By Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RDN, CD ---Jackson In Action Communications Director
Eggplant is the celebrated vegetable this July and it’s time to include this purple healthy eating sensation on the menu. The name eggplant simply describes its shape—not it’s nutrition value, which is very low in calories and carbohydrates. Harvest of the Month is a Jackson County initiative that highlights a different produce item every month. July features eggplant cooking demos on WEAU-TV 13, Eau Claire, Wisconsin and a taste-testing event at Black River Memorial Hospital. A video of each Harvest of the Month recipes is also available at www.brmh.net/recipes. Fresh eggplant baked with herbs, marinara sauce and cheese is the featured recipe during these dates and locations:
· WEAU-TV-13 Wed. July 12, 4 p.m. Newscast. “Eggplant” live cooking demo with Black River Memorial Hospital Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RDN,CD.
· BRMH Hospital - Harvest of the Month Eggplant Event –Thurs. July 26, 11:30am – 12:30 pm. Black River Memorial Hospital Café, Black River Falls, Wisconsin.
Eggplant is best baked, sautéed or stir-fried and It has a mild flavor and will absorb the seasoning that is utilized. Our “Eggplant Parmesan Bake” recipe this month has a traditional Italian flavors with oregano,garlic, marinara sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan. Eggplants are cut in half into edible “boats” that hold sautéed eggplant, sauce and topped with melted cheese. It’s super easy and is fun to prepare.”
Eggplant nutrition: A half cup of cooked eggplant has only 20 Calories and provides a wide variety of nutrients as well as fiber.
8 Ways to Cook with Eggplant
- Bake it: Cut the eggplant into strips and bake them; or slice into rounds, add a breaded or spiced coating, and bake for the beginning of eggplant Parmesan or a simple side dish.
- 2. Mash into a dip.
- 3. Roast it.
- 4. Toss it with pasta.
- 5. Grill it.
- 6. Stir-fry it.
- 7. Stuff it.
- 8. Braise it.
Harvest of the Month
Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RDN, CD is Communications Director for Jackson In Action and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Black River Memorial Hospital. She develops B-WELLthy Harvest of the Month recipes and videos and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.
Eggplant Parmesan Bake
- PREP TIME: 20 MINUTES
- TOTAL TIME: 70 MINUTES
Makes 8 Servings (2/3 c. each)
- 1 1/2 c. marinara sauce, divided
- 2 medium eggplants, halved
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tsp. dried oregano (or 1 Tbsp. fresh)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 c. chopped tomatoes
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella, divided
- 1 c. freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/4 c. Italian bread crumbs
- 1/4 c. basil or parsley, minced
Method: Preheat oven to 350°.
Spread about 1 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a medium baking dish.
Using a paring knife and spoon, hollow out the eggplants leaving about a 1/2” thick border around skin to create a boat. Roughly chop scooped out eggplant.
Drizzle 1 c. marina sauce in baking dish and place eggplant boats on sauce.
In a large skillet over medium temp., heat olive oil. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in chopped eggplant and season with oregano, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the eggplant is golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a bowl.
To the bowl with the eggplant mixture, add chopped tomatoes, egg, 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella, and ½ cup marinara. Mix until just combined. Scoop mixture into eggplant boats. Top with remaining mozzarella, Parmesan and bread crumbs. Finish with dollops of the remaining marinara sauce.
Bake until the eggplants are tender and the cheese has melted, about 50 minutes (test with a fork). Garnish with basil and serve warm. Makes 8 Servings
(See recipe video at www.brmh.net/recipes).
Harvest of the Month is a partnership between Jackson County Department of Health and Human Services, Black River Memorial Hospital, Together for Jackson County Kids, Ho-Chunk Nation, UW Extension-Jackson County, Lunda Community Center, Boys and Girls Club, Hansen’s IGA, local school districts, The Library and the community.