The eggplant serves as the vessel in this delicious rendition of the classic Italian dish. Our Test Kitchen made eggplant Parmesan easier (and healthier!) without sacrificing any of the comforting flavor of the original home-cooked dish. Herbs like thyme and basil, along with chopped tomatoes and onions, give this Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan a bright, fresh taste. Convenience products are great at reducing prep time, so we call for a jarred pasta sauce in this recipe. This is one healthy dish the kids will be asking for every week.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Partially peel eggplants in 1-inch strips, using a vegetable peeler. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise. Score eggplant pulp in a crosshatch pattern. (Do not cut through the skin. This will make it easier to remove pulp after it is baked.) Brush eggplants with 1 tablespoon of the canola oil, and place in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Bake in preheated oven 40 minutes. Remove pulp from eggplants, using a serrated tomato corer or melon baller, leaving a 1/2-inch shell intact. Set shells aside. Coarsely chop pulp, and place in a medium bowl.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium-high. Add onion to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add thyme, garlic, and salt to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
Add onion mixture and chopped tomato to eggplant pulp. Add eggs, basil, shredded mozzarella, and 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs; toss to coat. Coat a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce in bottom of dish. Place eggplant shells in dish. Divide tomato mixture evenly among eggplant shells. Top with remaining 1 cup pasta sauce and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs. Sprinkle with torn mozzarella and Parmesan.
Bake eggplants in preheated oven until cheese is melted and top is browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Top eggplants with basil leaves.