Combine first 7 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.
Place eggplant in a large bowl; add water to cover, and let stand 30 minutes. Drain well; blot dry with paper towels. Combine 1/4 cup water and egg whites in a shallow bowl. Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese; stir well. Dip eggplant in egg white mixture, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.
Place half of eggplant on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and broil 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining eggplant. Set eggplant aside.
Spread half of tomato mixture in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange half of eggplant over sauce; top with half of mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers with remaining sauce, eggplant, and cheese.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh oregano sprigs, if desired.
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I loved the broiling of the eggplant - saved a bunch of calories compared to frying. I am a sauce girl so the extra sauce was my fav part. Instead of the canned tomatoes, I used 28 oz of sauce that I had frozen using fresh tomatoes, but still added the canned sauce, paste and spices. I did not add any cheese when baking the recipe (lactose issues in the household), just let those in my family who can eat cheese add shaved parmesan as desired. This really cuts back on calories and in my opinion does not decrease the taste.
Yes, this is time consuming but very good! I had an eggplant, fresh oregano, basil, and garlic from the co-op so I subbed fresh herbs in the sauce (doubled the amount) and used 4 garlic cloves. I also used canned diced tomatoes with Italian herbs instead of whole. My eggplant was large so I just used one but kept the amount of sauce the same. My husband who prefers meat with every meal went back for seconds. The only thing I would do next time is maybe add some fresh ground pepper and onion to the sauce. It was worth the time plus I got leftovers out of it!
This was my first time making eggplant parm. I'm not a big eggplant person, but got one in my CSA and wanted to use it. I followed the instructions but used homemade breadcrumbs instead of store bought. It tasted really good, but the eggplant was a little tough at the edges. Not sure if it cooked long enough. I think next time I would use more sauce and bake it in the oven longer.