Lighter Eggplant Parmesan

I tricked lobster tonight and made a "healthy" eggplant parmesan and it was num num. I replaced all of the ricotta with extra firm tofu and he didn't even realize it was in there. The tofu gives a similar consistency as the ricotta and combined with all the melted cheese, you can't distinguish one from the other. (Much like this recipe) I also added half a small container which was probably about 3 oz of Tofutti cream cheese to make it extra probably a little less healthier b/c of that :) I also deviated from the recipe a bit and didn't make the tomato sauce from scratch. Instead, I took a bottle of Classico Sweet Basil jarred sauce, two cans of diced tomatoes, reduced down to the consistency I wanted and adjusted the seasonings with S&P, dried basil, oregano, and italian seasonings. For the last few minutes I also popped this under the broiler to get the cheese extra crispy. This eggplant parmesan was very tasty and tastes even better the next day when all the flavors have gotten better acquainted.

I also made a side of roasted cauliflower. If you've never had roasted cauliflower you should definetely try this. Lobster was equally intrigued b/c roasting them at such a high temperature gives the cauliflower a nutty taste, almost like popcorn. Okay, that might be a FAAAR stretch but you'll have to try it and see for yourself. I simply roasted it with some sliced garlic, sprayed PAM, sprinkled with pepper and threw them in a 450F oven on the top rack of the oven for 15 minutes or until they get brown and crispy. AFTER I pulled the cauliflower out of the oven I THEN sprinkled some salt on top. I waited till the last minute to sat them b/c I read if you wait till after you roast them it retains their crunch and speeds up caramelizing...theory tested and approved. Num num in my belly :D

Lighter Eggplant Parmesan - 6 servings - 250 per serving
Adapted from here

• 1 large eggplant (2 lbs)
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 12 oz fat free ricotta (10 oz extra firm tofu and 1/2 container of Tofutti OR 14 oz extra firm tofu)
• 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Pecorino Romano
• 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
• 1 egg
• 2 cups reduced fat mozzarella (I used Sargento)
• 3 cups homemade tomato sauce

Start by making the sauce if you don't have one any already made.

Tomato sauce
• 2 (28 oz) cans imported tomatoes (Tuttoroso)
• 3 cloves garlic, smashed
• 1 tbs olive oil
• 1/2 large onion finely chopped
• 1 cup carrots, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup fat free chicken stock
• fresh basil

Saute garlic in oil, add onions and carrots and saute on medium-low for about 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add tomatoes and chicken broth and simmer 45 minutes on low.

Add fresh basil last 10 minutes (herbs will become bitter if cooked more than 20 minutes). Julia always adds herbs into the sauce near the end.

Taste for acidity, if sauce is a bit tangy (acidic) then add 1 tbsp of sugar. For a calorie free way to cut the acidity in the sauce add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.

While the sauce simmers, slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices. Lightly salt the slices and put in a colander to release excess moisture for about 1/2 hour. Lay on paper towels to soak up any extra moisture.

Preheat oven to 450°. Brush eggplant lightly with olive oil on both sides and place on cookie sheets. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning half way through until eggplant is golden brown.

In a medium bowl combine ricotta, egg, parsley and 1/4 cup of grated cheese.

In a 9x12 baking dish, put a little sauce on the bottom of the dish and put a layer of eggplant to cover the bottom of the dish. Top with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese and sauce. Add another layer of eggplant and repeat the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and sauce until everything is used up. Top with sauce and the mozzarella cheese and the remaining grated cheese.

Cover with foil and bake until cheese is melted and everything is bubbling, about 30 minutes at 400°. Remove foil and bake an additional 8-10 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it sit about 10 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!