I visited my parents in late June (to participate in the Helen Keller Festival Run) and Mom decided to make Eggplant Parmesan. She used a traditional recipe, with a few modifications—and it was quite tasty. With the modifications, it wasn’t too heavy for a hot summer evening. I returned home with an eggplant and decided to create my own version, with an even healthier twist. It’s more of a baked eggplant with tomatoes, herbs and Parmesan cheese. I loved it.
Here’s my version, which I’m calling Healthy Eggplant Parmesan, for lack of a more creative name:
Step One: Wash and slice an eggplant into 1/4″ thick slices. No need to peel the eggplant. I’m using the long, skinny kind of eggplant. But it will work just as well with a “fat” (round or pear-shaped) eggplant. Don’t worry if the slices aren’t exactly 1/4″. Just make sure they’re all approximately the same thickness, around 1/4.” Then arrange the slices in baking pan or dish. I sprayed my pan with nonstick Canola oil spray first. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the eggplant slices.
Step Two: I had a bunch of extra squash that I needed to use, so I also sliced some yellow squash and added to the pan. That’s not necessary. You can make this with or without squash. You could use zucchini, if desired.
Crumble about 3/4″ cup of bread crumbs. I make my bread crumbs out of leftover croutons that I bake from leftover baguettes. If you don’t have anything like that, toast a few slices of bread until crunchy and then crumble.
I gathered several sprigs of thyme from my backyard and crumbled those over the eggplant, squash and bread crumbs.
Step Three: This is where my version really begins to diverge from traditional Eggplant Parmesan. Slice several tomatoes and places the tomato slices on top of the eggplant slices. I mostly used Roma tomatoes from my garden because they were the perfect diameter for the eggplant slices. If your eggplant slices are larger, use several slices or dice the tomato and spread as necessary. As you can see in the picture, I didn’t have enough ripe Romas to cover all of the slices, so I used some grape-sized tomatoes from my garden to finish the job.
I also picked several sprigs of basil, tore the basil into pieces and tossed on top of the tomato slices.
Step Four: Bake the above at 375 F for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven for about 10 minutes, until the Parmesan cheese is bubbly and slightly brown. The total baking time is around 30 minutes.
And when I finished this meal, I had a happy, healthy heart.