This no-fry eggplant parmigiana has all the deliciousness of classic eggplant parmesan but it’s way healthier. It’s made with baked (not fried) eggplant, and a generous topping of of spinach.
This Italian-inspired no-fry eggplant parmigiana is tomatoey and cheesy and perfectly spiced with basil, garlic, oregano and thyme. Even better – the eggplant is baked – not fried – so it is light enough to enjoy a very large portion and go back for seconds (I did). The appeal of southern Italian food for me is a great tomato sauce.
I use authentic San Marzano tomatoes for my sauces. They are grown in a particular region of southern Italy that has rich volcanic soil and produces, in my opinion, the absolute best tomatoes for sauce. These tomatoes are so prized that the Italian government had to create a seal of authenticity to protect the “San Marzano” name from impostors, who try to use the name to increase sales of their tomato sauce. The sauce in this eggplant parmigiana is thicker than average and works beautifully to hold everything together deliciously.
HOW TO MAKE NO-FRY EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA
Eggplant slices are dipped in low-fat milk, lightly breaded, and baked.
Once baked, the eggplant is layered with a rich thick tomato sauce and grated mozzarella cheese.
Chopped spinach is added to the top layer.
The final cheese layer includes a generous sprinkling of Parmigiana Reggiano.
Then into the oven for 40 minutes.
MORE DELICIOUS EGGPLANT RECIPE ON PANNING THE GLOBE
- Grilled Harissa Chicken Rice Bowl with Glazed Eggplant
- Eggplant Parmesan Stacks
- No Noodle Eggplant Lasagna
It is worth noting where this recipe originated. I adapted it from a recipe in the famous vegetarian cookbook: The Moosewood cookbook, that was first published in 1977. It is an American Classic, listed by the New York Times as one of the top ten best-selling cookbooks of all times. I’m usually so busy exploring new cookbooks that I don’t think to revisit the old ones. This one is going back in my kitchen bookcase!
Here’s the recipe for No-Fry Eggplant Parmigiana. If you try this I hope you’ll come back to leave a rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you think!Print
NO-FRY EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA
Light and delicious no-fry eggplant parmigiana with a thick rich tomato sauce, chopped spinach, and mozzarella cheese
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
- Yield: 8
- Cuisine: Italian
- 2 Medium eggplants, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 2 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 cup low-fat milk
- Oil for lightly coating the baking sheet
- Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano is best)
- 1 6-ounch can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- Assembling the casserole
- 1 16-ounch package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 ounces grated Parmigiana cheese (I recommend Reggiano)
- Preheat oven to 375º F
- Bread eggplant Lightly oil one large and one small baking sheet. In a shallow medium-sized bowl combine bread crumbs and spices. Pour milk into small bowl. Create an assembly line where you first dip an eggplant slice into the milk, then into the crumbs, then onto the baking sheet. Continue with all the eggplant slices. You might have to gently press the crumbs into the eggplant to help them adhere. Put the trays of eggplant in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. (keep the oven hot)
- Make the Sauce While the eggplant is baking, heat oil in a large cooking pot or dutch oven oven medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook for about 8 minutes until very soft and starting to brown. Stir in dry spices and salt. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and honey. Cook sauce at a simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Add chopped garlic and simmer 10 minutes longer. Remove from heat. The sauce will be thick.
- Assemble the Casserole Ladle a thin layer of sauce into the bottom of a 9x14x2-inch glass baking dish or lasagna pan. Then cover with a layer of eggplant. Then 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Add half of remaining sauce (because the sauce it thick, you might have to gently spread it with a knife, as if you are frosting a cake, to avoid smearing the cheese and crumbs around). Add the rest of the eggplant, then half of remaining mozzarella cheese, then the rest of the sauce. Place little piles of spinach, evenly spaced over the top of the casserole. Season with a little salt and pepper. Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella and all of the Parmigiana Reggiano. Bake in the 375º F oven for 40 minutes until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Slice and serve and enjoy!