Like it or not… I LOVE the way most fried food tastes. I know, and Im sorry if i gross you out but come on, how do you not? Fried pickles. Cheese curds. Onion rings. Buffalo wings. I will now wipe up the pool of drool on my keypad. So sometimes I need this fix and I try and try in my own kitchen to figure out how to have it in a more healthful way. These eggplant fries are seriously to die for…and they give me that fried food taste…minus being fried, the grease and icky feeling after eating them. Continue reading
In the process of putting this together last night I wasn’t quite sure what the end result would be. What I did know is that I wanted something that reminded me of my moms zucchini casserole but a little more on the healthful side and I wanted it to be indulgent and light all in one. All I can say is that I will be making this again and again. It was incredibly simple with just a few ingredients and had our protein, veggies and healthy fat all in one delicious dish. Although I have never done so, I would suspect this would be a great dish to put together ahead of time and bake just before you are ready to serve it.
I really felt I was taking a risk by not technically making a cream sauce and just mixing cream and parmesan together to pour over the top of the layers but man, it was a risk well worth taking; it made the process so fast and simple, too.
Here are what the layers look like
eggplant on the bottom
Next goes the ground beef, if using, and the marinara sauce
And last, the parmesan cream mixture and mozzarella
Eggplant Bake with Tomato Cream Sauce
3/4 Pound Ground Beef, browned and drained, optional
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
1/3 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1 3/4 Cup Marinara
3 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, cut into cubes
Preheat oven to 450. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil and place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place in the oven and roast for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until both sides are nicely browned. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
While eggplant is roasting mix cream and parmesan together in a small bowl; stir well to combine.
Turn the oven down to 375 and grease a 9×13 baking dish. Place the eggplant in a layer to cover the bottom of the dish…if the eggplant overlaps a bit that is just fine. Next layer the ground beef, if using and then the marinara. Last pour the parmesan cream mixture over the top and dot the top with mozzarella cubes. Place in the oven and bake, uncovered, until bubbling and the top begins to brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.