Tender eggplant coated in a crispy, cheesy bread crumb topping. Learn how to make eggplant parmesan – a crowd favorite dinner recipe.
Flavorful Eggplant Parmesan
The best eggplant parmesan recipe is here! We have done all of the work for you, and we have come up with a vegetarian eggplant parmesan that you can make in the comfort of your own home.
This eggplant parmesan recipe is our spin on the classic Italian dish. It has many of the same flavors and ingredients as our chicken parmesan recipe, but no chicken and has a delicious homemade marinara to go along with it!
why we love this recipe
- This eggplant parmesan has 22 grams of protein and no meat.
- It is a delicious comfort food recipe.
- You make your own marinara sauce so there is no added sugar like in store bought marinara sauces.
How to Prepare Eggplant for Eggplant Parmesan
Eggplant can get a bad wrap for it’s texture. When it is raw it can tend to be foamy and dry. Don’t let that fool you! Eggplant has a delicious flavor and packs ton of nutrients.
There are a few ways you can prepare eggplant whether you are eating it on it’s own or in this eggplant parmesan. Here is how you prepare eggplant for eggplant parmesan.
- Slice the eggplant. We keep the skin on the eggplant for this eggplant parmesan. To slice the eggplant, cut off the stem and then slice the eggplant with a sharp knife into 1/4-inch thick rounds.
- Salt. Place the eggplant rounds onto a large plate or a baking sheet and sprinkle both sides of each eggplant round with salt. Massage the salt into the eggplant. You are drawing moisture out of the eggplant and softening the eggplant rounds.
- Let it sit. We suggest letting the eggplant rounds sit in the salt for at least 1 hour. However, the longer you let the eggplant sit the softer the eggplant will be. You can let the eggplant sit for up to 8 hours.
- Rinse. Before moving forward with the eggplant parmesan recipe, rinse the eggplant under water to rinse off all the sat. Pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel and you’re ready to make eggplant parmesan.
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Ingredients You Need
- Eggplant- we suggest buying a large eggplant. When picking out an eggplant at the grocery store, be sure to choose an eggplant with no bruising.
- Kosher salt- you will use the kosher salt to salt the eggplant to draw out moisture.
- Breadcrumbs- you will be dredging your eggplant rounds through egg and breadcrumbs to create a delicious breading on the outside of the eggplant that will eventually soak up all the delicious flavors of the marinara sauce.
- Parmesan cheese- grated parmesan cheese is added to the breadcrumbs to create a golden cheesy crust.
- Spices- we add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the breadcrumbs mixture to add all the best flavor.
- Eggs- you need an ingredient to dredge the eggplant in so that the bread crumb mixture will stick to the eggplant. We like to use an egg wash!
- Olive oil- you brown your eggplant with a little bit of olive oil! It has the best flavor for this recipe.
- Fresh mozzarella- once the eggplant rounds are golden brown you layer them with fresh mozzarella and marinara sauce. We recommend buying a mozzarella log and slicing it.
- Fresh parsley- a little green goes a long way. We used fresh parsley to garnish the eggplant parmesan.
Homemade Marinara Sauce
Forget your store bought marinade and make a quick and easy chunky tomato marinara sauce. We have a few different marinara sauce recipes on FFF and either of them will work for this eggplant parmesan; Roasted Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce and this quick easy marinara sauce.
Below are all of the ingredients you need for the chunky marinara sauce.
- Olive oil
- White onion
- Minced garlic
- Chunky tomato sauce (we used Muir Glen)
- Dried parsley
- Dried thyme
- Ground oregano
- Ground pepper
- Tomato paste
How to Make Eggplant Parmesan
Salt the Eggplant
Like we mentioned above, you will need to salt your eggplant before you prepare the eggplant for the eggplant parmesan to soften and flavor the eggplant. *Do not skip this step!
Make the Marinara Sauce
To make the homemade marinara sauce for this eggplant parmesan, heat olive oil to a pot and heat over medium/high heat.
When the olive oil is fragrant add the white onion and minced garlic to the pot and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
Add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the pot and stir. Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add some heat. If you want to add a bit of heat to your marinara sauce, add 1-2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes to the marinara sauce.
Bread the Eggplant
To prepare the eggplant, rinse the salt from the eggplant and pat the egg plant dry.
Then, add the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper to a bowl and mix. In a separate bowl, whisk the two eggs together.
Dredge each eggplant round into the egg mixture and then through the breadcrumb mixture. Be sure the eggplant is fully covered in breadcrumbs. Set each round aside until all the rounds are covered in breadcrumbs.
