food and wineIssue 17

Summer Superfood: Eggplant

By Gitaine Reis & Angel Chere – In-Shape Health Clubs

Eggplants

It’s finally summer. Local stores are bursting with plenty of beautiful California grown fruits and vegetables to choose from. So much variety can make selection kind of overwhelming. Let us help. Eggplant is an underrated “fruit” and it is the perfect superfood to accompany your workouts and healthy lifestyle.

Eggplants are in the same family as peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes. Though they are typically thought of as a vegetable, they are in fact a fruit. They have a very meaty texture and come in a variety of colors and sizes. A few centuries ago the eggplant was known as the “Mad Apple” because Northern Europeans thought eggplants produced insanity. Luckily, today we know the truth about eggplants and the great nutrition they have to offer.

Eggplants are very low in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol. They are a very good source of vitamin K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, and dietary fiber. There are many ways to prepare eggplant: sautéing, grilling, baking and boiling to name just a few. Eggplants can be a healthy addition to salads, pasta, stir-fry, and can even make a yummy dip.

 

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant:

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups panko or other breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

2 pounds of eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices

Cooking spray

 

Filling:

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

16 ounces low fat ricotta cheese

1 egg, lightly beaten

 

Remaining Ingredients:

24-ounce jar of your favorite pasta sauce

8 ounces low fat mozzarella cheese

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Beat eggs in a shallow dish.
  3. Combine panko and 1/4 cup parmesan in another dish.
  4. Spray 1 or 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.
  5. Dip eggplant in eggs then press lightly in to panko mixture and shake off excess.
  6. Make 1 layer of eggplant placed slightly apart on the baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes.
  7. Turn and bake another 15 minutes or until golden.
  8. While eggplant is baking make a filling by combining basil, ¼ cup parmesan, red pepper, garlic, salt, ricotta and egg.
  9. Then pour 1/2 cup of pasta sauce in bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole coated with cooking spray.
  10. Layer half of the golden brown eggplant slices over pasta sauce.
  11. Sprinkle with a bit of salt.
  12. Top with ½ cup more pasta sauce, ½ the ricotta mixture, and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat.
  13. Then top with the last of the pasta sauce.
  14. Cover with aluminum foil coated in cooking spray. Bake for 35 minutes.
  15. Remove foil and sprinkle the last of the mozzarella.
  16. Bake for 10 more minutes until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

 

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