Healthy Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan

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    Central Speaks will now be running periodical healthy recipes to promote health and wellness throughout the year. This recipes will be provided by Central resident Rachel Firmin, a Dietetics student at Louisiana State University with a passion for healthy living and healthy eating. These recipes will focus on whole, unprocessed foods with great taste and simple assembly.  Featured this week is a healthy take on Eggplant Parmesan made completely from scratch. Believe it or not, its easier than you think! 


For the Eggplant Parmesan:
1 medium Eggplant
4 pieces whole wheat bread, toasted
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
2 eggs
Part-skim Italian blend cheese
For the Marinara:
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
½ small white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 15 oz can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
Pepper to taste
    Peel eggplant and slice into ¾ inch thick slices, to produce 6-8 circles. Discard pieces of eggplant where no seeds are visible. Sprinkle ¼ tsp salt on each eggplant cutlet—don’t worry, you won’t be consuming all of this sodium! Let the eggplant sit for 30 minutes. This will remove any bitter taste from the vegetable. While the eggplant sits, place 4 slices toasted bread and 2 tsp Italian seasoning in food processor and process until bread crumbs are created. Spread on shallow bowl or plate and set aside. 
    For the marinara, move to the stove and heat 1 Tbsp Olive oil in small pot on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and diced tomatoes and mix well. Lastly, add Italian seasoning and pepper, to taste. Reduce heat to med-low and allow to slightly simmer until serving time. Stir every 5-10 minutes to prevent burning.  
    Preheat oven to 450o. Remove 2 eggs from the refrigerator and crack in shallow bowl. Whisk with fork and set next to bread crumbs. After the eggplants have been sitting for 30 minutes, rinse in sink under cold water while rubbing sides with fingertips and removing any excess salt. Pat with paper towels to remove excess water. 
    Now onto the assembly station! Dip eggplant in whisked eggs until all sides are coated and then dip into homemade bread crumbs and cover completely with breadcrumbs. Place on nonstick cooking sheet and sprinkle any unused bread crumbs on top. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until crispy and golden.
    To serve, place ½ cup whole wheat noodles or a handful of raw spinach on plate. Cover with ¼ – ½ cup marinara and 1-2 eggplant cutlets. Top each cutlet with 1-2 Tbsp shredded Italian blend cheese. Enjoy your beautiful, completely homemade eggplant parmesan! Serve with side vegetable, if desired! 
    The wonderful aspect of this recipe is that by making the bread crumbs yourself, you’re not only drastically reducing the calories, but also removing any hydrogenated oils (trans fats) that most packaged bread crumbs use.  
    *Disclaimer: I am not a licensed physician or Registered Dietitian. The content of these recipes are not to be construed as medical advice or nutritional counseling. Please consult a Registered Dietitian or Doctor for further questions or before making any serious changes in your diet.

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