I was looking for a health eggplant parmigiana recipe and found one on the New York Times blog "The Temporary Vegetarian" here, but it seemed so complicated. A few nights after, again craving some Italiany eggplant goodness, I decided to make eggplant parmigiana in the traditional manner (it's just so easy): bake eggplant slices to get them soft, bread with flour, fry in olive oil, layer in baking dish of marinara sauce and tons of (vegan) parmigiana cheese. While it was delicious I kept thinking I couldn't taste the eggplant; I mean, not at all. Nor could I taste the breading. After all, it bakes for so long that everything falls apart and all the flavors meld, and what you end up tasting is primarily cheese and sauce. So I got to thinking: I bet it would taste the same without the breading/frying and with much less cheese if I still baked it all together. So that's exactly what I did and I must say: total success! I took a lot of photos for this one throughout the cooking process so you could see how I was layering the ingredients. With no flour, just a touch of olive oil and a healthy sprinkling of cheese, you'll find this eggplant parm to be just a delicious as Luigi's, but with no guilt to inevitably follow. —[email protected]
thick slices eggplant
large yellow squash, cut into medallions
large bunch of asparagus, tips only
large onion, diced
garlic cloves, diced
jar Newman's Own Tomato and Basil pasta sauce (or your favorite)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Take eggplant slices and drizzle just a little olive oil on each side. Bake on a cookie sheet until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside and leave oven on.
In a pan, saute onion in remaining olive oil until translucent, about 4-5 minutes at medium heat. Add garlic, zucchini, squash, and asparagus, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat medium lo and cover until tender, but not mushy, about 7-10 minutes (check often so garlic doesn't burn). Set aside.
In a small loaf pan (or 9x9 baking dish it totally fine too) spread enough pasta sauce to throughly cover the bottom. Lay 2 slices of eggplant side by side and tear 2 slices of the french bread into small bite-size pieces and toss on top. Add a small handful of parmigiana cheese and enough sauce to cover it all. Add half the squash/asparagus mixture next and cover with sauce. Layer the last 2 slices of eggplant on top with a little more cheese and the last 2 slices of french bread, torn on top. Cover with sauce and add the remaining squash/asparagus mixture. Top with the remaining cheese.
Cover the loaf pan with aluminum foil and bake until bubbly, about 20-25 minutes. Serve by itself or over pasta; bella!