From the AICR Test Kitchen
Week of October 1, 2012
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744
Cheesy Eggplant Casserole
American Institute for Cancer Research
The summer is over and new routines can mean hectic schedules with little time to create great tasting healthy meals. This wonderful casserole, featuring eggplant, can help. The term casserole comes from the French for saucepan, meaning you cook it in a single container allowing all the flavors to mingle.
Eggplant is popular in international cuisines like Indian, Italian and French, but it’s underused in the United States. Incorporate these purplish garden gems into your home meals more often, starting with smart buying. Simply avoid huge eggplant. Instead choose firm small to medium fruit with blemish-free skin.
Coating the eggplant slices with flour allows them to remain a pleasing firm texture. Layering the eggplant and vegetables with creamy cheeses creates a satisfying casserole loaded with Mediterranean flavor.
To complete your meal, add something fresh, like a tossed green salad with lettuce and sliced cucumbers topped with shredded carrots. Then sprinkle on some extra virgin olive oil and vinegar or fresh lemon juice and dinner is served.
Cheesy Eggplant Casserole
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 small to medium eggplants, peeled and sliced, about 1/2-inch thickness
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 bell pepper (red or green) diced
- 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
- 2 cups no-salt added tomato puree
- 1 (14-oz.) can no-salt added diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
- 1¼ cups shredded, low-fat mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle salt over eggplant and set aside.
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Sauté onions, pepper, mushrooms, and garlic until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add seasoning, tomato pureé and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 22 minutes.
Coat eggplant with flour, front and back. Coat skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add eggplant slices in batches and cook, covered, until browned, turning once – about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
In a 7 x 11-inch casserole dish, spread about 1 cup sauce. Add a layer of eggplant. Top with 1 cup cottage cheese, more sauce and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Repeat again, placing a layer of sauce on top. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake uncovered, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 258 calories, 9 g total fat (4 g saturated fat), 24 g carbohydrate,
21 g protein, 7 g dietary fiber, 600 mg sodium.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $100 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.
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