Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

I've been making my own version of eggplant parmesan as a casserole for years, and since I had the time to indulge in it today (Wednesdays are my "stay home after school" day with no kid-related errands), I enjoyed making it.  We haven't had it for quite a while.

This version of eggplant parm involves no frying and no breading - I actually consider it to be more of an "eggplant lasagna."  The thinly sliced eggplant acts as the noodles.  So, this recipe can actually be made gluten free and comparatively low fat, depending on what kind of cheese you like and how much of it you decide to use.  Here's how I make it.



Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

Two small to small-medium eggplant
1 large red bell pepper
1 large onion
2 small or one medium zucchini
fresh garlic (4 cloves) or dried garlic flakes (about 1 1/2 tsp.)

1 large (32 oz.) container of part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 cup grated parmesan/romano cheese blend (or just parmesan)
sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper

2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use Prego Heart Smart, since it's reduced sodium and I like the flavor)
4 cups (or more!) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Peel the eggplant and slice it thinly (1/4" or so).  It doesn't matter if you slice it into rounds or strips - just keep it thin.  (I don't soak or salt it - I just use it as-is.) Do the same thing with the zucchini.  Chop the pepper and onion (1/2" or less).

In a large, shallow casserole dish, pour the first jar of spaghetti sauce and spread it evenly.  Lay half of the eggplant slices over the sauce, then half of the zucchini slices, and spread with half of the pepper and onion pieces.  Sprinkle with half of the garlic.  

In a large bowl, combine the egg, ricotta cheese, parmesan/romano blend, parsley, basil, and pepper.  Stir until smooth, and spread over the first layer of vegetables.

On top of the ricotta mixture, lay the rest of the vegetables, in the same order as before (eggplant, zucchini, pepper and onion, garlic). Top with the remaining jar of sauce.

Bake uncovered at 375F for 2 hours 15 minutes.  Spread the shredded mozzarella over the casserole and bake for another 10-15 minutes (until the cheese is lightly browned).

Let it cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.