August 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm
by Irina Gonzalez
It’s been a long time since I’ve made a truly original slow cooker dish. I haven’t been home a lot this summer and, when I am, I’m still finishing my leftovers from previous slow cooker meals (like the slow cooker vegetablesplit pea soup and the slow cooker Cuban black bean soup). Plus, I’ve been perfectly content with my many variations on slow cooker oatmeal. Until now, that is.
I finally decided it was time to try something new and, thanks to some eggplant from my Mother’s garden, I knew just what: slow cooker eggplant Parmesan! And, as always, I wanted to make it a bit healthier.
In putting it together, it reminded me a bit of a lasagna. The dish started with a layer of sauce, then a layer of eggplant slices, followed by a layer of seasoning and cheese. There is a surprise layer, though!
My house started to smell incredible shortly after and I couldn’t wait to open this one up. I waited patiently, though, until it was done in all of its melted goodness. All I had to do was pair it with some simple pasta and, voila!
Slow Cooker Eggplant Parmesan (based on this recipe by Eat Well! Live Well!)
Makes: 6 portions
Prep: 20 minutes
Slow Cook: 8 hours on Low
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced into rings
5 cups tomato sauce, such as slow cooker spinach tomato sauce
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 bunch spinach, stems cut off
1/2 15oz. ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Using a ladle, pour in about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce or about enough to cover the bottom 1/2 inch of your slow cooker.
2. Place a layer of sliced eggplant, cutting pieces in half to accommodate it fully. Sprinkle on a tablespoon of Italian breadcrumbs, a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese, about a teaspoon of oregano, a teaspoon of parsley and a teaspoon of basil.
3. Using the ladle, cover the eggplant/seasonings layer with tomato sauce. Repeat the eggplant process for the second layer, then cover with more sauce.
4. Take your spinach leaves and make a layer of spinach over the second layer of eggplant and seasoning. Then, using a spoon, scoop out chunks of ricotta cheese and place them on top of the lettuce. Scoop another layer of sauce on top.
5. Finally, lay on another serving of eggplant, seasoning and sauce. Top it with the shredded Parmesan cheese
6. Cover the slow cooker and set it for 8 hours on Low.
7. Once done, sprinkle with the leftover shredded parmesan and cut into serving-sized portions and serve alongside your favorite pasta.
Have you ever made a healthier slow cooker dish? What’s your favorite slow cooker Italian meal? Share with us in the comments below!