One of the things about changing up how I eat is to keep food fresh and flavorful, but healthier. After all, the only way to lose weight and keep it off is to create a lifestyle that you can live with every day.
I always watch a lot of cooking shows and one of the things the chefs mention is building layers of flavor. With that in mind, I tackled an update to one of my favorite meals: Eggplant parmigiana.
Eggplant is tough on several levels. It can be bitter although that doesn’t normally bother me. It sucks up oil like there’s no tomorrow. Plus there’s the frying in the parmagiana essential. So I decided to change it up by grilling and also, by not going heavy with sauce and instead also grilling the tomatoes. The grilling added a great smokiness to the dish that was offset by the tang of the goat cheese I used. I think you’ll love this!
2 medium eggplant sliced into rounds about 1/2 inch thick (I had about 20 rounds when I finished)
5 tomatoes sliced into rounds about 1/2 inch thick (I had about 10 rounds when I finished)
5-6 ounces of goat cheese
6 ounces of a mix of shredded provolone & mozzarella (Bought this pre-shredded and mixed)
4 garlic gloves
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup fresh parsley
1 cup fresh basil
Preheat oven to 400. Preheat your grill on high and brush/spray with oil.
Place 1/2 olive oil, garlic cloves, vinegar, parsley and basil into either a blender or food processor. Blend until you have a sauce (kind of like pesto).
Place eggplants in a tray and put about 3/4 of the pesto mixture over the rounds. Toss to coat each one. Place on hot grill and cook for about 3-4 minutes a side. Don’t worry about cooking all the way as you’ll finish this dish in the oven, but don’t undercook. Eggplant is squeaky and unappealing when not totally cooked!
Remove eggplant rounds and place on a tray. You can put two on top of each other for now if you’d like. I used a greased cookie sheet that I later used to bake everything. Why wash more than you have to?
Place tomatoes in the tray and put remaining pesto mixture on them along with remaining 1/4 cup oil. Tomatoes stick a lot more hence the extra oil. Coat well with the mixture and place on hot grill. Cook for maybe 1-2 minutes a side. Don’t worry if they break. Place tomatoes in another bowl and let cool until you can handle.
Put one eggplant round on the greased cookie sheet and top with one tomato round. Add a sprinkle of the shredded cheese mix. Top with another eggplant round. Place 1 teaspoon or so of goat cheese on this layer and top with a little more shredded cheese mix. Enough to cover the goat cheese.
Repeat until all rounds are done.
Cook in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the cheese on top.
Serve with a little grated parmesan cheese on top and a side salad! It sounds like a lot of work, but it really only took about 20 minutes of prep time and it was DELICOUS!