The JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry’s Produce of the Month for February is Eggplant! Eggplants come in many sizes and colors, but when you’re buying them, always look for ones that feel heavy and have firm, glossy skin with no soft spots or brown patches.
Here are some more helpful facts about eggplants:
– Eggplant makes a great replacement for meat in many dishes – try adding cubes to pasta sauce or grilling slices instead of hamburgers
– Store whole, unwashed eggplants in a produce bag in the warmest section of your refrigerator
– Eggplants are high in fiber, vitamin B1, and antioxidants and very low in calories
– Try broiling eggplant slices and using them instead of bread for sandwiches
– Because of the high fiber content, eggplant can help you feel full with fewer calories
Recipe: Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Here’s a healthier and easier alternative to fried eggplant parmesan, and a delicious way to include eggplants in your diet!
- 2 large eggplant, cut into ¼-inch thick rounds
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup almond milk
- 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, more for sprinkling
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 28 ounces Marinara Sauce
- 2 large balls fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium-sized shallow dish, whisk the eggs and almond milk.
In another medium-sized shallow dish, combine the panko, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt, and several grinds of pepper.
Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture and then into the panko mixture. Place onto the baking sheets, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 18 minutes or until tender and golden brown.
In an 8×12 or 9×13-inch baking dish, spread ½ cup marinara, layer half the eggplant, and top with 1 cup of marinara and half the mozzarella. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, the remaining marinara, and the remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a few more pinches of sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted. Turn the oven to broil and broil for 2 to 4 or until the cheese is browned and bubbling.
Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil.