan. Drizzle a little olive oil over the slices and then add another thin layer of sauce. Repeat the process until you have used up all the eggplant slices. I usually end up with about three layers of eggplant depending on the size of the baking dish and the number of eggplants.
I sprinkle the top layer of eggplant with the grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and some salt and pepper to taste. You can also top the eggplant with mozzarella cheese if you wish. I actually like it better without.
Bake the eggplant in a covered dish at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling. The eggplant should be soft if poked with a fork but not mushy. Take the cover off for the last five minutes to let it brown.
Serve it with pasta or by itself with a fresh loaf of Italian bread.