Light and delicious healthy eggplant parmesan with baked eggplant, homemade sweet tomato sauce, spinach, and cheese.
Adapted from a recipe in The Moosewood Cookbook
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheets, a 9 x 14 x 2 inch casserole
For The Eggplant
- 2 medium eggplants, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 2 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ cup low-fat milk
- Vegetable oil for lightly coating the baking sheets
For The 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 my favorite brand. see notes)
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 16-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (I recommend Parmigiana Reggiano)
- Preheat oven to 375º F. Lightly oil baking sheets. In a medium sized bowl combine bread crumbs (2½ cups) and spices: basil (1 teaspoon), oregano (½ teaspoon), and thyme (½ teaspoon). Pour milk (¾ cup) into a small bowl. Create an assembly line where you first dip an eggplant slice into the milk, then press it into the crumbs on both sides, then set it on a baking sheet. Repeat with all the eggplant slices. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. (keep the oven hot)
- While the eggplant is baking, make the sauce. heat oil (2 tablespoons) 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 dried spices: basil (2 tablespoons), oregano (1 tablespoon), thyme (1 tablespoon), and salt (1 teaspoon). Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and honey (1 tablespoon). 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.
- To assemble the casserole, ladle a thin layer of sauce into the bottom of the casserole. Arrange half the eggplant slices on top. Sprinkle on one third of the shredded mozzarella. Add half of the 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, on top. Season with a little salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the rest of the mozzarella and all of the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 40 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Slice, serve and enjoy!
- Leftovers keep well, covered and refrigerated, for about 4 days. Reheat in a 350ºF for 30 minutes or so, until heated through.
Which Canned Tomatoes are Best? San Marzano tomatoes are my favorite. They're grown in a region of southern Italy that has rich volcanic soil and produces, in my opinion, the absolute best tomatoes for sauce. When I can't find them, I use Muir Glenn organic or another brand of organic tomatoes.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Category: Casserole
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: baked eggplant parmesan, eggplant parmesan with spinach, no-fry eggplant parmesan