Noodle-Less Crockpot Eggplant Parmesan

Jun 30th

Although a lot of people swear by their slow cookers, I’ve had as many good experiences as bad—so needless to say I’m a bit cautious. I find that vegetables tend to steam in the Crock Pot, and limp, colorless veggies are so not my jam. If you can relate, I hope that my Crock Pot reservations will convince you that if I’m posting this recipe, it must be worth your time.

I actually have two eggplant-lasagna recipes on Home Beccanomics, but the calorie counts aren’t included (on purpose). You see, those recipes include noodles, and noodles tend to be a major player in the calorie game. This trimmed up noodle-free version creates layers with sliced eggplant and packs major flavor into the cheese with sharp Parmesan and fragrant fresh basil. Yes, digging into a hot, saucy, cheesy bowl of Italian food is possible for the calorie conscious.

One word of warning: Basil turns army green once heated, especially if heated for six-plus hours. So if you’re serving this dish to someone other than yourself, garnish with Parmesan and fresh basil with a heavy hand. Once they’ve taken the first bite they won’t mind the muted color in the least.

Slow-Cooker Noodleless Eggplant Lasagna
Serves six

1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 c. low-fat ricotta cheese
1 c. low-fat cottage cheese
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 egg
1 egg white
½ c. packed fresh basil leaves
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ c. grated low-fat mozzarella cheese
3 c. jarred marinara sauce
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes*
1 large eggplant, trimmed and sliced into ¼ c. thick rounds
*If you enjoy a spicy kick, sprinkle crushed red pepper over each sauce layer.

1. Spray the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick spray.
2. In a food processor or blender, puree parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese garlic, egg, egg white, basil, pepper and salt until smooth.
Stir in mozzarella cheese and set aside.
3. Pour enough sauce to coat the bottom of the slow cooker and cover with eggplant rounds, overlapping.

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4. Spread half of the cheese mixture over eggplant, then cover with sauce and another layer of eggplant.

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Repeat with the rest of the cheese mixture and a final layer of eggplant. Cover with the rest of your sauce and cook on low, about 7 hours.

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5. Thirty minutes before serving, turn heat to high and remove lid – cook until liquid evaporates.
6. Serve, topped with more cheese and torn fresh basil leaves, if desired.

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Per serving: 225 calories, 9.9 fat grams (including 5.2 grams saturated fat), 56 milligrams cholesterol, 679 milligrams sodium, 16.1 grams carbs, 3.8 grams dietary fiber, 7.1 grams sugar, 19.3 grams protein. 

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