Eggplant Parmesan

6:00 AM

I LOVE eggplant. It's a new obsession. Much like my zucchini love. Last year on my birthday Clark took me out to dinner and I got eggplant parmesan for the first time.

I fell in love.

I can't believe it's taken me this long to make it. Perhaps it's because Clark doesn't really like eggplant, so I made this on a night when he wasn't around for dinner. Michael wouldn't eat it, either. What can I say... I'm surrounded my picky boys (relatively speaking, that is).

This could probably be enough for two people... but I must admit I ate it all myself. I was rather hungry, to say the least.

Ingredients:

- 1 small to medium sized eggplant, sliced length-wise
I didn't use the whole eggplant. I think I left out about two "slices" of it.
- 1/2 C low fat ricotta cheese
- 1/4 C onion *optional*
- 1/3 C spinach *optional*
- 2 tbsp Parsley
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/2 C (+ extra) reduced fat Mozzarella cheese
- 2 tbsp (+ extra) grated parmesan
- Your favorite Marinara (I used about 1/2 to 3/4 of the jar)
- Salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Directions:

- Slice your eggplant length wise in slices about 1/4 inch thick. Lightly salt them and put in a colander for 20 to 30 minutes to release texture. If you're like me and don't actually have a colander, I salt them, lay them over a bacon screen (or something close to it) and let them sit. It works (sort of) the same. Use paper towels to dab and soak up more moisture after your 20/30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 450.
- Heat up (or make) your sauce.
- Place your eggplant slices on a baking sheet. Lightly coat both sides of the eggplant slices using 1 tbsp of your allotted olive oil. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, then turn them over and do it again. If you cut them thinner, make sure to watch them closely. Don't want the slices burning around the edges (some of mine did!)
- Mix together your cheeses and seasonings.
- Heat your other tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium-high. Add your onion and sautee until soft, about two to five minutes. Add your spinach until just wilted. Mix this in to your cheese mixture as well.
- In an 8 x 8 baking dish, or 9" round dish, or really whatever you wish to use, pour enough of your sauce to cover the bottom. Next add a slice of eggplant, followed by cheese mixture, sauce, repeat. Do this until you have at least three layers. You may be able to make more than one serving, depending on the size of your eggplant. Make sure you top it with sauce before adding extra mozzarella and/or parmesan cheese! *I also sprinkled extra parsley on the top of mine-- yumm!*
- Cover with foil, lower your oven's temperature to 400, and bake for about 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling.

Let it sit about five to ten minutes before diving in!

*Use cheese substitutes to make this vegan friendly!*

This recipe was adapted from Skinny Taste.

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