Eggplants come in many shapes, sizes and shades, from purple to white and green. For this recipe, we used the traditional purple eggplant, available year round in markets, but at its very best from August through October when in season.
One cup of raw eggplant contains 20 calories, 0.8 grams of protein, 4.82 grams of carbohydrate, 0.15 grams of fat and 2.5 grams of dietary fiber. A one-cup serving meets 10% of daily fiber needs, 5% potassium, 3% vitamin C, 5% vitamin B-6, 1% iron and 2% magnesium.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, eggplant also contains important phytonutrients, many of which act as antioxidants which have been connected to brain and cardiovascular health, as well as cancer prevention and weight management.
However, eggplant’s sponge-like texture is known to soak up incredible amounts of oil. Breading and frying eggplant before baking it, as most recipes call for, negates the low-calorie benefits.
Here is our healthy version of Eggplant Parmesan that avoids breading and frying, and can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. We left its skin intact, since many of its nutritional benefits -- fiber, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants -- are found there.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large eggplant (about 1 ¼ lbs), sliced crosswise into ½ inch slices
- 1 cup pasta sauce, or homemade Pomodoro Sauce
- 4 ounces shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Dried oregano and basil, or Italian herbs
- Lightly coat baking sheet with cooking spray and and place eggplant slices on it.
- Broil about 5 minutes until slices are evenly brown.
- Turn slices over, brush with olive oil. Broil 3 more minutes until brown.
- Top each slice with a tablespoon of pasta or pomodoro sauce, a thin slice of mozzarella, and light sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
- Sprinkle dried oregano and basil or Italian herbs over eggplant slices.
- Broil 2 minutes more until cheese is bubbly.
- Serve with a side of whole wheat spaghetti and extra sauce.
Makes about 8 slices and serves 4 to 6.
Per one ½ inch eggplant slice: 143.5 calories; 10.6g total fat (2.9g saturated, 0.7g polyunsaturated, 5.6g monounsaturated); 260.6mg sodium; 10.7mg cholesterol; 7.2g carbohydrate; 2.2g fiber; 1.8g sugars; 5.8g protein; 160.6mg potassium.