Eggplant Parm w/ Fresh Tomato Sauce
Eggplant parm is a classic comfort food and there are a million recipes out there (I know, I've tried many of them). This recipe is a mix of the best of those, it's simple, delicious and bonus, Havana loves it. I mean what baby (& adult) doesn't love pasta? I make my own tomato sauce for this but by all means feel free to use store bought. I've done this on numerous occasions when I'm short on time but make sure you're checking the label as jarred sauces can be quite high in sodium.
1 pack of cherry tomatoes (roughly 8-10)
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 an onion
2 handfuls of fresh oregano
olive oil (to toss everything in)
a couple of sprigs of fresh parsley
Roughly chop the ingredients above, toss in olive oil and roast in the oven on a sheet pan on med heat for roughly 30-40 minutes. Then just throw everything in a blender and blend until you have a saucy consistency!
1 block of fresh mozzarella
2 handfuls of spinach
Cheddar Cheese (optional, I like to top mine with it)
1/2 cup of flour
1 tbsp of garlic powder
salt & pepper
drizzle of olive oil
Pasta - whatever type you'd like to serve over
About 30 minutes before you start cooking, cut your eggplant in slices and sprinkle with salt (I do this in a colander in the sink) This removes excess moisture (no one want soggy eggplant parm). Rinse the salt off with cold water then pat dry with a kitchen cloth or paper towel. Lightly dust in flour & garlic powder and fry in a pan with olive oil for about 30 seconds on each side.
Now you simply assemble in a baking dish! Layer sauce, parmesan, spinach, mozzarella & parmesan - repeat. On the top layer sprinkle with cheddar and salt & pepper. Cover and bake for 25-30 min on med/high. Remove the cover and bake until golden brown (roughly another 10 minutes).
You can absolutely eat this on it's own but I just feel it needs to go over pasta. Havana's favourite is Spaghetti so that's my go-to (we get messy with this one, but we love a good messy meal over here!).
Aunty Angie loves eggplant because they're a great source of vitamins & minerals (magnesium, vitamin c, k & b6, the list goes on...) It helps with digestion, improves heart health and contains manganese which is a natural antioxidant (which is your body's best defence against diseases). It also increases brain function due to its phytonutrients which have been known to improve mental health. All this & more from a pretty little aubergine...yes please.