You bought an eggplant. Now What?

Aren't eggplants awesome?

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

Eggplant parmigana

Ingredients

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

Directions

  1. Turn the oven on to 375°F.
  2. Dice the eggplant. For really picky eaters peal it first because sometimes the skin can taste bitter.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Sprinkle half the bread crumbs over the eggplant. Mix gently.
  6. Spread eggplant mixture evenly in dish.
  7. Top with cheese (or forgo the extra calories).
  8. Sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs on top.
  9. 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.



By

Paul Martin

Paul Martin helps with websites for Full Plate Living. He writes from Orlando, Florida, where you can find him spending weekends pedaling with his whole family on their tandem bicycle and trailer.

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