Oven Baked Crispy-Eggplant Parmigiana
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 2-3 medium-sized eggplants, enough for 12 ¼th inch thick slices
- 1 13-15 oz. can of low-sodium diced, stewed tomatoes
- 2 13-15 oz. cans of low-sodium tomato sauce
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs, preferably whole wheat
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. garlic powder.
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsps. Italian seasoning
- 8 oz. shredded mozzarella
- 4 oz. parmesan cheese
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 3 egg whites
- 6 oz. fresh baby spinach (chopped)
- 8 oz. of penne pasta, preferably multi grain or whole wheat
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees 15 minutes into step 1.
- Remove the top and bottom of each eggplant and then cut into ¼th inches to yield 12 slices. Lightly sprinkle salt on each side of the slices and the layer them in a colander. Place the colander in the sink and place a heavy dish or pan (with a soup pan in it for additional weight) over the top of the slices to press them down. Allow the slices to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse the slices under cold water to remove the salt and gently dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
- While the eggplant slices are in the colander, mix the egg whites and 1 tsp. of the Italian seasoning together.
- In 8 x 8 baking pan, mix together the bread crumbs, ½ the parmesan cheese. Line a baking sheet with foil and generously spray with the cooking spray. Discard the remaining bread crumbs.
- Dip each slice in the egg white mixture and then the bread crumbs. Pat the crumbs into each side of the slice to assure a complete light coating of crumbs. Place the slices on a single layer on the baking pan. Lightly spray the top of each slice with olive oil. Place the pan in the oven. Cook for 10 minutes and then flip each slice and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and turn the oven down to 350 degrees F.
- While the slices are cooking. In a medium-sized sauce pan, add the stewed tomatoes, paste, and tomato sauce. Over medium heat, cook the tomato mixture and add the remaining spices and herbs. Reserve 1/3th cup of the mixture.
- Remove the eggplant from the oven. Coat the bottom of the 8x8 baking pan with some the sauce. Place 4 slices in the pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese and top with tomato sauce. Repeat this two additional times placing the eggplant slices on top of each other. Finish with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.
- During the last 10 minutes of baking, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, mix in the reserved tomato sauce, and sprinkle in the chopped fresh baby spinach and the parmesan cheese and mix in. You want to do this while the pasta is still hot, so the heat will wilt the spinach a bit and the parmesan will melt.
- Serve by plating 1/4th of the pasta mixture topped with one stack of the eggplant and some of the tomato sauce from the pan. Lightly salt and pepper to taste (optional).