Are you craving a scrumptious and comforting Italian classic, but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen? Well, I have the perfect recipe for you – my Lazy-Girl Easy Eggplant Parmesan! A soft and flavorful eggplant topped with a luscious tomato sauce, aromatic breadcrumbs, and gooey melted cheese, ready in less than 40 minutes and way healthier than the traditional version.
Ready to discover one of my staple Summer appetizer recipes?
Lazy Gals Eggplant Parmesan: a staple Summer recipe! 🌞
Eggplant Parmesan, also known as “Parmigiana di Melanzane,” is one of my favorite Italian dishes, featuring breaded and fried eggplant slices, layered with a rich marinara sauce and mountains of melted cheese. To put it simply, it’s a hearty and satisfying meal that’s sure to please even the pickiest eaters!
However, the traditional version can be a bit time-consuming to make, involving multiple steps and quite a bit of effort. Plus, it’s not really the most balanced meal out there, especially when comes to its fat and protein content -the first being relatively high, while the second is a bit too low.
A True Life-Saver!
That’s where my easy eggplant parmesan recipe comes to the rescue! A simplified and time-saving version that still delivers all the mouthwatering flavors you crave, but for way fewer calories and fats. Plus, these stuffed eggplants are rich in precious nutrients, including fiber from the veggies and protein from the lean ground turkey and the cheese.
In addition, it’s an extremely versatile recipe, a true life-saver in case of last-minute gatherings and dinners. I love to serve it both as a light appetizer or as a main course, coupled with some sourdough bread or a crunchy salad, such as my Cold Broccoli Salad with Pear Vinaigrette.
I personally love to eat this lazy gal parmesan the day after, as all the flavors are better blended together. Plus, you can easily make an additional portion and keep it in the fridge for when you don’t have time to cook. And, what’s even better is that my kids love it too, and I couldn’t be happier as I know that it’s complete in all the micro and macronutrients they need to stay full and energized for a couple of hours!
Easy Eggplant Parmesan: a bomb of flavor and nutrition! 💣
Before we dive into the recipe, let’s briefly talk about the nutritional benefits of my Lazy Girl Eggplant Parmesan. As mentioned above, my version of the Italian “melanzane alla parmigiana” is way richer in protein, but lower in fats and calories than the traditional one.
Here are 3 reasons why my lazy gals parmesan is more nourishing than the OG Italian version.
1. Lots of fiber and micronutrients
While eggplants are naturally high in fiber and precious micronutrients, particularly nasunin, which may help protect our cells from oxidative damage, using minimal oil (this oil sprayer can help with that) and baking them -instead of frying- helps improve the overall nutritional profile of the dish without sacrificing the taste.
2. Less processed oils and sugars, and way more proteins
The same goes for my super flavorful homemade tomato sauce. Instead of opting for high-in-sugar, store-bought condiments, I made a super flavorful sauce myself using minimal ingredients and keeping the oil and sugar content in check. (As a base, I used my delicious Oil-free Pizza Sauce). Plus, I decided to add some lean ground turkey (not provided in the original recipe) -which can be omitted or swapped with some ground soy mince for a vegetarian version- for some extra protein.
3. More wholesome ingredients
Last but not least, you can opt for some whole-grain breadcrumbs, which provide more fiber and nutrients compared to their refined counterparts. Or use part-skim mozzarella and freshly grated Parmesan (instead of highly processed hard, industrial cheeses) to keep the fat content in check while still enjoying all the melty goodness!
All of this is to say that eating healthy is extremely easy if you know how to do it!
If you liked this recipe, you might also want to try these scrumptious Eggplant Parmesan Bites, air-fried and extremely nourishing.
Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends, and follow my socials for more lazy gals, healthy recipes, and easy-to-follow nutrition tips! 💗
Easy Eggplant Parmesan
- Pre-heat the oven at 425°F (220°C).
- Half the eggplants and place them on a shallow baking dish.
- Lightly salt the eggplant flesh and spray with a light amount of olive oil spray; and then, place them facing down on the baking dish.
- Put the eggplants in the center rack of the oven for about 20 minutes (or until the flesh is soft),
- Meanwhile, mix the breadcrumbs, basil, salt, garlic, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and red pepper in a bag. Alternatively, you can use an Italian seasoning mix.
- Remove the eggplants from the oven, turn them over, and let them sit for a couple of minutes so they can release all excess water. Turn them over and pat them to remove any additional excess water. Remove excess water from the baking sheet.
- Apply a generous amount of seasoned breadcrumbs on the halved eggplants.
- Put them back on the baking pan with the flesh part facing up. Spray a light amount of olive oil over the breadcrumb mixture.
- Place them on the top rack of the oven for an additional 10 minutes -or until the breadcrumbs start to turn slightly golden.
- Remove them from the oven and top them with your tomato sauce (or meat sauce) of choice (see instructions below), the shredded mozzarella cheese, and some grated parmesan.
- Put them back in the oven for a couple of minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
For the tomato sauce:
- Heat a pan over medium with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil.
- Add the ground turkey (optional), the diced onion, and the garlic.
- Cook until the onion is translucent and the meat is brown.
- Add the low-sugar tomato sauce (or my oil-free pizza sauce), and diced tomatoes, and let everything simmer for at least 15 minutes.