Baked Eggplant Parmesan is a great meatless meal that showcases your beautiful eggplant as the centerpiece of the meal. Healthy, filling and oh-so-yummy!
Having really good eggplant parmesan can lead you to have an “ah-ha” moment of “wait, there isn’t any meat in this meal…. and I like it?!” It is that good. It is ridiculously good. It is go-out-and-buy-an-eggplant-immediately good. I promise it isn’t as complicated as you might expect. Yes, it takes a little bit of time, but it is SO worth it! Just try it. For reals.
Eggplants are perfectly in season right now, so if you were super excited to grow your first eggplant this year and now you are sitting there staring at it wondering what you are supposed to do with it and grappling with the fact that you put so much work into growing it and now it is just going to go to waste……. you get the idea. I have the solution for you, my friends. Eggplant parmesan. It is filling and light all at the same time and, while it is a little bit of a time commitment, it really isn’t very difficult to make. And, in my opinion, is a great date night or dinner party entree.
It is also a great way to use your homemade, slow-roasted marinara sauce – tastes amazing in this dish. And, to make it chunkier, I simply bought a can of diced tomatoes and added them to my homemade marinara – the flavor is so deep and rich in the marinara, that plain diced tomatoes didn’t detract from the flavor at all.
Also, I kept the skins on (in part because it just looks so much more beautiful), but don’t feel as if you need to. I have made it both ways and, if I had to choose, I would probably cut them off. They don’t taste bad, but they are just a titch bitter and can be kind of tough to chew through at times. But it is going to taste amazing either way – totally your call.
Finally, a beautiful thing about this recipe is you can make it as healthy or savory (that’s a better way to say “unhealthy” – right?) by making a few simple modifications on your own. If you want it more healthy, pull back on the amount of breading you put on and the amount of cheese. Want it more savory (yep, totally sounds better), go all out on the breading and gooey, delicious melted cheese. Make it how you want it and enjoy!
- 1 large eggplant, washed
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup water
- ⅔ cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 1½ Teaspoon ground oregano
- 1½ Teaspoon ground basil
- 2 cups thickly shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 cups chunky marinara sauce
- 2 Tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Cut eggplant into 8½ inch slices (remove skin if you desire)
- In small bowl (big enough to fit an eggplant slice) combine eggs and water; whisk.
- In another bowl (also big enough to fit an eggplant slice), combine bread crumbs, ½ cup parmesan cheese, salt, ground oregano and ground basil; mix.
- Spray 2 cookie sheets with olive oil or non-stick.
- Take eggplant slices and, one at a time, dip in egg wash and then let excess run off, then set in bread crumb mixture and lightly cover both sides.
- Repeat for all eggplant slices and place on cookie sheets.
- Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes and then remove and flip over; bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown.
- Remove from oven.
- Take a baking pan or on a deep cookie sheet and then use the spaghetti sauce and make 4 circles of sauce a little bigger than the diameter of the eggplant slices, not a lot just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Place an eggplant slice on top of each sauce-circle.
- Then add some more sauce on top of the eggplant, then mozzarella cheese.
- Then place the other four eggplant slices on top and repeat with sauce and mozzarella cheese.
- Add additional ½ cup parmesan cheese on top and sprinkle each stack with a pinch of kosher salt.
- Place in oven at 425 for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.
- Let cool slightly, but serve right away and garnish with fresh basil (or oregano).