Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours
2 medium eggplants, about 1 1/2-2 pounds total
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
olive oil mister (or nonstick spray)
1 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg white
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning
5 cups baby spinach
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese plus 1/4 cup additional for topping
4 cups prepared marinara sauce (no sugar added)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Slice eggplant into 1/4-inch slices. Place on a large baking sheet fitted with a baking rack. Sprinkle with half the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and spray lightly with an olive oil mister. Bake for 10 minutes, and then flip over the slices. Season the second side with the remaining garlic, another 1/4 teaspoon of salt and spray with olive oil. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until slices are tender, but not falling apart, and then allow to cool enough to handle. Lower the oven temperature to 350 F.
Meanwhile, mix together in a small bowl the ricotta, egg white, Parmesan cheese, Italian herb seasoning, black pepper and remaining salt. Spray the inside of a medium-sized baking or casserole dish. Place 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce at the bottom of the pan.
Layer in order: half the eggplant, half the ricotta cheese, half the spinach, half the 1 cup of mozzarella, half the (remaining) sauce. Repeat the layers, ending with sauce. Top with remaining 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Cover with oven safe lid or with foil (spray lightly with oil to avoid sticking), and bake until hot and bubbly, about 45 minutes, removing cover halfway through the baking time. Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.
Chef’s Tip: The dish will firm up as it cools, if you are trying to cut neater squares.
Nutrition information per serving: 236 calories; 99 calories from fat; 11 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 28 mg cholesterol; 855 mg sodium; 19 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 9 g sugar; 16 g protein.
Melissa d’Arabian, Associated Press