Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross

Say arrivederci to heavy, greasy Eggplant Parmesan.

Kathy Kitchens Downie, RD
September 29, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan, the Italian-American dish of baked eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheese is a classic crowd-pleasing favorite. What's not to love? Fried-eggplant goodness is buried under piles of gooey cheese, with the tangy counterpoint of the tomato. While a delicious combination, this dish knows no nutritional boundaries—a single serving has enough saturated fat and almost enough sodium for a whole day! Talk about a dish that could stand to lose a few.

Fortunately, we've found a way to indulge while keeping your waistline in check. To walk this recipe back, we dredge eggplant slices in crispy, whole-wheat panko, then bake them to crunchy, meaty perfection. Leaner part-skim ricotta is jazzed up with garlic, crushed red pepper, basil, and cheese. Thinly sliced mozzarella stretches our cheese budget, while gourmet jarred pasta sauce streamlines the method. This tasty casserole loses the heaviness, not to mention the grease, of the old standard. You'll even have room for dessert.

Classic Recipe:

  • 1,053 calories per serving
  • 30.4 grams saturated fat
  • 1,965 milligrams sodium
  • Deep-fried eggplant
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 4+ pounds cheese

Our Makeover:

  • 318 calories per serving
  • 8.2 grams saturated fat
  • 655 milligrams sodium
  • Baked breaded eggplant
  • Whole-wheat panko
  • 1 3/4 pounds cheese

Get the Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan

Perfect for Meatless Mondays or a family-style Italian potluck, our healthier eggplant parmesan recipe is a winner. We recommend using Italian eggplants, as they tend to have less seeds than other varieties. Elevate the recipe by substituting our homemade tomato sauce for store bought. Don't skimp on the fresh basil—it gives a fresh and earthy flavor to the entire dish. Make sure to save enough cheese at the end to sprinkle on top for the final crispy, cheesy layer. Lastly, pair with a seasonal veggie- or fruit-packed salad for a splash of green on the side.

See More: Vegetable and Green Salad Recipes