Truckee Healthy Now: Eggplant Parmesan rounds rich in flavor, fun | SierraSun.com

Truckee Healthy Now: Eggplant Parmesan rounds rich in flavor, fun

Special to the Sun
The eggplant rounds are also great topped with fresh spinach leaves and sundried tomatoes.
Courtesy Simone Grandmain / TDRPD |

This recipe is a contribution from one of our Fitness Center “snowbirds” — members who fly out of town at the first sight of snow. They can do that at The Community Recreation Center. They can just get a one or two or three month membership at the pool or the gym and then just dig out to Mexico when the temperatures hit the fifties.

They don’t even pay a penalty! You know how most gyms make you commit to a year – sometimes two – and then when life takes you elsewhere, they still bill you? We don’t do that.

Here’s what happens at the Park and Rec’ facilities: members pay for schedules suited to his or her travels or sometimes the change in seasons. The problem with all this highfalutin globetrotting is you will probably miss a TDRPD column — at least the print version — and may suggest a recipe we have (excuse me!) already featured.

This eggplant dish, for instance, sounds very similar to the stuffed mushrooms of a few weeks ago. It is and it isn’t. First of all, eggplant is probably one of the world’s healthiest foods. Yes, better for you, and certainly more filling, than a mushroom. It is loaded with fiber, B vitamins and antioxidants.

One of these antioxidants, nasunin, has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage and is considered a “brain food.” Eggplant has also proven to reduce cholesterol — if you don’t top it with fatty sausage and cheese.

So for this recipe, our snowbird member watched her toppings and the result is a healthy take on eggplant Parmesan. We at TDRPD are so glad — and not bitter or jealous at all — she decided to come back from Bali, use our pool, and share it with us.

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients:

1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

1 tbls. salt

4 cups water

1/2 onion, minced

one 6-oz can tomato paste

1/2 cup tomato sauce (use a favorite brand and flavor i.e. basil)

splash rice wine vinegar

1 and a 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 cup sliced green olives

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 cup lean spicy meat such as turkey pepperoni or lean Italian sausage (cooked and drained), chopped

About 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on at the end

Preparation:

Soak eggplant slices in salted water, this helps to remove any bitterness in the skin. Let sit for about an hour or two. While these are soaking, start your sauce. Combine tomato paste, tomato sauce, onion and vinegar in sauce pan and heat and stir for about ten minutes.

When ready to prepare, preheat oven to 375˚. Drain eggplant, pat dry, and place slices on cookie sheet. Top all slices with a heaping tablespoon of sauce and spread to coat the surface.

Next sprinkle on some cheese to cover surface. Top the cheese with sprinkles of olives, slices of mushrooms and spicy meat. Lastly, sprinkle on grated Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes and let cool about ten minutes before serving.

This column comes courtesy of Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District staff and members, inspiring creative, active lives for a healthy mountain community. For more information on how you can stay in shape during the winter months, visit tdrpd.org.