Crispy, healthy baked eggplant made perfect for an appetizer before a great dinner or as a light meal. I often have days where for dinner I prefer to have something light and nutritious, because I know I won’t be as active after dinner as I would be after lunch. A light meal such as these crispy baked eggplants along with a tossed salad is perfect and completely satisfying. The best part is you don’t have to feel guilty about not going for that power walk after dinner for one day, and enjoy a quite evening with your family watching a movie and eating some air popped popcorn, one of my favourite snacks I might add.
One of the most important steps to making a great eggplant anything is drenching the fruit before you cook it. Drenching means to cut/slice the eggplant then place it in a colander and allow for the natural excess fluid to drain from it, this allows for dishes to be full of flavour and not soggy. I like to slice the eggplant, place in a colander sprinkle with a little sea salt, place a dish over top and then place something heavy in the dish like a full jar of pickles so there is some weight on the eggplant to help release the excess fluid.
Did you know that eggplants are actually fruit, not a vegetable. I think most people confuse vegetables and fruits simply on the fact of sweetness, since most fruit is sweet, you naturally think all fruit is sweet. The fruit family are editable food made from the ovary of a flower that has been pollinated. All fruits also contain seeds, such as apples, pears, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, beans and peas. Vegetables are formed by parts of a plant such as the stem, leaf or root, they are not formed by flowers or contain any seeds in them, such as lettuce, potato, beets and cabbage. If you have never grown potatoes before, all you have to do is dig a hole, plant a potato and watch the potato plants grow. When you are ready to harvest them you will see the train of new potatoes you have been able to grow from one potato, so amazing.
- 1 medium size eggplant
- 4 tbsp. Greek plain yogurt
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. sweet chilli pepper
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1-1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 3-4 tbsp. parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup light ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup tomato sauce
- Wash and slice eggplant about 1/4″ thick, and slice it cross wise to get circles. Place sliced eggplant into a strainer season with sea salt and allow it to sit for at least one hour. This process allows for the eggplant to release extra fluids. This process is called dredging.
- Pre-heat oven to 350F, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Once eggplant is ready, place bread crumbs into a bowl and set aside.
- Place yogurt, Dijon mustard, sweet chili seasoning, nutmeg and parmesan cheese into another large bowl, mix till all ingredients are well blended.
- Remove eggplant from strainer and coat them in small batches at a time in the yogurt mixture than toss them in the whole wheat bread crumbs, making sure both sides are coated well.
- Place the eggplant on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
- While the eggplant is baking you can heat up the tomato sauce, I make my own homemade tomato sauce, you can use your own fresh recipe, which is always better or a ready-made store-bought sauce.
- Remove the eggplant from oven turn all of them over, place back into the oven and bake for another 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven, place eggplant onto a serving dish. Place a tsp. full of tomato sauce in the centre of each eggplant, than top with a tsp. of ricotta cheese, sprinkle with a dash of parmesan cheese and a shake of black pepper. Serve warm