Monday, February 21, 2011

Meatless Monday - Eggplant Lasagna and Braised Collard Greens

Did you know that Mealtess Monday is actually a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns Inc. in association with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future (source taken from Wikipedia).  Meatless Monday was  developed as part of the Healthy Monday Initiative, which encourages Americans to make a commitment in avoiding meat once a week in their diet. Now it is becoming a trend and even some restaurants have picked up on it.

I  know Oprah did. Leave it to Oprah for teaming up with food experts to bring awareness to her viewers the importance of making healthy decisions. I know anything Oprah says or do, it suddenly becomes a huge trend. In this episode as I remember,  Oprah also instituted Meatless Monday at her studio. She got her employees to take on Meatless Monday and it was received with mixed emotions. Some took it seriously (and have lost weight) and some could not wait for it to be over so they can eat meat. LOL!.

In paying homage to Meatless Monday, I share with you two recipes that are worth skipping the meat for once. Before I go on, let me just say that I am not encouraging you not to eat meat. I just want to bring awareness to this campaign as I am also an advocate of healthy eating. But I just can't give up meat yet. lol!

As much as possible, I want to incorporate vegetables in our diet regularly. Although, eating and prepping the same vegetables can get rather bland. I mean you can only eat so much steamed and boiled veggies, right? When I bought these eggplants and collard greens, I had the intention of cooking them differently. Since I haven't had pasta in a long time, I wanted to recreate something familiar (okay if I must have it, from time to time, I will give in). For me anything cooked with pasta and that gooey sauce are one of my comfort food and since I have given up eating anything pasta, I have to be creative and eat something similar. LOL! 

I came up with eggplant lasagna then after brainstorming (yes, I have to visualize and brainstorm what I need to make prior to buying groceries, hehe). A typical lasagna is usually loaded with carbs, fats, sugar, and all that bad stuff for you. In my mind, I wanted to recreate something familiar but with a healthy approach.  The only "fat" I could not eliminate was mozzarella. Mind you, I got the skim/light version though. HAHA!

Does that look like it was made of eggplants to you?
Contessa's Eggplant Lasagna

2 eggplants (organic preferred) sliced thinly crosswise. Probably about 1/4 inches thick.  
3 egg whites beat until frothy in a bowl (mix with a little water)
2 cups of Almond Flour (a healthier substitute for breadcrumbs)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh Basil Leaves
1 can of tomato paste (lower in sodium, but you can use any tomato sauce you have)
2 cups of part skim mozzarella
1 cup of grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Coat your baking sheet with pam nonstick spray. Combine almond flour, parmesan, salt and pepper in a shallow dish.  Dip your eggplant slices into the egg white mixture. Then coat with the almond flour  mixture. Arrange single slices in a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes until crisp and golden. 

In a heated pan, combine chopped basil and tomato paste together until it simmers. You may add a little water to dillute the sauce a little. You may also mix in any pasta tomato sauce you have to create more sauce. Season to taste.

Pour some tomato sauce in the bottom of your baking dish, arrange half of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly. Pour a little bit of the sauce on top of the eggplants and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Add another layer repeating the process mentioned above. Bake, uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce bubbles and golden.

Okay, I lie. This collard green has a little bit of meat to it. LOL!. I used Canadian bacon, which is an uncured turkey bacon, leaner and less processed. You can also use Pancetta, bacon, sausage, or just leave the meat out completely.

Braised Collard Greens
A bunch of collard greens, chopped and discard the stem. Chopped garlic and onions. Chopped bacon turkey. apple cider. low sodium chicken broth.
Saute garlic and onions in olive oil. Add the bacon and stir for a few minutes. Add your collard greens. Stir together until the greens have absorbed the oil. Slowly add half a cup of low sodium chicken broth and apple cider. Season to taste and let it simmer until the liquid has evaporated.

Please do try the recipes and let me know how you like them. I hope that I inspire you to become conscious of what you make and eat. 

Have a fabulous Monday mes amis! Bisous, Contessa

1 comment:

  1. Ooh this looks so good! I love this pared down version of a classic. I will definitely try soon :)