A few years ago my family decided to adopt Meatless Mondays. Ha, that lasted for a while. Going meatless for one day a week wasn’t as big a pledge as to to commit to Monday specifically and, when Meatless is not on a dedicated day, it seems to lose the hubris. Since then my middle son has become a vegetarian and I’m trying to cook meatless more frequently. Now I’m in trouble – once a week was doable. I’m finding it hard to break the carnivore mentality. We all miss the satisfying chew, the meaty bite. Thankfully, mushrooms, butternut squash and of course, eggplant all satiate this call.
The eggplant parmesan here is lighter and fresher than most. The eggplant is baked, not fried, in crispy panko and the sauce consists of lightly seasoned chopped tomatoes.
baked eggplant parmesan
2 large eggplant, sliced ¼” thick
¼ cup milk (any kind)
1½ cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 ½ Tablespoons Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning
2- 28 ounce cans or boxes (I like Pomi brand) chopped tomatoes
2 cups part skim mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and spray with cooking spray. Set aside a 9×13 Pyrex dish.
Sprinkle sliced eggplant with salt, place in colander and let sit for at least 30 minutes. This releases water and bitterness from the eggplant. After the salting, lay flat on paper towels to dry eggplant.
In medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. In a separate shallow bowl or dinner plate, mix together the panko, Parmesan, 1½ Tablespoons Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning. Dip the eggplant into the egg mixture, then coat with the panko. Place prepared eggplant on baking sheet. Spray eggplant with cooking spray before baking and bake for 30 minutes or until beginning to brown.
Place the tomatoes and 1 Tablespoon Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning in a saucepan and heat to a simmer.
Cover the bottom of the Pyrex with a thin layer of sauce. Layer eggplant over the sauce. Place it in tightly but try not to overlap. Cover generously with sauce, evenly top with half of the cheese. Repeat another layer of eggplant, sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.