Animals · Appetizers · Popular · Quick Meals · Recipes · Sea Turtles · Vegetarian

Baked Eggplant Parmesan, without the Parmesan 

I’m sure a lot of you are going to see the word eggplant and immediately stop reading this post…but wait! Before you go, hear me out. Eggplant isn’t my favorite vegetable either, it’s spongy and bland. But when you prepare it the proper way – like with loads of cheese, bread crumbs and marinara sauce – it can be rather tasty!

Poor little eggplant, just needs a little T.L.C…

Don’t we all?!

Bryan’s mom sent me this recipe last week and I knew I had to try it.  It’s been awhile since we’ve had eggplant in our house, so it seemed like the perfect time.

It just looked so damn good…

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Usually breaded eggplant is my go to, but this may be my new favorite way to make it – it involves a lot of cheese, and who doesn’t love that!?

The first thing you do is slice it into 8 pieces about 1/4-1/2 inch thick (you can also peel it if you want). Sprinkle each slice liberally with salt and let it stand for 15 minutes or so. The salt draws out the water and the slices will begin to “sweat”- it’s pretty cool! A fun science experiment in the kitchen.  Pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel.

While the eggplant is working up a sweat (teehee), you can get busy making your cheesy batter.   In a medium bowl, beat the egg then mix together with ricotta, mozzarella, spinach, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Season the eggplant with a little more salt and pepper,  then arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Cover tightly with foil and bake until eggplant is tender and pliable but NOT fully cooked, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Pat eggplant dry with paper towels one more time.  Dividing the ricotta-spinach mixture (about 1-2 generous tablespoons each) evenly and spoon onto one end of each eggplant pieces, spreading to cover.  Top with remaining marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese and tightly cover with foil.

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Bake until the eggplant is very tender, about 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving with additional mozzarella and marinara if desired.

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Nom. Nom. Nom. 

Baked Eggplant Parmesan, without the Parmesan
Yield: serves 2-3

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium Italian eggplant, cut vertically into 8 cutlets
kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
3/4 cups quick marinara sauce
1 large egg
1/4 cup + 1 T part skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese plus more for serving
4 oz frozen spinach, heated through and squeezed well
1 garlic clove, minced
INSTRUCTIONS:

Cut the 2 ends off the eggplants. Cut the eggplant vertically, into 8 cutlets (peeling if desired).  Sprinkle the eggplant with kosher salt to help remove excess moisture and bitterness from the eggplants. Set aside for about 10 to 15 minutes. Pat dry with a towel.
Preheat oven to 400°F.  Season the eggplant with a little more salt and pepper, then arrange on one parchment-lined baking sheet.  Cover tightly with foil and bake until eggplant is tender and pliable but NOT fully cooked, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg then mix together with ricotta, mozzarella, spinach, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.
Pat eggplant dry with paper towels.  Dividing the ricotta-spinach mixture (about 2 generous tablespoons each) evenly and spoon onto one end of each eggplant slice, spreading to cover.    Top with remaining marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese and tightly cover with foil.
Bake until the eggplant is very tender, about 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving with additional mozzarella if desired.

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I dipped mine in more marinara sauce (have I mentioned that I LOVE marinara sauce!) and served them alongside chicken-less nuggets and rice.

Super good and they tasted great the following day as leftovers! I simply re-heated them in the oven for a few minutes and they were perfecto!

Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend so far… and in case you’re not, here’s something to cheer you up!

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(All work performed under state permitting. Sea turtles are an endangered species and protected under federal law. Obstruction or harassment of any endangered species is punishable under federal law. Please respect our local wildlife.)

A little loggerhead hatchling making its way to the big, blue ocean for the first time.  Good luck little one!

Until next time…

 

 

 

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