October 1st was World Vegetarian Day and the whole month of October is Vegetarian Awareness Month. So, I’ve pulled my Baked Eggplant Parmigiana from the Archives to share. What better way to kick start off Vegetarian Awareness Month than with a little piece of my heritage!
I’m Italian on my father’s side. My grandmother was from Termini Imerese in the Sicilian Islands and my grandfather was from Campobasso.
On my mother’s side, my grandmother was American Indian (Cherokee) and my grandfather English. We spent more time with my Italian relatives, so I grew up eating mostly Italian Sunday Suppers. Although my grandmother was Indian, she lived in the south and ended up with a knack for making the best macaroni and cheese and biscuits and gravy you ever had.
My absolute favorite dish of my Italian grandmother’s was her eggplant parmigiana. Of course, she fried the eggplant in lots of oil, so I’ve made mine healthier by using fresh bread and baking the eggplant. I also added some protein by using a white bean marinara sauce. Lastly, because they are small, they are quicker to tenderize, so I’ve switched the recipe to the Japanese eggplant (don’t tell her….she’ll probably roll over!).
After slicing the eggplant, place it in a colander and salt it. Leave it sit for 30 minutes. This will pull the excess moisture out and keep your recipe from being soggy. Pat each piece dry before moving to the dredging stage.
Pulse your bread in a food processor type machine of your choice. Add Parmesan cheese and Italian seasonings.
Dredge the eggplant in almond milk and then the breadcrumb/Parmesan mixture.
Place on an olive oil sprayed aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Broil for 3-4 minutes on each side.
Begin layering the dish. Place marinara sauce on bottom, followed by eggplant, then marinara, then cheese. Continue layering until baking dish is filled.
Top with cheese. Bake for 15 minutes.
Of course, if you’re Italian nothing goes better with eggplant than a side of pasta! I like to serve this dish with my Ratouille Bolognese for all Vegetarian meal!