I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the best way to get back “on track” after an indulgent weekend or few days is to make a veggie-heavy dinner that’s so delicious it reminds you how good it tastes and feels to eat clean, real food. On my way back to Massachusetts on Monday afternoon, I remembered that I had bought a baby eggplant the week before. Since I hate to waste food, and have been waiting for an excuse to take my dad’s homemade sauce out of the freezer, I decided that eggplant parmesan would be a great meal to make. Per usual, I knew I wanted to doctor up the sauce a bit, so I added in some browned lean hamburger (it was about half the price of ground turkey or ground chicken and it was 85% lean so I went for it) and extra veggies.
To cut back on carbs a bit, I cooked up a small spaghetti squash. This is one of my favorite healthy substitutions because if you have a good sauce and other things to keep your mouth happy, you won’t even notice that you’re not eating pasta! Lastly, a side of baked kale was the finishing piece of the meal… because you can never have too many veggies, right?!
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 1 small-medium eggplant
- sea salt
- approx. 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1-2 eggs
- 1/2-1 cup panko or bread crumbs
- 2 cups of sauce (store bought or homemade)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
- 1/2 lb. lean ground beef (or turkey or chicken)
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1/2 lemon
- herbs and seasonings of your choice
1. Cut open the spaghetti squash, clean out the seeds and put it into a pot of boiling water. Boil for about 15-20 minutes. While that is cooking, place the sauce in a pot and add in the chopped veggies. When the spaghetti squash is cooked, remove from the water and use a fork to shred the squash. Set aside.
2. Brown the beef and add that to the sauce and veggies.
3. Clean and cut up the kale (removing the stems) and massage with about 4 tbsp. of EVOO, the juice of 1/2 a lemon and herbs/seasonings of your choice. Place in a baking dish and set aside.
4. Preheat the oven to 350*. Cut up the eggplant into 1/4-1/2″ slices and place on a paper towel. Sprinkle some sea salt onto one side and let sit for a few minutes. Flip the slices over and sprinkle more salt on them. I heard that this helps to remove some of the excess moisture in the eggplant- anyone know more about this?
5. Heat a pan with a little EVOO. Scramble an egg in one bowl and put the panko/breadcrumbs in the other bowl. Place the eggplant slices into the egg and then into the panko/breadcrumbs and then onto the warm pan. Cook on each side for about 3-5 minutes.
6. When each side of the eggplant slice has browned, place a small spoonful of sauce and a sprinkle of cheese onto each and bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Place the kale in the oven as well, stirring halfway through.
7. Serve yourself a bowl of spaghetti squash, topped with the meat/veggie sauce and eggplant medallions and a side of kale. Enjoy!
This meal was so delicious and can be simplified even more by replacing spaghetti squash for regular spaghetti and skipping the breading process on the eggplant. I just had time and love being in the kitchen so I went all out!
Questions for you: Do you like eggplant parmesan? Do you make your own sauce? What’s your favorite green veggie?