Eggplant Parm With Zero Regrets — Yes, Please!



1Photo: Courtesy of Cooking With Cakes.
Christine Fischer of Cooking with Cakes may not be a pro chef, but that doesn't mean she's a mere novice in the kitchen. The self-taught culinarian — who's all for healthy, accessible recipes — knows that succumbing to your five-day bacon craving does not make you weak. It just makes you human.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a really big fan of eggplant. It’s just such a wonderfully versatile veggie. Roast it, bake it, fry it — any way you have it, it’s totally delish. Slathering some eggplant caponata on crostini? I will be there. Ordering a side of babaganoush? Count me in. Did someone say eggplant rollatini?! I’ll take seven, please.

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And of all the ways you can prepare this deep purple prize, eggplant parm is definitely at the top of my list. But, the problem I find with most parms is that they are grossly overdone — too much breading, oil, and cheese, with not nearly enough of that delicious eggplant flavor shining through.

Always a problem solver, I decided I needed to right this eggplant wrong. I needed to make melanzane magic — a crunchy, saucy, cheesy delight that scaled back on the calories and let the eggplant be center stage.

So, I made skinny eggplant parmigiana.
2Photo: Courtesy of Cooking With Cakes.
Recently, things have been pretty hectic in my world. Between work, drinking, the blog, cooking, and...drinking, things get busy. Throw some engagement party planning into the mix and I have no free time. I haven’t even watched the Real Housewives of OC reunion yet. It’s that bad.

So, at the end of yet another crazy day, the last thing I need is to cook a super-involved meal. I’m impatient, ya know? And, trashy TV isn’t going to watch itself. So, when I decided to make this skinny eggplant parmigiana, I knew time was of the essence. It was after 8pm, I hadn’t started cooking, and I still had tons to do, like burn my retinas scrolling through Pinterest wedding boards, and blow my brains out mulling over the 33,000 different ways you can say, “We’re Engaged! Come get Wasted!” I live a very VIP life.

With time management in mind, I made sure to keep this skinny eggplant parmigiana simple and flavorful. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some garden-fresh eggplant, and let me just say —There’s nothing like fresh produce. If you’ve got a local farmers market in your neighborhood, buy from there whenever possible: The difference in quality is astounding! From the flavor to the texture, everything is better. Such was the case here, where a few panko crumbs and some low-fat mozzarella created one of the most mouth-watering eggplant parms I’ve ever had.

In sum — this baby delivers. Big time. It’s a tower of topsy-turvy tasty deliciousness! How could you not find time for that? Click through for the recipe!
3Photo: Courtesy of Cooking With Cakes.
Skinny Eggplant Parmigiana
Yield: four servings
Prep time: five min
Total time: 30 min

Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant
3/4 cup whole wheat panko crumbs
6 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 1/2 tbsp grated parmigiano reggiano
1 cup marinara sauce - approx.
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 tsp basil & oregano
Sea salt & coarse black peppercorn to taste
PAM cooking spray to grease

Directions
In small bowl combine panko crumbs, basil, oregano, and 1 tbsp parmigiano. In another bowl, whisk together egg and egg whites. Set aside.

Slice eggplant into 1-inch discs, then season with salt & pepper. Dredge slices in egg, then panko crumbs, before placing on well-greased baking sheet.

When all slices are prepared, bake eggplant at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Next, remove from oven and turn over each slice. With browned-side up, layer with mozzarella, marinara sauce, and remaining parmigiano. Return to oven for another 10 minutes until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbling.

When ready, layer slices atop a bed of marinara to create a tower. Immediately plate and serve.

Nutrition Information: Calories: 255 Fat: 12g Carbohydrates: 23g Protein: 17g