Mark Bittman's Vegan-Before-6 Meal Plan

After a serious health scare, food journalist and author Mark Bittman radically changed his diet and quickly lost 36 pounds. Today, he's sharing his simple one-rule plan to help you do the same. Learn why going vegan before 6 p.m. could be the secret to better health.

Posted on | By Mark Bittman | Comments ()

Lunch: Eggplant Un-Parmesan



2 1/2 lbs eggplant

5 tbsp olive oil

1 1/4 tsp salt

Black pepper, to taste

1 onion, chopped

2 tbsp garlic, minced

2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes, with their juice

1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs, preferably coarse-ground


Heat the oven to 450°F and position two racks so that they've got at least 4 inches between them. Cut the eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices and arrange them on two rimmed baking sheets.

Use 2 tablespoons of the oil to brush the top of each eggplant slice and sprinkle them with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Roast the eggplant until the slices brown on the bottom and sides, 10 to 15 minutes; turn and cook the other side until they're crisp in places and golden, another 5 to 10 minutes. When they finish cooking, remove them from the oven and lower the heat to 400°F.

Meanwhile, put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it's hot, add the onion, sprinkle with another 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the mixture comes together and thickens, 20 to 25 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Cover the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish with about 1/2 inch of the tomato sauce. Nestle a layer of eggplant into the sauce and top with some of the basil. Cover with a thin layer of tomato sauce and repeat until all the eggplant is used up; reserve some of the basil for serving. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and lots of pepper and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Simmer the remaining sauce (you should have about 2 cups) over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, while the eggplant bakes.

Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden and the sauce has thickened, 15 to 20 minutes; let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, garnished with the remaining basil; pass the remaining sauce at the table (or refrigerate or freeze it for another use).

Mark Bittman

Article written by Mark Bittman
After a serious health scare, food journalist and author Mark Bittman radically changed his diet and quickly lost 36 pounds.