We’ve discussed on this blog before how difficult many of us find it to eat 3-5 servings of vegetables a day. I too struggle with that even though I tend to lose more weight in the weeks that I eat lots and lots of vegetables. Some of the tricks I’ve found for increasing my weekly intake of veggies is to experiment with new or seldom-seen-by-me vegetables, especially when they are in season, and to find ways to increase the amount of veggies in my main dishes.
I’ve had a lot of luck with eggplant, which is in season now. It wasn’t completely unknown to me. I’ve always liked eggplant parmigiana at Italian restaurants and had even had it at Chinese restaurants or in my mom’s ratatouille. I needed to find ways to incorporate it into my own repertoire. The following recipe is one of my favorite ways to do it. It’s a lightened version of what I sometimes had at my favorite Italian restaurants.
Eggplant Parmigiana with Meat Sauce
2 medium egg
plants (1 to 1 ¼ pounds each), cut into ¼ inch slices
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup diced onion
9 ounces broiled lean ground beef (Ha! Like I ever bother – I cook it in the sauce)
4 cups low-sodium tomato sauce (I often use tomato puree)
2 cups stewed tomatoes
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
(I like to play with spices and add garlic, up the basil and oregano, and/or add Italian seasoning mix)
6 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
¾ cup part-skim ricotta cheese (I sometimes use low fat cottage cheese bc I think it has more flavor)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Sprinkle salt evenly over both sides of eggplant slices. Place on large tray lined with paper towels to drain for 20 minutes. (DON”T SKIP THIS! - PICTURED ABOVE)
3. Dredge eggplant slices in breadcrumbs, coating both sides.Spray 2 nonstick baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray; divide eggplant slices evenly between prepared sheets and bake until golden, about 30 minutes.
4. Spray large saucepan with nonstick cooking spray; add onion and cook over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except cheese and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
5. In medium mixing bowl, combine cheeses.
6. In 13-by-9 inch baking dish, layer 1-cup sauce, one-third of eggplant slices, 1-cup sauce, half the cheese mixture, 1-cup sauce, one-third of eggplant slices, 1-cup sauce, remaining cheese mixture, 1 cup sauce, remaining eggplant slices, and remaining sauce.
7. Bake until bubbly and completely heated through, about 40 minutes. (Note: If it looks like it is overflowing the pan, bake it on a cookie sheet.) Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
Makes 8 servings
Each Serving Provides: 2 ½ proteins; 4 vegetables, ¼ bread, 10 optional calories
Per Serving: 300 Calories, 21g Protein, 13 g Fat, 28 g Carbohydrate, 307 mg Calcium, 653 mg Sodium, 49 mg Cholesterol, 5 g Dietary Fiber
Original recipe on pp 198-199 of Weight Watchers Favorite Homestyle Recipes published in 1993.
This is not a quick recipe, but it is an absolutely delicious dish, and I just made it for myself again a couple of weeks ago. Let me know what you think of it if you try making it.
Do any of you have yummy suggestions for eggplant dishes or other ways to incorporate more vegetables into your diet?