Italian comfort food to satisfy your cravings in a healthy way!
Rich, creamy, and just downright divine all describe this healthy Italian Eggplant Parmesan Casserole! Feed the family with this impressive dish. It’s made with a few healthy swaps and an abundance of fantastic ingredients that keep it delicious and nutritious!
The Many Benefits of Eggplant
Eggplant– the beautiful purple vegetable. It is a member of the nightshade family (along with tomatoes and peppers) and has been said to originate in India. However, it was brought to Europe in the 1400s, where it is now featured in many European dishes, like this Italian Eggplant Parmesan Casserole. Eggplant is extremely nutrient-dense and offers many antioxidants as well as fiber. It has been associated with helping digestion, heart health, brain function, and even cancer prevention. So jump on this recipe not only for the great taste, but the healthy bonus as well.
Lean Dairy Options
Dairy is often to blame for some higher fat content in food, however, it won’t be an issue for this recipe. We’ve gone with part-skim and low fat cheeses, therefore lowering the saturated fat and increasing the protein quality of this dish. Between those swaps, the whole wheat bread crumbs, and delicious veggie additions, this dish will help you reach your health goals in the best way.
Make Our Favorite Italian Casserole
This recipe is a little bit more complex than others, but it’s so worth it for such a rich and delicious dish.
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Toss your eggplant rounds with half a tablespoon of the olive oil and your salt, then lay them out evenly on a baking sheet (you may need two). Bake them in the oven for about 20 minutes or until they’re soft and slightly golden, flipping halfway. Once complete, increase the heat to 400 degrees.
Meanwhile, heat the other half tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic for about 1 minute, and then toss in the mushrooms. Saute this mixture for 4 to 5 minutes until softened, and then add the spinach for another minute or so. Once wilted, remove the skillet from the heat.
In a medium bowl, mix together the low-fat ricotta, parmesan, egg, and seasoning.
Once the eggplant is cooked, you can assemble it. Spread about half a cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of the pan. Next, create a layer of eggplant (using about one-third of the slices). Top with one-third cup of the ricotta mixture, one-third cup of the mushrooms, one-third cup of the spinach mix, and finally a half cup of mozzarella. Start a new layer with ¾ cup of marinara sauce and continue layering in this order until finished. Make sure to spread each layers evenly.
Once everything is used up, top the casserole with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs. Cover it and bake for about 45 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes. Let cool, top with parsley, and enjoy!
Eggplant Parmesan Casserole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 eggplants sliced in thin rounds
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 cups brown mushrooms sliced
- 2 cups spinach chopped
- 3/4 cup low fat ricotta
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning
- 1 1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 32 oz marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons parsley fresh, chopped
- Toss the eggplant rounds with ½ tbs of olive oil and salt, then lay evenly on a baking sheet
- Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until soft and slightly golden, flipping halfway.
- Meanwhile, heat the other 1⁄2 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the garlic for about 1 minute, and then toss in mushrooms. Saute for 4-5 minutes or until softened, then add spinach for another minute or so to wilt. Remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the low fat ricotta, parmesan, egg, and seasoning.
- In a 9×13 baking dish, spread about ½ a cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of the pan, then lay a layer of eggplant (about ⅓ of the slices)
- Top with ⅓ cup of the ricotta mixture, ⅓ of the mushrooms and spinach mix, and then ½ cup of mozzarella
- Start a new layer with ¾ cup of marinara sauce and continue layering in this order until finished
- Top the casserole with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs
- Cover and bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes. Let cool, top with parsley, and enjoy!
Have you made this recipe?
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