You are looking at the greatest thing to ever happen to eggplant since pizza crust and goat cheese.
The eggplant tree in my garden still thinks it’s summer. And frankly, with highs still in the low 90s, it IS still summer.
While I was out of town last weekend, Jason sent me a picture of the three soccer ball-sized fruits he picked from the “tree.” All bigger than my 4-year-old’s head. When I got back, I took one of those soccer balls (just one – and I had leftover slices!) and turned it into the most amazing version of Eggplant Parmesan.
The dish comes together pretty easily – assuming you don’t find out at the last minute that what you thought was a jar of marinara turns out to be calorie-bomb vodka sauce and then thank all the baby Jesuses for those two cans of crushed tomatoes buried behind the year-old can of pumpkin.
You roast sliced eggplant for ~30 minutes to remove excess water and concentrate the flavors and then you layer it in a dish on top of half-cooked pasta with marinara (or “improvinara”), mozzarella, and parmesan. Another 30 minute spin through the oven and you have a golden brown, bubbling dish of Eggplant Parmesan perfection.
And your house doesn’t stink like yesterday’s fried foods the next morning.
Eggplant Parmesan Pasta Bake
Not all comfort food is terrible for you. This version of Eggplant Parmesan is lighter on fat, heavy on flavor.
Calories: 331.8 | Fat: 10.4g | Fiber 8.9g | Protein 12.9g | Carbs 49.5g
- 8 oz dry pasta (I used whole wheat)
- Olive oil
- ~3 lbs eggplant, cut in 1/2-inch slices
- 2 1/4 cups marinara sauce, divided
- 4 oz fresh mozzarella torn into small pieces
- 1/4 cup (1 oz) shredded Parmesan
- Basil leaves
- Lightly grease a casserole dish and a baking sheet (two sheets, if your eggplant is soccer ball-sized).
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Cook the pasta for half the time suggested on the package and then drain.
- Add the pasta to the casserole dish along with 3/4 cup of marinara sauce, stirring to mix. Top with another 3/4 cup marinara
- Brush each side of the eggplant rounds with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 15 minutes, flip and roast for 15 minutes more.
- Place half of the eggplant rounds over the pasta and top with half the mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Spread the remaining 3/4 cup marinara over top, followed by the remaining eggplant, mozzarella, and Parmesan.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is brown and bubbling.
- Serve topped with basil, if desired.
Yields: ~6 servings
Estimated time: 1 hour 15 minutes