Eggplants aren’t on many families' favorite list because if you prepare them wrong they taste similar to a flip-flop. This healthy eggplant parmigiana recipe is a low risk way to introduce your family to the big purple eggplant. After all, if kids like purple dinosaurs, they should like purple vegetables, too!
First Timer's Eggplant
2 small or 1 medium eggplant
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
or 1 can tomato puree with one pint halved grape tomatoes
1 handful dried basil leaves, crushed
3 Tablespoons minced garlic (about 5 large cloves)
¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
¼ cup olive oil, divided
1 cup bread crumbs (preferably whole grain for best crunch)
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
½ cup grated mozzarella cheese, optional
Salt, to taste
- Turn the oven on to 375°F.
- Dice the eggplant. For really picky eaters peal it first because sometimes the skin can taste bitter.
- In a 9 x 13 baking dish gently combine the eggplant, tomatoes, tomato puree (if using), basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1/3 cup olive oil, and salt.
- In a large measuring cup, combine bread crumbs and parsley. Stir in just enough olive oil (about 3 Tablespoons) to coat the mixture. Add ground pepper and salt if desired.
- Sprinkle half the bread crumbs over the eggplant. Mix gently.
- Spread eggplant mixture evenly in dish.
- Top with cheese (or forgo the extra calories).
- Sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs on top.
- Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Toward the end, if the top is getting too brown cover with aluminum foil.
Can be served with a fresh olive oil drizzle.
Tip: Of course, fresh ingredients can be substituted for the canned or dried ingredients.