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    Eggplant Parmesan

    Do you like Italian food? Do you like comfort food? This Eggplant Parmesan is the perfect combination of both! There are healthier ways to cook it, but why spoil perfection?

    Spatula scooping a serving of eggplant parmesan out of a casserole.

    Most nights we have some kind of protein at the Beisers’. But sometimes crave for some sumptuous, hearty vegetarian food. My husband insists on calling those nights “meatless” instead of “vegetarian”. Yes, he is funny that way, but I love him anyway. Anyways, I am always on the lookout for some interesting and tasty meatless recipes.

    One meatless dish he would eat any day is this Italian classic he grew up on… Eggplant Parmesan!! This family loves their Italian so much that they believe that there must be some secret Italian blood somewhere… though ancestry.com has something else to say. But then again, seeing how much my son is already slurping on spaghetti sauce, maybe that illusive Italian gene skipped a few generations.

    Baby Noah with spaghetti sauce on his face.

    I never cooked eggplant parmesan before meeting my husband. In fact, this is the recipe I learned from his mother. I must say, it must be as great as hers by the looks I get from my love at the end of every parm.

    A serving of this yummy Italian dish in a grey bowl.

    Tips to make your dish extra gorgeous and delicious

    Start with a great sauce. I must confess, with this small bundle of mine I sometimes use a bottled brand these days. But if you don’t mind a bit more work, make your own marinara, there’s nothing like homemade… Here is my easy Homemade Marinara recipe.

    Use plenty of fresh basil for that beautiful aroma and flavor in between the layers.

    Use thick slices of fresh mozzarella along with shredded.

    My main rule of thumb is you must, must have a very good looking eggplant. That’s an absolute MUST. Some mopey saggy looking one is not going to do the trick. Your eggplants should be smooth, shiny and firm.

    Main Ingredients

    Overhead shot of the ingredients on a white background.
    • Eggplants
    • Marinara sauce
    • Mozzarella cheese
    • Parmesan cheese
    • Fresh basil

    Preparing your eggplant

    I’m going to give you a few different methods. But first, you want to cut it into half inch rounds and then sprinkle it with salt and leave for 30 minutes. Though this is optional, I recommend it because it draws out the sometimes bitter moisture from the eggplant. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel.

    Twelve eggplant slices lying on parchment paper.

    The traditional method

    The classic preparation involves a two part breading. Beat two eggs and a splash of water in a bowl. Fill a separate bowl with panko breadcrumbs. Dredge the eggplant slices first in the egg, making sure to coat all sides. Then dredge the slices in panko.

    Once all slices are prepared, deep or shallow fry them in oil in a hot skillet.

    Our method

    At the Beisers’, we skip the dredging step, as we prefer the fleshy eggplant taste rather than the thick coated breadcrumb layer. But it all comes down to preferences.

    Simply shallow fry the eggplant until lightly golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. It’s easier, quicker and comes out equally yummalicious… win, win, right?

    A stack of fried eggplant slices.

    This option is also great if you’re watching your carbs.

    The low cal method

    If you are watching fat or calories, you can bake the eggplant. Place the rounds on a lightly greased sheet pan and bake for about 20 minutes in the oven at 450°F, turning halfway through.

    Assembling your casserole

    Preparing the eggplant burgers is the main work for this recipe. Once that’s done the rest is easy. It’s almost time to open that wine and assemble the rest of this gorgeous dish. Yes, no Italian dinner is complete without wine in this house, it just goes hand in hand.

    Assembled eggplant parm in a yellow casserole dish prior to baking.

    Layer marinara sauce, eggplant slices, mozzarella, parmesan… alternating and finishing off with thick slabs of fresh mozzarella…

    Closeup view of the dish ready to go in the oven.

    If you have a basil plant growing in your kitchen or garden, pluck a few leaves and thank the plant for elevating your creation to a different level. Yeah, sprinkle those in between layers. They are good lookers on top too. Voila, just bake it in your oven and rest… you deserve it… you can ask your husband to make the sides.

    While it’s cooking, you can check out my roundups of the best eggplant recipes and best casserole recipes.

    Dish of eggplant parmesan fresh out of the oven.

