Italian Cuisine.

Eggplant Parmigiana – Olive Garden Style.

Eggplant Parmesan with spaghetti.
Eggplant Parmesan with spaghetti.

This has always been a personal favourite of my husband`s and mine especially at the Olive Garden.  It`s always a pleasure to consume the freshly fried crisp pieces of eggplant, fragrant with the aromas of bread crumbs and herbs, soaked in a warm bed of marinara sauce all placed on a heap of softly cooked angel hair or spaghetti. Many times, you would want to recreate the magic at the restaurant, in our very own kitchens. Tonight was one such effort as my husband had bought this amazingly soft Japanese Eggplant from the whole foods store.

All the recipes that  I had watched on food tv more or less required the eggplant to be dredged in an egg wash and then soaked in a pile of bread crumbs and then fried.  I wanted to leave out the egg wash as well as the frying part. So I had to rehash it and make my own recipe based on my knowledge of baking and cooking. I have to mention here, that the end result was astounding!!! It was even better than  the one at Olive Garden, as I had sucessfully recreated the taste sans the eggs and the extra oil from frying!!!

I used fresh ingredients today – Fresh italian flat leaf parsley and fresh strands of thyme. There is definitely a difference cooking with fresh herbs and I am not able to get back to my refridgerated dry herbs. Also when I am putting in a lot of effort in the vegetable, I did not want to start making my own sauce. So I used store bought marinara – this one is really a beauty – Pastorelli’s  Garden Marinara.

INGREDIENTS:

One Japanese Eggplant.

Small springs of fresh thyme.

Italian Parsley chopped.

Garden Marinana Sauce – 3 cups.

Salt

Pepper

Dried Basil.

Bread Crumbs made from a day old bread.

3 spoons of rice flour dissolved in 1/2 cup pf water.

2 spoons of flax powder.

PREPARATION:

  • Preheat the oven to 300 F. Pulse 3 bread slices in your mixer and pop it in a tray and toast it in the oven for 4-5 minutes. Take out and allow to cool.
  • Add salt, flax powder,freshly chopped parsley , freshly chopped thyme and ground pepper and mix it in to the bread crumbs well. Save some of the herbs for later.
Bread crumbs and herbs,.
Bread crumbs and herbs,.
  • Slice the eggplant cross-section in to little circles of about 1 inch width and place them all on a single row on a greased baking tray.
  • Season the eggplants with salt, pepper and basil ON BOTH SIDES after spraying oil on them. This helps the herbs to stick to the eggplants.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F  and roast the eggplants fr about 13-15 minutes depending on the strength of the oven. The eggplants need to be well done.
  • Dissolve the rice flour in to the water and season that also with a little salt and pepper.
  • Line the bread crumbs and the rice flour mix next to each other.
  • Dredge the roasted eggplants in the rice flour mix and then let it sink in to the bread crumbs. Continue with all the eggplant pieces.
Eggplants dredged with herbed bread crumbs .
Eggplants dredged with herbed bread crumbs .
  • Line them again on the tray and bake covered with a foil at 400 F for about 20 minutes. Remove and keep aside.
  • Cook the spaghetti for about 12 minutes as per the instructions on the cover. Keep aside.
  • Take a oven proof dish and line it first with the marinana sauce.
  • Arrange all the roasted eggplants in a single row and then top again with the marinana sauce till they are covered.
  • Add chopped fresh parsley and thyme and sprinkle parmesan cheese and a little of part skim mozzarella.
Eggplant and marinara sauce with cheese drizzled on top.
Eggplant and marinara sauce with cheese drizzled on top.
  • Bake covered with foil for another 20 minutes.
  • Serve the baked eggplants on a bed of spaghetti and serve HOT!!!
  • I make a smaller portion for my husband`s lunch the next day. All it needs is a few minutes in the microwave oven and its as good as out of the oven!!!
  • Here is an amazing dinner with almost no oil, no eggs, only healthy wheat pasta and roasted eggplants.
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23 thoughts on “Eggplant Parmigiana – Olive Garden Style.

  1. You bowled me over! Am glad you came by to visit my blog so that I came upon yours. I always wish I could recreate the restaurant magic at home as I am the one in the family who likes restaurant food where as my husband and son believes in torturing me in the kitchen. One more reason we can’t dine much at the restaurant is that my husband is allergic to egg and at times even though they say that the dish has no egg even a slight brushing of egg triggers the allergy in him. So am glad that you made this beauty without egg and I have tasted the ones at Olive Garden and hoping l can at least do a bit of justice to ur recipe and thanks for giving out the brand name of the sauce…I am one of those ppl who get lost in the supermarket aisle searching for things 🙂

  2. OMG…this is a favorite of mine at Olive garden….I love all their vegetarian recipes…I found a recipe of O’Garden’s ‘secret’ marinara sauce online,and it’s a hit with the eggplant and spaghetti…

    Looks beautiful!

    trupti
    the spice who loved me

  3. Wow Shobha. You really inspire me.All the dishes look wonderful.My passion for cooking was hibernating all these days.After seeing your blog, its awake. I’m going to try out all your recipes.

  4. @ Trupti, you should share your secret marinara sauce recipe with us too…thanks for visiting trupti.

    @ indu the aim of the blog is to inspire at least one person everyday to try out some thing creative and tast in their own kitchens and ultimately feel good about oneself!!!

    Rgds,

    Shobha

  5. “the aim of the blog is to inspire at least one person everyday to try out some thing creative”

    true… though Im not excited to cook yet, but wondering if I should move closer to olive blvd.. it looks great!!

  6. I too ate EP in Olive Garden. Our only complaint about OG is that they use way too much salt. Everything from the breadstick, to the soup, salad and the entree are drenched in salt. So we decided that we are not going there any more. So this is a nice one to try. Baked version sounds healthy and looks good too.

  7. Hi, I tried your eggplant parmigiana recipe and it was great. Your low-fat recipe is awesome! This recipe is definitely a keeper!

    Thanks, Nandini

  8. wow.. you took so much effort and interest in taking pictures and listing out the menu. This recipe is good.. I should try this out one day. Thanks for posting this one and other recipes online.

  9. I want to make this, but I was curious about the amounts of each ingredient you used? It’s very vague, can you clarify please?

  10. hello fellow desi cooking italian! i have not made this yet but do you have tips to make this more desified?

  11. Hi Shahin,

    I am guessing you can add the herbs you want – Cilantro, oregano etc to make it in to a more desi version. You could add panneer but then it would not melt in heat as would cheese!
    Shobha

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