A Dash of Healthy: Better Eggplant Parm

Yes, by “better” we mean better for you. But before you get mad and X out the page for trying to ruin a classic, hear us out. Eggplant deserves your love. It’s always being fried, breaded and hidden behind every other ingredient in the dish. Why?! We ask. Eggplant is delicious on its own, especially when paired with tomato sauce and mozzarella–told you we weren’t ruining anything!

Okay so it’s not the battered, breaded, crispy comfort food eggplant parm you’re used to getting at American-style Italian restaurants. But, we think you’ll like it better once you realize that it’s not greasy, overly sauced and salted. There’s something humble about this baked eggplant dish–it brings all the comfort you need, but won’t leave you feeling like you’ve just eaten enough to feed a horse.

What you’ll need:

1 medium-sized eggplant
1 ball of fresh mozzarella about the size of your fist
About 1.5 cups of either a container of pre-made sauce, or our tomato sauce
1 baking tray (cookie sheet)
1 glass or metal baking dish
Baking spray or butter to coat the tray

What to do:

1. Begin by making the eggplant slices. Slice the eggplant into 1 cm.-sized slices. Grease the tray and preheat the oven to 400. Sprinkle salt evenly over the slices, and place the tray in the oven. Flip the slices frequently until they are dried out–about 20 minutes.

2. Place slices on a plate and bring out the baking dish. Line the dish with one layer of eggplant slices, then dot each slice with a quarter-sized dollop of sauce. This may seem like too little sauce, but it will spread as the dish bakes and less sauce prevents the dish from becoming too watery, as the mozzarella produces a lot of water while baking.

3. Tear the mozzarella into small chunks and place randomly on top of the sauced eggplant slices. Then add layers of eggplant, sauce and cheese until you have run out of eggplant.

4. Cover the baking dish with foil, then place it in the oven still at 400 degrees. Check on it in about 10 minutes and remove the foil. Leave the dish in the oven for another five minutes. The cheese should be melted and the sauce should be boiling, yum!

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