Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan

by Lorenza Conti

eggplants on a shelfAfter nine long months of pregnancy, labor becomes the Holy Grail. While some moms-to-be contently wait it out, many do all they can to get those contractions rocking and rolling. They try bumpy car rides, walking, sex, bouncing on the exercise ball, acupressure, raspberry leaf tea and more sex. For thousands of years herbs, tinctures, and sometimes very odd foods (like castor oil!) have been used to kick labor into high gear.

Fast forward into the recent centuries, certain recipes are touted to have magical dilating powers! Eggplant parmesan might the most infamous of these. For more than twenty years, overdue moms-to-be have ordered Eggplant Parmesan at Scalini's Italian restaurant in Cobb County, Georgia. Women claim this breaded eggplant dish induces labor. More than 300 pregnant women who ordered the eggplant gave birth within 48 hours to (as the restaurant dubs them) "eggplant babies."

The eggplant probably has little to do with the "magic." Oregano and basil that are suspected to be the trigger. Whatever ingredient sparks the fire, this recipe has found amazing success! And here's our own lower-fat version.

"Jump-start" Labor with Eggplant Parmesan

Prep time: 30 minutes | Total time: 60 minutes | Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

• 1 medium eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2 inch slices
• 2 egg whites, beaten
• 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
• 1/2 cup cornmeal
• 1 jar chunky tomato marinara sauce (or use our recipe below)
• 1/2 chopped onion or green onions
• 4 cloves chopped garlic
• 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions

Place eggplant on a paper towel, sprinkle with a little salt and and cover with another paper towel. Weight with a plate and let set for 15 minutes. Combine the parmesan cheese and cornmeal in a flat bowl. Dip the eggplant slices in egg whites and then coat with the cornmeal mix. Lightly spray or oil a 10" by 15" baking dish. Place a layer of marinara sauce, eggplant, chopped onions and garlic (repeat layering as needed), and more sauce. Combine the mozzarella cheese and parsley and sprinkle on top. Bake at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes.

Warning

Basil oil is a uterine stimulant and should only be used during labor. Culinary herbs (basil, oregano, etc.) usually are safe during pregnancy in the small amounts used in cooking, but not in larger doses used for teas. If you are not at your due date, we suggest reducing the amount of fresh herbs in the marinara sauce.

Marinara Sauce

• 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 4 cups chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
• 1/2 cup onions, chopped
• 1/4 cup fresh chopped sweet basil
• 1/8 cup fresh chopped parsley
• 1 teaspoon of oregano and crushed red pepper
• Pinch of thyme and rosemary
• Dash salt
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Lightly saute onions in olive olive. Add garlic and saute another minute. Add tomatoes, bring the sauce to a boil and turn heat to low. Mix in the remaining ingredients, cover and simmer for an hour. Stir occasionally.

Cook's Note

Eggplant parmesan not only tastes great, saves you money, but it's reputed to jump start labor. Let us know if this worked for you in the comments!

Copyright © Pregnancy.org.