Saturday, February 12, 2011

Adventures With Eggplant

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Eggplant is one of those vegetables I've never cooked with, so I decided to take the plunge this week. I love this recipe for Eggplant Parmesan, its so flavorful and still really healthy since the eggplant is baked and not fried.

The original recipe called for their version of a marinara sauce, but I decided to substitute my own. It has become a household favorite around here, packed with tons of veggies and great flavor. I've never actually written it down, so here goes!

Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients (Eggplant)
- 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 3 egg whites (lightly beaten)
- 1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds)

Ingredients (Sauce)
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 2 carrots (shredded)
- 1 medium-sized zucchini (shredded)
- 1 cup rough-chopped mushrooms
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper
- basil
- oregano
- 1/4 cup Parmesan
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese


Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease two 13x9 baking pans and set aside. Slice eggplant in 1/2 inch rounds. Mix together Panko, Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper in a pie plate and whisk together egg whites in a second pie plate.

2. Dip each slice of eggplant into the egg whites and then into the Panko mixture, being sure to coat them well on both sides. Place the eggplant on the prepared baking pan and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes until browned and tender.

3. While the eggplant is baking, make the sauce. Heat about 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan, then add in the chopped onion - cooking until softened. Then add in the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Next add in the basil and oregano, being sure to coat the onion and garlic well before adding in the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms cook down for about 5 minutes, then add in the shredded carrots and zucchini.

4. Add in 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and cook down until the veggies are softened. Then add in the tomatoes and sauce. Bring to a boil, then turn it down on low and simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Take the sauce off the heat and use an immersion blender to blend into a chunky tomato sauce, then stir in the Parmesan cheese and let the sauce simmer on low.

6. Overlap the slices of eggplant on a baking pan and coat well with the sauce, then sprinkle the Mozzarella over the entire dish and bake 10 minutes until the cheese is starting to brown and get bubbly. Serve with a side of pasta and the rest of the sauce.

I served it up with a side of steamed broccoli - it was delicious!

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