This Eggplant Parmesan is the perfect comforting vegetarian dish. It features multiple layers of fried eggplants, a rich herby tomato sauce and grated cheese. Prepare this easy, Italian-inspired dish of Eggplant Parmigiana in no time at all serve it as a main or side dish.
About Eggplant Parmesan Recipe
Eggplant also known as aubergine is one of my favorite vegetables! Since my family are not as fond of this veggie as me I tend to eat most of the eggplant based dishes by myself. To be honest I’m not complaining because this means more for me!
My favorite eggplant dish has to be eggplant pasta which was introduced to me by a work colleague.
The Eggplant Parmigiana recipe is simple and easy to follow. Most of your time will be spent preparing and assembling layers of the ingredients.
Traditionally, parmesan cheese is used however here in the recipe I have used mozzarella cheese as when living in one city, it was difficult to source vegetarian parmesan.
But now since I can source vegetarian parmesan cheese, I make this eggplant dish with it. Though feel free to use the cheese you can find easily.
You can also use cheddar cheese, cottage cheese or any of your preferred melty cheese. You could also use a combination of various kinds of cheese.
Eggplant Parmesan is a great way to use up the eggplants you have in your kitchen. I love this dish for its simplicity and easiness. If you have canned Italian tomato sauce, the cooking goes more faster.
If you like eggplant dishes, then you will absoloutley love this cheesy tangy and succulent aubergine recipe!
How to Make Eggplant Parmesan
Prep and Fry Eggplants
1. Rinse and slice one large eggplant (as shown in the photo below) lengthwise in 3 to 4 mm thick slices. Sprinkle some salt all over them, toss as well and mix the salt with the slices. Set them aside on a plate for 15 to 20 minutes.
Alternatively soak the eggplants in salted water for 15 minutes. Salt removes the bitter juices if any from the eggplant and also prevents from discoloration.
Make use of eggplants that are added to make Baba Ganoush. Generally large sized eggplants with dark purple color works best for such recipes.
2. Rinse the eggplants in water and dry them completely with a kitchen cotton towel or paper towel.
3. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a pan and pan-fry the eggplant slices in batches until they are golden. Make sure that the oil is hot enough and the eggplants touch the oil.
If the oil is not hot, then the eggplants will become too oily after being fried. Alternatively, you can grill or bake them if you do not want to pan-fry.
4. Drain eggplants on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Make Tomato Sauce
5. Add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan in which the eggplants were fried. Add ⅓ cup finely chop onions and ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic.
Sauté both on low to medium-low heat until the onions are softened.
6. Then add 2 cups of finely chopped tomatoes and sauté on medium-low to medium heat until the tomatoes soften and become pulpy.
7. Add 1 teaspoon white wine (or red wine), salt and pepper as required. Sauté for one minute on low heat.
Skip the wine if you are making this dish for kids.
8. Next add ½ teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil and sauté for one minute.
You can also use dried basil instead of fresh basil. Switch off the heat and set the tomato sauce aside.
Bake Eggplant Parmesan
9. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C/390 degree F for 10 minutes.
Brush a baking pan lightly with olive oil and add half a portion of the tomato-herb sauce for the first layer.
10. Then arrange 3 to 4 fried eggplant slices on the top and add some grated vegetarian parmesan cheese. Make sure the cheese is spread evenly.
You can opt to use mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese or a mix of these cheese types.
Feel free to add more quantity of cheese in each layers if you prefer.
12. Repeat the last two steps again. That is of add the remaining tomato herb sauce, placing the eggplants and topping with the grated cheese.
Make sure to spread the grated cheese evenly all over the eggplants covering them. You can also sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of the cheese for some extra crunch.
13. In a preheated oven bake the eggplant parmigiana for 8 to 10 minutes at 200 degrees C/390 degree F or until the cheese melts and becomes golden. Serve the Eggplant Parmigiana hot or warm.
- Eggplant: It is really important to prepare the eggplants correctly. Before frying and baking, slice eggplants, mix salt and leave them to sit for 15 to 20 minutes to remove the bitter taste from the eggplants. Once this is done rinse them and pat them dry. This will prevent the eggplants from becoming soggy when frying.
- Cheese: Parmigiano is not vegetarian as it is made using animal rennet so it is not suitable for this vegetarian dish. If you can find vegetarian parmesan then feel free to use it, but if not, you can replace parmesan with mozzarella or cheddar and the dish will still taste just as delicious!
