Eggplant Parmesan for Carnivores

Eggplant parmesan

Eggplant parmesan is terrific with a Caesar salad.

We went to the farmer’s market in  Harrisonburg Saturday and the eggplants at our favorite organic farmer were beautiful so we bought one. I love Eggplant Parmesan. It’s the primary dish I use to evaluate any new Italian restaurant. I always think, “If the Eggplant Parmesan is very good, then most likely all the other dishes are outstanding as well.” This has proven true everytime.

Now about the carnivore part. Lois found tonight’s idea for a recipe in the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook. I started with that basic recipe but halved it for the two of us and made a few other variances. It called for Tomato Wine Sauce, another Moosewood recipe, and Lois had made copious quantities of this Red Sauce recently and had frozen some. To some of the sauce she added ground beef (and then, typical of Lois, she forgot the sauce in the freezer contained meat). If you use a vegetarian pasta sauce, this is, of course, a vegetarian meal.

So to keep prep time down I decided to use some of Lois’ frozen sauce. You guessed it: it was a meat sauce. Nevertheless this dish is outstanding combination of tomatoes and eggplant with cheese and spices, and it was delicious with the meat sauce. Try it and comment on your version of this Recipe Idea.

Serves 8

1 eggplant ( about a pound ) cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 to 1 cup egg substitute
pinch of salt
1 cup bread crumbs ( whole wheat if you have them otherwise whatever is on hand )
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese ( more or less to your taste )
1 large clove of garlic minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups Red Pasta Sauce ( homemade or good quality ready-made – see Idea paragraph )
1 cup non-fat or low-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup grated low-fat mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

Slice the eggplant and set aside. Mix the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic and basil in a dish suitable for coating the eggplant slices. Pour the egg substitute (which is mostly  egg white) into another dish. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg substitute to coat both sides. Then dip the eggplant into the bread-crumb mixture to cover both sides and place the slices on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes then turn them over and bake for another 20 minutes. When done, the eggplant should be crisp on the outside and easily pierced with a fork. Save the left-over egg substitute and bread crumb mixture.

When the eggplant has finished baking, assemble the meal in a suitable glass or other nonreactive baking dish into which the eggplant slices will fit in two layers. First spread about half the pasta sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Then layer in half the eggplant. Spread the ricotta cheese thinly (about 1/4 inch) over the eggplant slices. (I blended some of the residual egg substitute with the ricotta to make it more spreadable.) Sprinkle on 1/2 of the mozzarella. Add a second layer of eggplant, the balance of the pasta sauce, sprinkle with some of the bread crumbs then add the balance of the mozzarella on top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes; then cut into squares and serve with a Caesar salad.

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