A healthier twist to the traditional Eggplant Parmesan. I switched breadcrumbs with quinoa and chia seeds. I have never tried Quinoa so far and was quite unsure of what to expect. I must say I am now a Quinoa convert!
Quinoa are grain like seeds of the quinoa plant found in the Andes and of all whole grains, it has the highest protein content. It takes only 10-15 mins to cook and it tastes yummy just by adding a few seasonings. And because Quinoa contains 9 essential amino acids, it is a complete protein suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family and are a very good source of healthy Omega 3 fatty acids and fiber. These super seeds are very versatile and because it does not alter the flavor of the food they are put in, it can be sprinkled on almost anything - salads, cereals and even ice cream!
The end result of making this dish is a crunchy, flavorful tomato based Italian dish. There are no carbs in this dish. Why not add in al dente pasta in the middle? Or serve this with mashed potatoes?
Ingredients ( Serves 6 as a side dish)
I big Eggplant, sliced thinly and soaked in salted water for 10 mins
2 tbsp EVOO plus extra for roasting eggplant slices
1 cup low fat Mozerella Cheese
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup quinoa
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
12 oz marinara sauce
2 cups spinach
Freshly ground pepper
Extra basil leaves for garnishing
Preheat oven to 400 Deg F and get a rectangle deep baking dish of 10 in by 7 in ready.
Brush both sides of eggplant with EVOO and roast in the oven on a separate baking tray for 12-15 mins till they are tender.
Meanwhile, mix the mozzarella cheese with 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and set aside.
Take another mixing bowl and mix the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan, quinoa, chia seeds, fresh basil and freshly ground pepper and set aside.
Now for the assembling.
Spread half of the marinara sauce on the baking dish
Arrange 1/2 of the roasted eggplant slices and 1 cup spinach on top and then layer with half of the mozzarella, parmesan and basil mix.
Repeat with the remaining marinara, roasted eggplant slices, the remaining 1 cup spinach and the remaining mozzarella mix.
Top with the quinoa, chia seeds mix and bake until brown for about 25-30mins.