Here is a ‘twist’ that you will LOVE on the traditional eggplant parm. (pun intended) Whenever I suggest making Eggplant Parmesan for dinner, my husband’s eyes light up. It’s one of his favorite vegetarian dishes. This time, however, I decided to shake it up; same old ingredients but different preparation. This version is not breaded and fried but sliced and stuffed with fresh tomatoes, garlic, fresh mozzarella and herbs, then baked to a golden brown and melty goodness. A sprinkling of parmesan on top adds to a nice golden crust.
Eggplant and tomatoes make a good couple, which is why you see them paired together so often along with fresh basil and a variety of cheeses. I used fresh mozzarella and parmesan but you could easily use crumbled feta or goat cheese depending on your preferences or what you have in your refrigerator. Eggplant is one of the few vegetables that are filling enough to star as a main course. I used medium/large eggplants and found that the two eggplants served four people but those with large appetites may not agree. In addition to being a favorite and versatile veggie, eggplant provides quite an impressive array of nutrients. Eggplant is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1, and copper. It is a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate, and vitamin K as well as phytonutrients.
TIPS: My new favorite kitchen hack is olive oil in a spray bottle. It makes brushing slices of anything SO much easier and with better coverage. You can use your own olive oil in a plastic or metal spray bottle or you can purchase it from most stores. They have come a long way since PAM. Just make sure it’s a good quality of oil. Avocado oil is a good choice too.
- Slice the egg plant lengthwise into thin slices taking care to keep the stem end attached.
- Salt each slice and let rest for 20 or 30 minutes to relase the excess water and any bitterness. Spray or brush olive or avocado oil onto all the slices.
- Layer tomato slices, mozzarella, garlic, half of basil and parsley in between each eggplant slice.
- Transfer to a baking dish and lightly press to flatten. Drizzle or spray with olive oil and bake for about an hour at 400 degrees. If too much water has been released into the pan, use a turkey baster to remove some of it. The rest will evaporate.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake another 20 minutes or so until golden brown and melty.
- Top with remaining fresh basil and serve hot or warm.