Quarantine Cooking: No-Fry Eggplant Parmesan

There are plenty of reasons to feel stressed out right now, but cooking shouldn’t be one of them. Whether you’re experienced in the kitchen or not, now is a great time to experiment with different recipes or learn new techniques. Get creative with the items you have in your pantry, and make mistakes. There’s not much to lose – it’s not like you have any dinner guests to impress.

One dish I’ve been experimenting with recently is Eggplant Parmesan. Nourishing, hearty and comforting, this meal encompasses everything I’m craving these days. The beauty of Eggplant Parm is in its adaptability. All you really need is eggplant, tomatoes and cheese. The rest (seasoning, breading, fresh tomatoes vs. canned) is completely up to you. Now, traditionally, the eggplant is breaded and fried before being assembled and popped in the oven. Speaking from experience, though, this method is quite time-consuming, and also an easy way to set off the smoke alarm if you’re not careful. Baking the eggplant rounds instead of pan-frying them is not only less of a hassle, but it’s much healthier. Fried eggplant soaks up lots of oil, which of course makes it delicious, but also highly caloric. Since the dish is already on the richer side, I prefer this lighter, baked version. Enjoy!

No-Fry Eggplant Parmesan

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients
2 large eggplants
– Olive oil
– 1?2 yellow onion, chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 28 oz can diced/crushed plum tomatoes – 1?2 cup red wine
– Fresh basil
– 4 oz mozzarella cheese
– 1?2 cup grated parmesan cheese
– Salt and pepper

Directions

1. Slice eggplant into 1?2 inch rounds. Place in an even layer on baking sheets and drizzle both sides with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Add 1 tbsp olive oil and cook onions in a saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add tomatoes and wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. Add chopped basil.

3. Layer the parm: Spread one layer of eggplant in a baking dish. Add a layer of sauce, followed by a layer of torn mozzarella cheese. Continue to layer until all eggplant is used. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan.

4. Bake for another 20 minutes until cheese is bubbling. Top with fresh basil.

About Jean Hanks (8 Articles)
Jean Hanks is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, passionate runner and lover of all things food. Jean grew up in Brooklyn, New York and attended Brooklyn Technical High School, where a mandatory health class sparked her interest in nutrition. She went on to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in sociology (with a minor in dance) from Tulane University in New Orleans, and then a Masters of Science in nutrition from Hunter College in New York City. While attending grad school, Jean wrote for the Jewish Daily Forward as the Food Intern, commenting on food news, reviewing cookbooks, and posting original recipes to the publication’s website. Jean is now the lead dietitian at Bethany Medical Clinic of NY, where she provides nutrition counseling to busy New Yorkers. She has run eight half marathons and made her marathon debut in Philadelphia in November 2018. You can often find Jean in the kitchen, cooking, with a glass of red wine. Feel free to contact Jean with any nutrition-related questions at jhanks3181@gmail.com.