Lightened-Up Eggplant Parmesan
Adapted from an Epicurious recipe, this lightened up eggplant parmesan features oven roasted instead of breaded and fried eggplant. Be sure to use whole milk ricotta; low-fat versions contain excess water and you’ll end up using more, not to mention your dish will end up soupy!
- 1 medium eggplant (about 2 pounds total), trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Coarse kosher salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch spinach or half a package frozen spinach (kale or chard would be great too!)
- 1 large egg
- ½ 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
- ½-¾ cups finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, basil, or thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ 15- to 16-ounce can tomato sauce (or homemade!)
- 4-ounce ball fresh water-packed mozzarella , drained, thinly sliced
- Cover bottom and sides of each of a large colander with 1 layer of eggplant slices; sprinkle generously with coarse salt. Continue layering eggplant slices in colander, sprinkling each layer with coarse salt, until all eggplant slices are used. Place colander over large bowl; let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Rinse eggplant slices to remove excess salt; dry thoroughly with paper towels.
- Position oven rack 5 to 6 inches from heat source and preheat broiler. Line a large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil. Broil until eggplant slices are tender and beginning to brown, watching closely and removing eggplant slices as needed if cooking too quickly, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove baking sheet from oven and cool eggplant while preparing filling.
- Sautee crushed garlic in olive oil; add spinach and cook until wilted and water has evaporated. Set aside and let cool.
- Whisk eggs and pinch of coarse salt in medium bowl. Stir in spinach, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, herbs, and black pepper.
- Lightly oil 8x8" glass baking dish. Spread half of tomato sauce evenly over bottom of dish. Divide spinach-ricotta filling among eggplant slices, placing about 1 heaping tablespoon filling in center of each. Starting at 1 short end of each, loosely roll up eggplant slices, enclosing filling. Arrange rolls, seam side down, atop sauce in baking dish. Spoon remaining tomato sauce over. Place mozzarella slices in single layer over rolls. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with foil and chill.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake eggplant Parmesan rolls, covered with foil, until heated through, about 30 minutes if freshly made or 40 minutes if refrigerated. Uncover and bake until brown in spots and sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.