Dinner in minutes

Cubing eggplant cuts cooking time for Italian classic


Main dish

Stovetop Eggplant Parmesan

3/4 pound eggplant (about 4 1/2 cups cubed)

Vegetable oil spray

2 cups chopped frozen onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 cups low-sodium crushed tomatoes

Several drops hot pepper sauce

1 cup part-skim milk ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons skim milk

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Heat broiler. Wash eggplant; do not peel. Cut into pieces about 1/2-inch thick by 1-inch.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with vegetable oil spray. Brown eggplant in skillet, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in crushed tomatoes and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a simmer, lower heat to medium, cover and cook 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix ricotta and Parmesan cheeses together. Stir in milk.

When eggplant mixture is finished, add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and spread cheese mixture over the top. Place under the broiler, about 6 inches from the heat to until a golden crust forms, 2 to 3 minutes. Watch to make sure cheese does not burn. Remove from broiler and sprinkle basil on top. Serve with brown rice. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 436 calories (36 percent from fat), 17.6 g fat (9.9 g saturated, 2.8 g monounsaturated), 54 mg cholesterol, 28.2 g protein, 45.6 g carbohydrates, 11.7 g fiber, 510 mg sodium.


When I see large, beautiful eggplants in season now, I think of one of my husband’s favorite dishes, Eggplant Parmesan. It usually takes time to prepare. I created this quick version so we could have it more often.

Cutting the eggplant into small pieces helps it to cook and absorb the sauce flavor in only 20 minutes. Add microwaved brown rice to complete this quick dinner.

This meal contains 656 calories per serving with 34 percent of calories from fat.

Brown rice side dish: Heat a package of microwaveable brown rice according to directions. Measure out 1 1/2 cups (save the rest for another use), and mix it with 2 teaspoons olive oil and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Makes 2 servings.

Fred Tasker’s wine tip: With all those cheeses, this would go well with a nice, big California chardonnay.

Helpful hints

• Use a skillet or casserole that can be placed under the broiler for a few minutes.

Minced garlic can be found in jars in the produce department.


• Heat broiler.

• Start Eggplant Parmesan.

• While eggplant cooks, microwave rice and mix ricotta and Parmesan together.

• Complete eggplant dish.

Shopping list

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for tonight’s Dinner in Minutes.

To buy: 3/4 pound eggplant, 1 package chopped frozen onion, 1 container minced garlic, 1 can low-sodium crushed tomatoes, 1 bottle hot pepper sauce, 1 container part-skim milk ricotta cheese, 1 container grated Parmesan cheese, 1 bunch fresh basil, 1 package microwaveable brown rice.

Staples: Vegetable oil spray, olive oil, skim milk, salt and black peppercorns.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author, most recently, of “Fast and Flavorful: Great Diabetes Meals from Market to Table.” Her website is dinnerinminutes.com. Follow her on Twitter @lgassenheimer.

Read more Dinner In Minutes stories from the Miami Herald

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