A Skinny Twist on Classic Eggplant Parmesan

Cut down the calories, but not the flavor! Cut down the calories, but not the flavor! Fried crispy eggplant covered in tomato sauce and slathered with cheese is the ultimate comfort food, but it's not exactly good for you. Although I love to order Eggplant Parmesan in a restaurant, I rarely do because I know how much oil and cheese goes into making this fabulous dish--an enormous amount of fat that I would have to run 100 miles to work off - and I am NOT a runner. If I just have ruined your day with the knowledge that this fabulous dish is known to be heavy on the fat and the calories, cheer up, because there's a solution! I've been making this recipe for "skinny" eggplant Parmesan ever since I was in college and, although it actually never magically made me skinny, it sure didn't add to the problem. I got to have my cake and eat it too, so to speak. Crispy eggplant slathered in sauce and cheese is comforting and delicious; you'd never know it was baked and not fried.

Ingredients
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
1 large eggplant
cooking oil spray
1 cup marinara
10-12 slices reduced fat Mozzarella or Provolone cheese

Related: 20 quick-fixes for boneless chicken breasts

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy clean-up and to prevent sticking.

2. In a bowl, beat egg and water until mixed. On a large plate, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper.

3. With a knife, slice the eggplant into 1/2-inch rounds. Dip each slice into the egg wash, coating it completely, and then place in the breadcrumbs pressing to get a good coat of breadcrumb/cheese mixture onto the slices. Once the eggplant slices are completely coated, place them on the baking sheet. Spray the tops of each coated slice with a light spray of cooking oil. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, flip the slices over and spray lightly with the cooking oil again. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until golden.

4. Top each eggplant slice with a large spoonful of marinara sauce and then a slice of cheese. Return to the oven and place under the broiler for 1-3 minutes until the cheese has melted.

5. Serve and garnish with a pinch of grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

- By Meredith Steele

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