Friday, September 12, 2014

Baked Mini Eggplant Parmesan

Baked Mini Eggplant Parmesan
Everybody has heard of Eggplant Parmesan, and of course the typical Italian restaurant version is almost always delicious, with thick layers of breaded and deep fried eggplant surrounded by rich tomato sauce and pounds of cheese.  Unfortunately, in versions like that, not only is the nutritional value of the amazing eggplant lost under piles of fat, the flavor is often hidden as well.  This recipe brings the rich flavor of the vegetables back to the forefront and is more like a cross between the traditional baked version and a caprese salad.  I purposefully left the amount of olive oil in the recipe vague because it all depends for me on how much the eggplant slices absorb, how greasy I want them to be and since I usually just pour it on the pan and then add a little more or leave a little extra unused, I never know for sure how much it actually is in the end.  And this way you can use as little or as much as you want.  You could probably also use a good olive oil spray instead if you are really watching your calories and I guarantee it would still taste just as amazing.  However my favorite part about this recipe is that I used mini eggplant, very small and skinny ones, so it would be perfect as an appetizer or a passed hors d'oeuvre.  I just thought they were cute and really fun to eat, and it tasted especially great with a side of whole wheat toast topped with Radish and Carrot Greens Pesto.

Baked Mini Eggplant Parmesan
garden fresh mini eggplants and tomatoes

5 -6 small organic eggplants, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
3 organic tomatoes, cut into small pieces
fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Spread desired amount of oil onto a foil lined pan and sprinkle on salt and pepper.  Carefully arrange the eggplant slices on the pan, coating both sides with the seasoned oil, adding more oil if necessary. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes.  In the meantime, cut the mozzarella cheese and the tomatoes into small pieces. Once the eggplant is done, remove from the oven, add the cheese, and broil on high for about 1 minute.  Remove from the oven, top with the tomatoes and fresh basil and serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

coating the eggplant in olive oil, salt and pepper

ready to bake

ready to broil and melt the cheese

ready to top with tomatoes

tomatoes and mozzarella

ready to serve

served with Radish and Carrot Greens Pesto on toast

topped with grated parmesan cheese, dinner is served!

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