Eggplant Parmigiana, also known as Melanzane alla Parmigiana in Italian, is a popular Italian dish with its origins tracing back to Southern Italy.
While it’s now enjoyed worldwide, its history is firmly rooted in Italian cuisine.
The name “Parmigiana” suggests a connection to the Italian region of Parma, which is famous for Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
However, the dish actually originated in the Southern regions of Italy, particularly in Sicily and Campania.
The essential components of Eggplant Parmigiana include thinly sliced and breaded eggplant, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
The eggplant is typically fried or baked until tender and then layered with tomato sauce and cheese, creating a delicious and comforting casserole.
The name “Parmigiana” likely refers to the use of Parmesan cheese in the dish, but it doesn’t specifically point to the region of Parma.
It’s important to note that the dish varies in preparation and ingredients across different regions of Italy. In Sicily, for example, it might be made with a variation of the tomato sauce, while in Campania, it’s often served with basil leaves between the layers.
Over time, Eggplant Parmigiana has become a beloved Italian-American dish as well, thanks to the influence of Italian immigrants.
It’s cherished for its hearty and flavorful combination of ingredients, and remains a classic in both Italian and Italian-American cuisine.
- baby eggplants
- 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup tomato sauce (look for one with no added sugar)
- 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- Olive oil spray
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Prepare the Eggplants: Slice the baby eggplants into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Sprinkle them with a little salt and let them sit for about 15 minutes to draw out excess moisture. This will help them crisp up when baking.
- Bread Crumb Mixture: In a shallow dish, combine the whole wheat bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, dried oregano, and dried basil. Mix well.
- Coat the Eggplants: After the eggplant slices have rested, pat them dry with a paper towel. Dip each slice into the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the crumbs onto both sides to coat evenly.
- Baking: Place the coated eggplant slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly spray them with olive oil to help them brown. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until they are crispy and golden brown.
- Layering: In a baking dish, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce. Place a layer of the baked eggplant slices on top. Add a bit more sauce and some shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers until you’ve used all your ingredients, finishing with a layer of sauce and cheese on top.
- Final Bake: Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
- Serve: Let it cool for a few minutes before serving. This heart-healthy baby eggplant parmigiana is a delicious and nutritious option for a satisfying meal.
|Nutrient||Amount per Serving|
|Dietary Fiber||5-7 grams|
|Saturated Fat||6-8 grams|
|Vitamin A||10-15% of DV|
|Vitamin C||10-15% of DV|
|Calcium||20-25% of DV|
|Iron||10-15% of DV|
Please note that the nutritional values can vary based on the recipe and portion size. The table provides a general idea of the nutritional content for a typical serving of Eggplant Parmigiana.
Side Dishes to Pair With Eggplant Parmigiana
- Roasted Vegetables:
- Toss your favorite vegetables (such as carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, or zucchini) with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Roast them in the oven at 400°F (200°C) until they are tender and slightly caramelized.
- Quinoa Salad:
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions and let it cool.
- Mix it with chopped cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and fresh herbs (like parsley or cilantro).
- Drizzle with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Garlic Mashed Cauliflower:
- Steam cauliflower florets until they are soft.
- Mash them with a fork or blend them with a bit of minced garlic, a touch of butter or olive oil, and salt and pepper.
- Sautéed Spinach:
- Heat some olive oil in a pan and sauté minced garlic until fragrant.
- Add fresh spinach leaves and cook until wilted.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Brown Rice with Mixed Veggies:
- Cook brown rice and set it aside.
- In a separate pan, stir-fry a mix of diced bell peppers, peas, and carrots with a little soy sauce.
- Mix the cooked veggies with the rice.
- Cucumber and Tomato Salad:
- Slice cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.
- Toss them with a simple dressing made of olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar.
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes:
- Cut sweet potatoes into cubes and toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of cinnamon (optional).
- Roast until they are caramelized and tender.
- Hummus and Veggie Platter:
- Serve a variety of colorful raw vegetables (carrot sticks, cucumber slices, bell pepper strips) with a bowl of hummus for dipping.
This recipe is a healthier twist on the classic eggplant parmigiana and is loaded with flavor without the need for fancy ingredients. Enjoy your meal!