EGGPLANT PARMESAN AND FARRO BAKE
I love a Eggplant Parmesan, but pasta is a processed grain I try to limit. I will sometimes make eggplant parm over polenta, but I wanted to change things up. So, I made whole grain, crunchy farro and mixed tomatoe and arugula with it to use as a base. Feel free to play with grain, veggies and herbs to see what works for you and your family. I like the sweetness of tomato with crunchy nuttiness of farro and sharp, bitter zip of arugula. What combo do you like? Play with flavors- I dare you!
1 cup uncooked Farro (rinse and cook as directed- 2 cups water, boil for 10 minutes).
1 glove garlic minced
1-2 cups baby arugula or kale
16 oz can diced tomatoes (no salt/ organic)
1-2 cups baby spinach
8-12 breaded eggplant cutlet round **(see below for breaking eggplant) or, short cut… Time saver cheat- use frozen Eggplant cutlets from Trader Joes. (I keep package stocked in my freezer).
1 cup crushed tomato sauce
1 cup grated Italian cheese mix: Mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano, Asiago…
In a sauce pan, cook the Farro according to package. When the liquid is almost all absorbed, (about 10 minutes), add diced tomatoes, garlic and arugula to farro and mix well. Pour Farro mixture into a baking dish or casserole dish and layer bottom with mix. Spread baby spinach leaves over the top, then start to layer eggplant cutlets on top. Pour crushed tomatoe sauce over top, evenly distributing sauce over eggplant. Top with grated cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
For Fresh Eggplant Cutlets:
1 1/2 cups flour or panko breadcrumbs.
1/4 cup Olive Oil to fry
1-2 eggplants, partially peeled, remove top. Using a mandolin, (or a sharp knife) slice eggplant into 1/8-1/4 inch thick rounds. Lay rounds on paper towel, gently salt both sides and cover with paper towel. Press on paper lined rounds gently for a minute to remove excess moisture. Rinse rounds to remove salt and pat dry on towel.
Wisk an egg in a shallow bowl.
Mix 1- 1 1/2 cups either panko bread crumbs or flour of choice (I use spelt flour). Add pinch salt and pepper to flour mix. Dredge eggplant rounds in egg mix, then flour mix, coating all sides. Place in heated pan with 1/2 inch olive oil heated over medium heat. Fry cutlets, brown each side, then drain oil by placing on paper towel lined plate. Use these cutlets or freeze some for another day.