Meatless Monday: Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo

With swimsuit season fast approaching, the beau and I have decided to take dieting a little more seriously.   Portions will be smaller and pasta, potatoes, and rice will be taking a backseat to heaping helpings of veggies. That also means “Wing Wednesday” will be on hiatus for a while.

In case you haven’t already heard of “Meatless Monday”, it’s not something I invented.  “Meatless Monday” is a movement geared towards encouraging people to forego at least one meat-centered meal a week.  It’s by no means meant to convert anyone to vegetarianism, rather, it’s to expose people to the health and global benefits of a diet more evenly balanced between meat and plants.  See the video below to learn a little more about it or visit the Meatless Monday website:

I’ve taken the Meatless Monday pledge and will be consciously planning one or two meals a week that don’t involve meat.  And because I believe in the movement, I’ve decided to spread the word and feature Meatless Monday meal options from now on.  This week’s featured dish: Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo.  The recipe is featured in the May 2014 issue of Cooking Light magazine.

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Cooking Light magazine, May 2014

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Cooking Light magazine, May 2014

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour *
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 large eggs *
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs *
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano *
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or shredded *
  • 1 15 oz. can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes *
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

* I took liberties with the original recipe.  See original recipe here.

Preparation

  • Arrange oven rack 10 inches below broiler element. Preheat broiler to high.
  • Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and return to pan. Add parsley, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss.
  • While orzo cooks, cut top and bottom off eggplant. Partially peel eggplant lengthwise with a vegetable peeler, leaving long purple stripes. Cut eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place flour in a shallow dish. Combine 1 teaspoon water and eggs in another shallow dish, stirring with a whisk. Combine panko, oregano, and Parmigiano-Reggiano in another shallow dish.
Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

  • Dredge eggplant in flour, dip in egg mixture, and dredge in panko mixture, gently pressing mixture to adhere. Arrange on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat tops of eggplant slices with cooking spray.
Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

  • Broil 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned and tender but firm. Top evenly with diced tomatoes and mozzarella; broil 1 minute or until cheese melts and begins to browns.
Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

  • Arrange 1/2 cup orzo mixture on each plates; top each serving with 2-3 eggplant slices. Sprinkle evenly with pepper.
Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

 

If you’re wondering how I managed to get the cheese to melt in a perfect little circle on each slice of eggplant: I bought sliced mozzarella cheese from the grocery store and used a large circular cookie cutter to cut out circles of cheese. I figured it’d be more aesthetically pleasing that way. It’s still got nothing on the perfection photographed by the Cooking Light professionals, though. So to do the dish justice I made sure to include the photo from the magazine.  Bon appétit!

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2 thoughts on “Meatless Monday: Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo

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  2. Pingback: Meatless Monday: Mediterranean-Style Stuffed Eggplant | Accounting for Taste

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