Meatless Monday: Eggplant Parmesan with Fresh Basil and Smoked Mozzarella
Sometimes, a new and improved version can be uh-mazing. (Just take Nicole Richie, for example. Girlfriend is the definition of fab!) Same goes for one of our old faves, Chicken Parmesan!
Now we all know that this dish can be a total calorie bomb, but luckily, today’s meal is getting a meatless makeover! This Eggplant Parmesan plate from “lindseytr0n” at Allrecipes.com has you tossing the chicken and piling on the greens. We know, we know, eggplant is probably not your go-to for a tasty Italian-inspired meal, but one bite of this delectable dish will have you daydreaming about the next time you can lay your hands (and mouth) on an eggplant!
And to boost the health factor even more, you can use whole-wheat or gluten-free pastas, which won’t skimp on the flavor but will add to the meal’s nutritional value. Use reduced-fat milk and cheese for an extra calorie-conscious meal!
1 large unpeeled purple eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or as needed
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs, or more as needed
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
1 (24-ounce) jar prepared marinara sauce (such as De Cecco)
1 bunch fresh basil, coarsley chopped
1 (8-ounce) package smoked mozzarella cheese, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Line a plate with a paper towel; place a layer of 2 or 3 slices of eggplant onto the towel. Sprinkle eggplant with sea salt. Repeat layers of eggplant sprinkled with salt until all eggplant slices are stacked. Place 2 paper towels onto the stack and place a plate on top of the towels. Lay a heavy book or can of food onto the plate to squeeze out moisture. Allow to drip for 20 minutes to 2 hours. Rinse and pat dry.
2. Beat eggs with milk in a shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs into a separate bowl. Dip eggplant slices in the egg mixture and gently press into the crumbs to coat; set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8-inch baking dish.
4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; fry eggplant slices in the hot oil in small batches until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
5. Pour about 1/4 cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish and arrange a layer of eggplant slices to cover the sauce. Scatter basil and a few slices of smoked mozzarella cheese over eggplant; repeat layers, ending with a layer of sauce on top. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.
6. Bake in the preheated oven until heated through and the cheese has melted, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Note: Let eggplant drain for at least 20 minutes; you can leave it up to 2 hours. It yields a crispy, creamy eggplant fritter, not a soggy one.
xx, The FabFitFun Team
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