Okay so I am not saying this is the healthiest thing you will ever eat but it is definitely a healthier twist on the classic eggplant parmigiana, and it’s still totally delicious.
Instead of frying the eggplant I baked it, and I used a mix of light cheeses and ricotta so you still get that cheesy satisfaction without the extra calories. I also threw in some silverbeet, which adds a little bit of extra nutrition, what with leafy greens being nature’s superfood and all.
This dish is a great vegetarian main, just add a leafy salad. It’s also a lovely warm side with grilled meats and a bit of crusty bread.
Healthier eggplant parmigiana
1kg eggplant, peeled, cut into 1cm slices
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion (red or brown is fine), finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
800g can diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato passata
2 teaspoons caster sugar (optional. I find it takes the sour edge off the tomatoes)
2 cups finely sliced silverbeet
3/4 cup plain flour (any will do, I used spelt)
2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
olive oil spray
1 cup fresh basil leaves
350g low fat ricotta cheese
1 cup grated light mozzarella cheese
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Toss the eggplant with salt and place in a colander over the sink for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion, garlic and chilli for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Add the tomatoes, passata and sugar. Season to taste. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir through the silverbeet. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 220°C (fan-forced). Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
Combine the flour and mixed herbs in a bowl. Drain the eggplant on paper towel. Dip the eggplant in the flour, shake to remove any excess. Place on prepared trays. Spray with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for a further 10-12 minutes or until golden. Set aside.
Reduce oven to 180°C (fan-forced). Line a large baking dish with baking paper.
Spread 1/4 of the tomato sauce on the base of the dish. Top with 1/3 of the eggplant. Spread with another 1/4 of the sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the basil and cheeses. Repeat with remaining ingredients, finishing with cheese on top.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling.
Serves 6-8 as a side or 4-6 as a main