Meatless Monday: Baked eggplant marinara
Eggplant is a versatile vegetable that's terrific stuffed, grilled, pureed for a dip or baked. Give this recipe for baked eggplant marinara a try for a fabulous Meatless Monday meal.
You can find eggplant in the stores all year, but in late summer, they're in season and grow in abundance. Keep in mind that you can't really store eggplant for very long, so once you make a purchase, plan to make your meatless meal in the next day or so.
Try this recipe for baba ghanoush (eggplant dip) >>
According to the Meatless Monday organization, there are a number of studies that show the health benefits associated with going meat free at least one day a week. Consider the following:
- Diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk.
- Replacing saturated fat-rich foods (like meat) with foods rich in polyunsaturated fats (nuts, vegetable oil, seeds) can reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Diets high in red and processed meats may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- A reduction in meat consumption can lower long-term weight gain.
Read how Meatless Monday is a positive, tasty trend >>
Making your meals meat free one day a week can help you feel good about yourself, and you’ll be sure to find some tasty new recipes along the way. This recipe is delightful, and you might even have leftovers!
Baked eggplant marinara
Recipe courtesy of Grab a Plate
- 1 medium-sized eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch round slices
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup flour
- 2 cups Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs (maybe more if you run low when breading)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups of marinara sauce (a bit more to use when serving)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Red pepper flakes (to season the marinara sauce)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- After you slice the eggplant into one-quarter-inch rounds, salt them to drain off some of their liquid (this helps to eliminate any bitterness). Place the slices in a colander over the sink and sprinkle them with salt. Allow them to remain in the colander for about 30 minutes, then pat them dry with paper towels.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together and set aside.
- In another shallow bowl add the flour, salt and pepper and set aside.
- In a third shallow bowl, add the breadcrumbs mixed together with one-quarter cup of the Parmesan cheese, and set aside with the others.
- Spread about one-quarter cup of the marinara sauce across the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, or enough to coat the bottom, and set aside.
- Gather your shallow bowls together in the same area as your baking sheets. First dip the eggplant slices in the flour mixture and cover both sides. Next, dredge them in the egg and milk mixture and allow the excess liquid to drip off, and finally coat them on both sides in the breadcrumb/Parmesan mixture.
- Arrange each of the eggplant slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. You'll need two baking sheets.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, then flip them over for another 10 minutes, until they become golden.
- Remove, set aside and lower your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add the eggplant slices to your prepared baking dish. To the top of the first layer, add some of the marinara sauce to lightly cover them. Double layer the slices, overlapping, if you have too many slices for a single layer.
- When all the slices are in the baking pan, top them with about three-quarters cup of marinara sauce and sprinkle with one-quarter cup of Parmesan cheese.
- Bake, covered with aluminum foil for about 15 minutes. Remove the pan, top the slices with the mozzarella cheese, and put them back in the oven, uncovered, for another 10-15 minutes, or until the eggplant slices are cooked, and the cheese is bubbly.
- Serve warm with extra sauce.
Baked eggplant marinara makes a wonderful Meatless Monday meal!