Brown the Eggplant
This part of the recipe is crucial! Heat a cast iron skillet over medium/high heat and add olive oil. When the olive oil is fragrant, place a few eggplant rounds into the skillet. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan.
Brown each eggplant round on each side and then set the browned eggplant to the side.
Once all your ingredients are ready, it’s time to layer all the ingredients.
Begin by adding marinara sauce to the bottom of the baking dish. Then, lay marinara rounds in the bottom of the dish. Top each round with mozzarella slices, then another eggplant round. Repeat until all the ingredients are used.
Cover the eggplant parmesan with marinara sauce.
Bake + Enjoy
Bake the eggplant parmesan in the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes at 400ºF. Once all of the ingredients are hot, let the eggplant parmesan sit for 10 minutes and then enjoy!
What to Serve with Eggplant Parmesan
You can serve your eggplant parmesan with a light salad or more delicious Italian dishes. Here are some of our favorite things to serve with eggplant parmesan.
Caprese Salad- This caprese salad is made with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and delicious juicy tomatoes! You can’t go wrong with a simple balsamic and olive oil drizzle. Serve this caprese salad with any meal or for a delicious simple lunch
Zucchini Salad- This zucchini salad is a fresh and flavorful side for any summer meal. And with a short list of ingredients and a deliciously fresh homemade dressing, this salad is ready to serve in no time.
Arugula Salad- This is a simple and delicious arugula salad recipe. It is made with arugula, dried fruit, veggies, and fruit. It is the perfect side dish to any meal!
Greek Salad Recipe- This Greek salad is made with sweet cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta, and homemade Greek salad dressing! It is perfect for meal prep, a summer picnic, or just a healthy summer meal!
How to Store Eggplant Parmesan
Store your eggplant parmesan in an air tight container one it has completely cooled.
A Few More Questions
What is a good wine to pair with eggplant parmesan?
We suggest drinking a red Sangiovese or a light Italian Pinot Noir with this eggplant parmesan recipe.
Can eggplant parmesan be made ahead of time?
Yes, you can make eggplant parmesan a day or two in advance. We recommend layering all the ingredients together and then wrapping the eggplant in plastic wrap. Place the eggplant parmesan in the fridge.
When you’re ready to eat it preheat the oven to 400ºF and then continue on with the recipe instructions.
Can eggplant parmesan be frozen?
Yes, eggplant parmesan can be frozen. Once the eggplant parmesan is baked and has cooled completely, wrap the eggplant parmesan in freezer safe plastic wrap.
Place the eggplant parmesan in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat the eggplant parmesan, remove it from the freezer and bake it at 350ºF for 15-20 minutes or until it’s warmed through completely.
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- 16 oz. fresh mozzarella cut into slices
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- Begin by preparing the eggplant. Place the eggplant rounds on a large baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Massage the salt into the eggplant rounds and set aside. Let the eggplant sit for at least 1 hour.*
- Prepare the homemade marinara sauce. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a pot and heat over medium/high heat.
- When the olive oil is fragrant add the white onion and minced garlic to the pot and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the pot and stir. Bring the saue to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Once the eggplant has sat for at least an hour, rinse each eggplant round under water to remove the salt. Pat dry and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF and grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Prepare the eggplant parmesan rounds. In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs, ½ cup grated parmesan, garlic powder, dried thyme and ¼ teaspoon salt. Mix to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk 2 eggs.
- Dip each eggplant round in the egg wash, letting the excess egg drip off. Then, dredge the eggplant in the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure that each eggplant round is fully coated.
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan over medium/low heat. When the olive oil is fragrant, add 3 to 4 eggplant rounds (depending on how big your pan is). Let cook for around 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Set aside. Repeat this step until all the eggplant rounds are golden brown.
- Assemble eggplant parmesan. Scoop ½ cup of marinara sauce and place it in the bottom of the greased casserole dish. Spread the sauce across the bottom of the dish.
- Next, place half of the eggplant on top of the sauce and then cover the eggplant with half of the mozzarella slices. Add 1.5 cups of marinara sauce to the top of the mozzarella slices and spread it out evenly. Repeat this step.
- Sprinkle the last ¼ cup of parmesan over the top of the eggplant parmesan and place it into the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes or until the mozzarella on top of the eggplant parmesan is melted.
- Remove from the oven and let the eggplant parmesan rest for 10 minutes.
- Serve with fresh parsley sprinkled on top.