easy-eggplant-parmesan

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is classic Italian comfort food at its finest! This hearty dinner will be come a go-to.

Eggplant Parmesan

It’s got bubbly cheese, garlicky tomato sauce, and savory, meaty breaded eggplant: it’s Eggplant Parmesan! This vegetarian Italian classic is hearty, filling, and pleases just about everyone. Most restaurants use fried eggplant, but for a homemade version it’s much simpler to bake. Here’s our best baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe: faster and easier to make at home than most recipes and full of incredible flavor. Even our vegetable-averse 5 year old promptly asked for seconds! We hope it will become a go-to in your family like it is in ours.

Ingredients in this Eggplant Parmesan recipe

Eggplant Parmesan is a classic Italian dish made with layers of breaded eggplant, cheese, and tomato sauce, then baked until bubbly. Called parmigiana di melanzane in Italian, it comes from the Southern regions of Calabria and Sicily but is now served all over the world. The eggplant is fried in restaurant-style versions, but it’s easiest to make baked eggplant when making it in your home kitchen. Here’s what you’ll need for homemade eggplant Parmesan:

  • Eggplant
  • Flour (or almond flour for gluten-free)
  • Eggs
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Plain panko (or breadcrumbs; use gluten-free panko for gluten-free)
  • Dried oregano
  • Fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
Eggplant Parmesan recipe

A few ingredient notes

As with any Italian dish, the success of this Eggplant Parmesan recipe depends on the quality of ingredients! Here’s what to look for when you’re shopping:

  • Look for medium eggplants. Size matters here: massive eggplant rounds don’t look quite as nice in the dish. But sometimes the grocery only has large eggplants, so use what you can find! The key is using 2 pounds: it should equal about 18 to 20 rounds.
  • Use fire roasted tomatoes. Fire roasted tomatoes make the best flavor: they taste sweet and smoky right out of the can. If you can’t find them, substitute best quality tomatoes with 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika. Or, use 1 ½ cups best quality marinara sauce.
  • Whole milk mozzarella cheese makes a difference. It melts much better than part skim and has a richer flavor. It also melts better when reheating.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan

How to make Eggplant Parmesan: some tips

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is faster and easier than most recipes, but it still takes about 1 hour to make and bake. Keep this in mind in your meal prepping (and review the notes below on make ahead tips). Here are a few notes about the process:

  • Place salt on the eggplant for just 10 minutes. This seasons them prior to baking. Many recipes require you to salt the eggplant for 1 hour, but this is not necessary. (In the past, people would do this to remove a bitter flavor, but today’s eggplants are bred to be less bitter. It also allows the eggplant to release moisture, but that’s not required with this baked method.)
  • Dredge the eggplant in flour, egg and breadcrumbs. This is the traditional combination in Italian cooking that you’d do prior to frying the eggplant. But it works just as well with baking!
  • Bake the eggplant for 20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, flipping once. The hot oven makes them crispy and golden brown: like frying but with no extra oil!
  • Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Mix crushed tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and olive oil.
  • Layer the eggplant with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese in a baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.

Leftover storage and make ahead tips

This Eggplant Parmesan recipe takes about 1 hour to make, which is not always possible for a weeknight dinner. We usually make this one for entertaining or on weekends, but you can also meal prep some of the components. This recipe also freezes well, which makes it great for a quick leftover dinner. Here are a few ideas for make ahead and storage:

  • Bake the eggplant slices in advance. This saves about 40 minutes off the timing of the recipe. Refrigerate the slices, then layer the dish and bake the day of making.
  • Leftovers store refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can make the entire dish in advance and refrigerate, but it’s so good freshly baked that we recommend the above option for make-ahead. Leftovers store well.
  • Freeze leftovers in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Place on the counter or in the refrigerator to thaw, or you can place it right into a 375 degree oven and reheat until warmed through and the cheese is melted. (If it’s room temperature, you can reheat at a higher temperature, like 425.)

What to serve with Eggplant Parmesan

Traditionally, Eggplant Parmesan is served with pasta. But you can also serve with salads, sauteed veggies and more. It makes a hearty, crowd-pleasing vegetarian dinner that’s great for parties and impressing a crowd. Here are a few ideas:

Eggplant Parmesan

More eggplant recipes

Love working with this tasty vegetable? Here are a few more eggplant recipes you’ll love:

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use almond flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs or go to Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan.

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Eggplant Parmesan

Easy Eggplant Parmesan



  • Author:
    Sonja Overhiser

  • icon clock Prep Time:
    25 minutes

  • icon clock Cook Time:
    35 minutes

  • icon clock Total Time:
    1 hour

  • icon cutlery Yield:
    6 to 8

Description

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is classic Italian comfort food at its finest! This hearty dinner will be come a go-to.


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds eggplant (about 2 medium large)
  • ¾ cup flour*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup plain panko (or purchased or homemade breadcrumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, divided
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 28 ounces fire roasted crushed tomatoes*
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped, plus more to garnish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese***


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut off the ends of the eggplant and cut it into 1/2-inch slices (to make approximately 18 slices). Sprinkle them with ¾ teaspoon salt and allow them to sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the breading ingredients. 
  3. Place the flour on a plate. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl and set it aside. In another shallow bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons oregano, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and set it aside. 
  4. Dip both sides of each eggplant slice into the flour, then the eggs, then the Parmesan cheese mixture. Place each slice onto the prepared baking sheets. (Note: This gets messy; you may need to wash or wipe your fingers off after every few slices.)
  5. Place the trays in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then flip and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until tender and golden brown. 
  6. Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a medium bowl, mix the fire roasted tomatoes, grated garlic, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, chopped fresh basil, and olive oil. Mix well until all the olive oil is incorporated. 
  7. Remove the eggplant from the oven. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13″ pan. Add half the baked eggplant in a layer (about 9 slices), then top with 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Add the second layer of eggplant (we like to add them right on top of the first layer to make 9 stacks). Top with another 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 cup shredded mozzarella on each stack. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then top with additional chopped basil and serve. Store leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days (or frozen for 3 months); reheat in the oven until warm.

Notes

*You’ll have about ⅓ cup flour left over and about 1 egg, but it’s easier for the breading. There also may be some panko left over. These items are not included in the nutritional info.

**Fire roasted tomatoes make the best flavor: they taste sweet and smoky right out of the can. If you can’t find them, substitute best quality tomatoes with 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika. Or, use 1 ½ cups best quality marinara sauce.

***Whole milk mozzarella cheese melts much better than part skim mozzarella, and has a richer flavor. It also melts better when reheating leftovers. 

  • icon folderCategory: Main Dish
  • icon squaresMethod: Baked
  • icon flagCuisine: Italian Inspired
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Eggplant Parmesan, Eggplant Parmesan recipe, Baked Eggplant Parmesan, Recipe for Eggplant Parmesan, Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe

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