This recipe “stacks up” better than the traditional eggplant parm you’ll find on the menu at your favorite Italian restaurant.
We wanted to lighten up the old-school version, which can be very heavy and high in calories. We started by baking instead of frying the eggplant but still kept the crunchy texture by using panko breadcrumbs, reducing the extra calories and saturated fat. The result is a protein and fiber-packed side dish or main course, if you serve with a mixed green salad. They can be a little messy, but that also makes them really fun to eat!
Olive oil in spray bottle 1 cup panko bread crumbs 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese ¼ teaspoon sea salt 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 large egg whites 1 tablespoon water 1/2 large eggplant, cut crosswise into fifteen 1/4” thick slices 5 tablespoons low sodium marinara sauce 5 tablespoons shredded low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray baking sheet with oil. 2. Place panko in pie plate; stir in Parmesan, salt, and pepper. In another pie plate, whisk egg whites with water until foamy. 3. Dip each eggplant slice into egg mixture, making sure to coat both sides, then dip into panko mixture to coat both sides. Place on prepared baking sheet. 4. Spray tops of eggplant slices with oil. Bake 20–25 minutes or until tender and lightly browned, carefully turning slices over halfway through cooking. Remove pan with eggplant from oven. Do not turn off oven. 5. Place 1 teaspoon marinara sauce and 1 teaspoon mozzarella on each of the 5 largest eggplant slices. Top each with another eggplant slice. Repeat with remaining sauce, mozzarella, and eggplant to make stacks or “towers”, each with 3 slices of eggplant. 6. Return pan with eggplant towers to oven and bake about 5 minutes longer or until cheese melts.
Makes 5 servings (1 tower per serving).
Nutrition Facts per serving: 110 calories; 2g fat (1g sat fat, 1g mono, 0g trans fat); 5mg cholesterol; 17g carbohydrate (4g fiber, 4g sugar); 6g protein; 150mg sodium; 2% Daily Value (DV) vitamin A; 6% DV vitamin C; 8% DV calcium; 6% DV iron.
Stacey Antine, MS, RDN, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, director, HealthBarn Foundation, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.