Eggplant is an edible fruit that is widely used in a lot of dishes for its versatility but often falsely regarded as having no nutrients. Eggplant is actually considered a wonder fruit that packs a ton of nutrients which are beneficial to one’s health. It is a good source of vitamins A, B, and C, calcium, phosphorus, iron, carbohydrates, and fiber. There are also researches that eggplant may be used to treat cancer. Eggplant, like mushroom, is one of those go-to ingredients used in many vegan dishes. It is very fleshy and easy to handle. No need to peel nor deseed. Just remove the stem and slice away. Its flesh absorbs flavor really well. It can be grilled, fried, baked, sauteed or added to soups and stews. The more popular version of this dish uses chicken. This one uses eggplant which is baked and not fried so you skip the excess oil. Healthy enough without sacrificing the taste.
• 2 eggplants, about 1 lb each, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
• 3 cups of fresh homemade tomato sauce
• 3 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese
• 1 1/2 cup of part skim ricotta cheese
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1/2 cup of parsley, chopped
• 4 oz. of fresh mozzarella, diced
• 2 tsp. of garlic powder
• 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
• Olive oil cooking spray
• Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 400° F.
Lightly salt each side of the eggplant slices and put them in a colander to drain the excess moisture for about 30 minutes.
Lay the eggplants on a towel to absorb any extra moisture.
Put another towel right over the top and lightly pat the eggplants.
Spray your tray with olive oil cooking spray and lay the eggplants, leaving some space between them so they don’t end up steaming instead of roasting.
Season the eggplants on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they are tender and golden brown.
Remember to flip them half-way through the cooking process.
Prepare the ricotta filling by combining the ricotta cheese, egg, parsley, basil, a little salt and fresh ground black pepper in a bowl.
Mix them all together.
Pull the eggplant out from the oven and let them cool.
In a glass baking dish, pour half a cup of tomato sauce and spread it evenly to coat the entire bottom of the dish.
Layer the eggplant.
Spread half of the ricotta cheese feeling on top of the eggplants.
Sprinkle a tablespoon of the parmesan cheese.
Repeat the procedure to make another layer. Tomato sauce, eggplant, ricotta filling and parmesan cheese.
Spread the rest of the tomato sauce on top.
Finish with fresh diced mozzarella cheese and the remaining parmesan cheese.
Bake in the oven at 400° F for 30 minutes.
Ideas And Tips:
• Make sure that you let the dish cool off before slicing and serving to let the layers set.
• As a great make-ahead meal, you can assemble the dish ahead of time. Keep it in the fridge and just bake it when you’re ready.
• You may skip the mozzarella cheese to make the dish lighter.
images – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBeNQR9mo-Y