This post was created in partnership with Newman’s Own. All opinions are our own.
“We’ve had two generations of college bred people now who have really been indoctrinated with the idea that every big problem has a big solution. And I just don’t believe it! The big problems we have now will be solved by hundreds of people accepting local responsibilities for small problems.” -Wendell Berry
I grew up in the 90’s when being a “world changer” was the ultimate goal of the American suburban kid. Love the Earth and love all humans were messages that stuck with me. How to do it—well, that is quite another thing. We humans can be good-hearted and try to “help” solve big problems, but sometimes our egos get in the way. We think we know the right way to do things, so we don’t ask the people we’re trying to help what they need. Sometimes our selfishness gets in the way and we’re only willing to go so far. And sometimes the problems are just too big to really make a dent, so we get paralyzed and don’t do anything.
I love Wendell Berry’s quote above because it gives me hope to start small in a world with some really big problems. For starters: our food system and connecting people with nourishing, life-giving food. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I’m realizing that baby steps, like inspiring one person to make one meal with a new nutritious ingredient, are steps forward.
How about you: What are you passionate about? Where do you dream to use your influence for good? Where are you doing it already?
And now, for this skillet eggplant marinara, a collaboration with a business doing good. The Newman’s Own foundation started in 2005 to continue Paul Newman’s legacy of giving back. The foundation supports organizations in four focus areas: Philanthropy, Children, Nutrition, and Empowerment, and 100% of the proceeds from products go to charity, a mission we can get behind. For this recipe, we’ve used a marinara sauce from the Newman’s Own Organics line, which fits with our passion for the highest quality ingredients, organic when possible. While we typically make our own marinara sauce, on quick weeknights we opt for a high quality marinara. This one is top notch in flavor, and also has no sugar added (only the sugar in the tomatoes). It makes for a truly simple meal with just 7 ingredients, save the salt and pepper. It does contain a bit of cheese, but it’s more nourishing than the typical Eggplant Parmesan since there’s no breading and frying involved. Serve with a green salad and it makes for a satisfying dinner.
In a world that’s becoming more and more connected, it’s even easier to find innovative ways to make a difference. We’d love to hear about your current passion projects. Let us know in the comments below, or via email: sonja at acouplecooks.com.
Did you make this recipe?
If you try this skillet eggplant marinara, we’d love to hear how it turned out. Leave a comment below, or share a picture on Instagram and mention @acouplecooks. (This is the recipe demonstrated on our Instagram stories!)
Looking for Italian recipes?
Our forte here at A Couple Cooks is Italian recipes; outside of this skillet eggplant marinara, here are a few of our favorites:
- Italian Calzones
- Tomato Basil Gnocchi Soup
- Vegan Italian Pasta Salad
- Tomato & Grilled Eggplant Stacked Sandwich
- Homemade Easy Pizza Sauce Recipe
- Perfect Neapolitan Pizza Recipe
- Creamy Vegan Pasta Marinara
- Orecchiette Pasta with Lemon Asparagus
- 2 large eggplants (about 3 pounds)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 24 ounces Newman’s Own Organics Marinara sauce (or other high quality marinara)
- 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 ounces feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Slice the eggplant into 3/8 to 1/2-inch slices. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and paprika. Place the eggplant slices on the baking sheets, splitting them evenly between the two sheets. Brush each side of the eggplant slices lightly with the paprika oil (if you need more oil at the end, add a another drizzle and stir in the remaining paprika). Season all of the eggplant liberally with kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper.
- Slide the trays into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the eggplant slices, then reverse the trays and finish baking for 5 minutes or until tender.
- In a large, ovenproof skillet, spoon a bit of the marinara sauce and spread in an even layer. Add an even layer of half of the eggplant slices, a bit of sauce, then half of the mozzarella and feta cheese. Add another layer of eggplant, then more sauce, then the remaining mozzarella cheese. Top with the remaining feta.
- Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Garnish with parsley and serve.
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.