- Frying: To achieve the best results fry the eggplants in hot oil. If you want a less oily dish then bake or grill the eggplants instead. Once they are grilled or baked, assemble the sliced eggplants in the same way to make the eggplant parmigiana.
- Assembling: When assembling the eggplant parmigiana in the oven proof dish make sure that each layer of the ingredients are evenly spread in the dish. Also, don’t forget to lightly brush oil on the base of the dish to prevent the eggplant parmigiana from sticking to it.
If you don’t want to add cheese then feel free to add sour cream instead. It will add a slightly sour taste to the dish and a delicious creamy texture. However, do not add sour cream to the final layer of the dish as you would cheese.
Slice the eggplants into equal pieces lengthways and make sure they are 3 to 4 mm thick.
Add red or white wine to this dish. Alternatively, you can skip the alcohol if you are serving this dish to kids.
Yes, salting the eggplant before frying removes the bitter taste from the eggplants. Make sure you rinse the eggplants once they have been salted and leave them to dry before frying.
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Eggplant Parmesan | Eggplant Parmigiana
- 1 eggplant – large sized (aubergine)
- 1 teaspoon basil – chopped or ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dry oregano
- 1 onion – small to medium-sized, finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes – large, finely chopped or about 2 cups of finely chopped tomatoes
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves – peeled and finely chopped or ½ teaspoon finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons oil – for frying the eggplants, any neutral flavored oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil – for the tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon white wine or red wine, optional
- 50 grams cheese vegetarian parmesan, mozzarella or cheddar, add as needed
- salt as required
- black pepper as required
Pan frying the eggplant
- Rinse and slice the eggplant lengthwise in 3 to 4 mm width slices.
- Spread some salt all over them. Mix the salt evenly and keep them for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Then rinse them in water a few times and dry the eggplant slices completely.
- Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a pan. On medium heat, fry the eggplant slices in batches till golden.
- Make sure that the oil is moderately hot before frying. If fried on a lower temperature, the eggplants will absorb a lot of oil.
- Place the fried eggplant slices on kitchen paper towels so that the excess of oil is absorbed.
Making tomato sauce
- After frying the eggplants, the oil in the pan would almost be over. In the same pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Add the finely chopped onions and garlic. On low to medium-low heat sauté till the onions are translucent and and are softened.
- Then add the tomatoes. On medium-low to medium heat sauté till the tomatoes soften and become pulpy.
- Add the wine, salt, pepper and sauté for a minute on low heat.
- Then add the oregano and basil and sauté for a minute.
Assembling and baking eggplant parmesan
- Brush a baking pan with olive oil evenly all over. First make a layer of half a portion of of the tomato sauce in the pan.
- Then arrange 3 to 4 slices of the fried aubergines. Grate some cheese on top evenly all over or sprinkle the grated cheese on top evenly.
- Layer with the remaining of the tomato sauce.
- Place the remaining slices of the fried eggplants.
- Grate cheese on the top or add grated cheese covering the slices of eggplants fully.
- In a preheated oven bake the eggplant parmesan for 8 to 10 minutes at 200 degrees C/390 degrees F till the cheese melts.
- Serve Eggplant Parmesan hot or warm. You can opt to garnish with some basil or parsley if you like.
- Eggplants: This recipe works best with the large and lighter variety of dark purple colored eggplants that are used to make Baba Ganoush.
- Prepping Eggplants: Before frying and baking, slice eggplants, mix them with some salt and leave to sit for 15 to 20 minutes to remove the bitter taste from the eggplants. Once this is done rinse them and pat them dry. This will prevent the eggplants from becoming soggy when frying.
- Cheese: Parmigiano is not vegetarian as it is made using animal rennet so it is not suitable for this vegetarian dish. If you can find vegetarian parmesan then feel free to use it, but if not, you can replace parmesan with mozzarella or cheddar or cottage cheese or your preferred melty cheese or use a mix of various cheese.
- Frying: To achieve the best results, fry the eggplants in hot oil. If you want a less oily dish then bake or grill or air fry the eggplants instead. Once they are grilled or baked, assemble the sliced eggplants in the same way to make the eggplant parmigiana.
- Assembling: Use an oven proof dish to assemble and layer all of the ingredient elements. Make sure that each layer of the ingredients are evenly spread. Also, don’t forget to lightly brush oil on the base of the dish to prevent the eggplant parmigiana from sticking to it.
- Scaling: The recipe can be easily scaled up to make for more portions.
- Wine: Adding either white wine or red wine is optional and can be given a skip.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Eggplant Parmesan recipe from the archives, originally published in May 2015 has been updated and republished on January 2023.