Eggplant parmesan is a delicious Italian meal, but in the summertime it can feel a little heavy. When the weather is hot and humid, sometimes it’s better to opt for something lighter and healthier over something fried and served on a bed of pasta.
This recipe for a healthier take on the traditional eggplant parmesan is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the season’s beautiful eggplants. The vibrant purple color looks enticing next to the red marinara sauce, white mozzarella and vivid green basil.
The stacks are easy to build and children will enjoy helping out in the kitchen; this is a meal the entire family can prepare together. Each person can even assemble their own stack since they are made in individual servings. Or, if cooking for just one or two, extra stacks can be wrapped up and saved for later, when they can easily be heated for a quick lunch or weeknight meal.
Once the layers of eggplant, sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and basil are assembled, they are baked in the toaster oven until heated through. The gooey cheese is delicious and the marinara sauce with the baked eggplant imparts all the flavors of traditional eggplant parmesan – without the additional calories.
This summer, make the most of seasonal produce and enjoy a “lightened-up” version of Italian favorites by making these individual servings of baked eggplant parmesan. Use your toaster oven or countertop oven instead of your full-size oven and keep the kitchen cool. This fun family-friendly meal will become a healthy summer classic.
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce
- 1 ball (8 ounces) fresh mozzarella, cut into 10 slices, divided
- 1 bunch (about 0.75 ounces) fresh basil, leaves only, divided
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- Sprinkle eggplant with salt and place in a colander to drain for 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 375°F. Spray baking pan and 5 (4-inch) ramekins with nonstick cooking spray.
- Rinse eggplant thoroughly with water to remove salt. Press each slice between paper towels to remove excess water and salt. Place on paper towels to dry. Arrange a single layer of eggplant slices in baking pan.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until eggplant is tender. Remove slices to cooling rack. Repeat, baking remaining eggplant. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
- In each ramekin, layer 1 slice eggplant, 1 tablespoon sauce, 1 slice mozzarella, 1 basil leaf, 1 additional tablespoon sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers ending with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and eggplant layers are heated through.