Thursday, October 1, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan, Pear and Arugula Salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

It's Fall! Hooray!! For running, this is my favorite time of year. The air has turned crisp and cold, and I revel in the sound of crunching leaves under my feet. So, the best fuel for these autumnal runs for me are heartier warm meals with the in-season vegetables. Tonight's menu was Eggplant Parmesan with a side of Pear and Arugula Salad dressed with a Honey Dijon Vinaigrette. Essentially, I adapted Giada's Vegetable Parmesan. And my favorite part of this recipe is that the eggplant is grilled instead of it being traditionally breaded then pan-fried. With this method, the texture and true flavor of the eggplant really comes through. Also, I got to control how much low-fat cheese goes into the dish. To jazz up the flavor, I added onions, garlic powder, oregano, prosciutto, chili pepper, fresh basil, and panko bread crumbs (instead of regular bread crumbs) along the top of the last layer. This meal totally hit the spot!

Lastly, don't underestimate the value of making your own vinaigrette. It's really easy, all-natural, healthier, and much tastier. Tonight's vinaigrette was just dijon mustard, honey, white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper whisked together. Zesty, fresh, and the perfect accompaniment to the meal.

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