    Can you cook eggplant parm in the crock pot?

    Absolutely! If you want to prep everything in the morning and come home to some beautiful aromas, you can let your favorite crock pot go to work for you.

    When slow cooking my parmesan, I skip the frying step and just layer everything into my crock pot. Cook it on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours.

    Can it be made ahead of time?

    Yes, this is a great meal prep option. Sometimes I assemble my casserole the day before, cover it with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight. Take it out of the fridge for 30 minutes prior to baking to allow it to come to room temperature.

    What to serve it with

    This Italian classic is great on it’s own. That being said, my husband insists on a side of pasta.

    I love it with some nice crusty bread. A nice baguette goes great. But if you don’t mind a little extra work, try it with my no knead bread.

    Watching carbs? Try zoodles or palmini noodles.

    We sometimes round out our table with a simple fresh salad.

    Leftovers

    This is one of those dishes that just seems to taste better the next day. That’s why I like to make a big batch.

    You can refrigerate it in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Then you have an easy dinner a few nights later or some tasty lunches. Here’s a great lunch idea: eggplant parmesan sub!

    This also freezes well. Keep it in an airtight container and freeze for a couple of months.

    Serving of this great Italian recipe in a grey bowl.

    The next time you see some shiny eggplants at the grocery store or produce market, think about this classic Italian casserole. It might be your new favorite “meatless” meal. But don’t forget to pick up a bottle of wine. That’s how we eat at the Beisers’… Salute!! And Buen apetito!!

    Eggplant Parmesan, on my Gypsy Plate… Enjoy!!!

    closeup side view of one stack of eggplant parmesan on the gypsy plate

    Try these other great meatless dinner options!
    Aloo Palak (Indian Peas & Potatoes)
    Fasolada (Greek White Bean Soup)
    Grilled Cheese Tomato Soup
    Cauliflower Peas Masala
    Moroccan Lentil Soup
    Welsh Rarebit
    Dal Tadka

    a closeup view of a stack of eggplany parmesan on a spatula with the baking dish full of eggplant parmesan blurry in the background

    Eggplant Parmesan

    Yield: 8 servings
    Prep Time: 35 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

    Do you like Italian food? Do you like comfort food? This Eggplant Parmesan is the perfect combination of both! Bake it in the oven, or try my crock pot method.

    Ingredients

    • 3 medium eggplants, washed
    • 3 cups marinara sauce, divided
    • 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 2 8oz fresh mozzarella cheese balls
    • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 Tbsp coarse salt
    • 1/2 tsp table salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, plus more for garnish

    Instructions

      Baking Method

      1. Cut eggplants into ½-inch thick round slices, arrange on baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle half of course salt on eggplant slices, flip and sprinkle remaining salt. Let sit 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
      2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet to about 375°F. Fry the eggplant in batches until golden brown on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and pat dry using more paper towels to absorb excess oil.
      3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
      4. Pour about 1 cup of marinara sauce into a baking dish and spread evenly to cover the bottom of the dish.
      5. Add  eggplant slices (it’s okay if they overlap) and cover with ½ cup of marinara. Sprinkle with a third of the fresh basil, then top with about a third of the shredded mozzarella and Parmesan. Repeat to make 2 more layers. Finish with the fresh mozzarella cheese and a final sprinkling of Parmesan.
      6. Bake for 30 minutes, until mozzarella is bubbling and golden brown.
      7. Let cool 10 minutes, then serve garnished with fresh basil.

      Crock Pot Method

      1. Cut eggplants into ½-inch thick round slices, arrange on baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle half of course salt on eggplant slices, flip and sprinkle remaining salt. Let sit 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
      2. Add 1/2 cup sauce to bottom of crock pot. Layer eggplant, sauce then cheese until you have used all ingredients.
      3. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours.

    Notes

    1. Alternately, you can dredge eggplant in egg and breadcrumbs prior to frying.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 8 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 585Total Fat 47gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 31gCholesterol 64mgSodium 1942mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 5gSugar 9gProtein 22g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    six stacks of baked eggplant parmesan in a yellow baking dish, with a close up view of one stack on a spatula displayed below

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