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Eggplant: An Economical Meal for Athletes 

By Ryan Wolfe
For Race Day Recipes

Looking for an inexpensive, healthy meal? Eggplant parmesan might be for you.

eggplant Now I know what you are thinking…eggplant, really? I myself was skeptical when I first tried this recipe. Growing up I always thought it was some vegetable from outer space. But I sure am glad after 26 years I was convinced to try it. This meal not only has the essential ingredients that make up an athlete’s diet, it really does taste great too! Eggplant is actually a fruit which provides potassium, dietary fiber and is low in calories. 

Another good thing about eggplant parmesan is that it is an economical meal. Although eggplant is considered a summer fruit it can be found year round at your local supermarket, which makes it very inexpensive, about 99 cents a pound. If you have never picked up an eggplant, they look big, but are very light in weight.

As endurance athletes we all eat our share of plain pasta, so why not give the old eggplant a try? It might be what you need to shake up your nutrition plan a bit.

Here’s what you need: 

  • 1 16oz box spinach linguine
  • 1 8oz jar Mom’s Pasta Sauce (check out Race Day Recipes) or marinara sauce
  • 1 eggplant skinned and sliced
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup frozen creamed spinach
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Bring large pot of water to a boil and cook linguine for 10-12 minutes, strain and set aside. 

Slice eggplant into half inch slices, one eggplant will yield between 8-10 slices.

Coat eggplant slices in a thin but even layer of flour, egg, then Italian bread crumbs.

Fry the breaded eggplant in a large frying pan over medium heat using olive oil. Cook each side 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.

In a small sauce pan defrost/cook frozen creamed spinach until warm. 

In a large serving dish, layer pasta, mom’s pasta sauce, and fried eggplant. Scoop a small amount of creamed spinach onto each piece of eggplant and then coat in mozzarella. Bake on 350 for 5-10 minutes to melt mozzarella. Top with parmesan to taste.

Makes 4 servings  

Race Day Recipes is cookbook for endurance athletes, written by endurance athletes. It features more than 20 top professional endurance athletes, who share the nutritional secrets to their athletic success. This is the perfect cookbook for the multisport athlete leading a healthy lifestyle, and easy to make meals will get the athlete in you from start to finish in good taste.  

Get your copy on or on our website For information on fundraiser opportunities for your team or organization, visit our website for more details.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.