Scrumptious eggplant parmesan is the perfect meal to whip up when you're looking for something vegetarian yet comforting and filling. It's also a great option when you simply want to incorporate more tasty vegetables into your diet without sacrificing coziness!
What Makes Eggplant Parmesan So Good?
While eggplant is one of my absolute favorite pieces of produce to cook with, I can totally understand why it may seem a little daunting. It's large, thick-skinned, and quite spongy on the inside, and if not seasoned and prepared well, it can be quite bland.
But when grilled, roasted, or turned into a hot, cheesy and crispy meal of homemade eggplant parmesan, there's little quite as delicious in my humble opinion, little as satisfying and hearty.
And it's those generously breaded slices of eggplant fried until golden and crispy, topped with marinara sauce and cheese, then baked until the cheese is melted to perfection that makes eggplant parmesan so darn good!
How to Make Easy Eggplant Parmesan
My recipe for eggplant parmesan requires only a handful of ingredients, and beats the socks off of a restaurant's version, certain to please even the pickiest of eaters! 😉
Here's my eggplant parmesan recipe at a glance (or just jump to the full recipe below...):
- While you can certainly use store-bought marinara for this recipe, I prefer to use my simple homemade marinara recipe (included below), and begin by preparing that, keeping it warm.
- Because the best way to achieve maximum flavor when cooking is to add seasoning to each layer of food, I season my eggplant slices generously before dredging them.
- For extra-crispy texture and extra flavor, I combine parmesan cheese with my panko breadcrumbs as part of my dredging set-up, then proceed to dip my eggplant slices into flour first, then whisked eggs, then the panko/parmesan mixture before shallow frying in hot oil.
- Finally, I spoon some of my sauce onto each golden-fried eggplant slice, top with cheese, and bake until melted.
- To serve, I like to stack up several eggplant parmesan slices nice and thick, and garnish with basil!
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4 (3 slices each)
Nutrition Info: 430
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
• 1 large eggplant, sliced into 12 slices (about 1/4 - 1/2” thick)
• Black pepper
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• Pinch red pepper flakes
• 3/4 cup flour
• 3 eggs, whisked with a touch of water
• 1 1/4 cups panko bread crumbs
• 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
• Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
• Marinara sauce, roughly 2 1/2 cups
• 2 cups grated or shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
• Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
- Place the eggplant circles onto a large baking sheet or work surface, and liberally sprinkle some salt and black pepper, plus the Italian seasoning and the red pepper flakes evenly over the front and back of the circles; allow the eggplant to rest while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
- Set up your coating/dredging area by adding the flour to a large bowl, having your whisked eggs in large bowl next, and in a third bowl, combining the panko breadcrumbs and the parmesan.
- Preheat your oven to 350°, and line a baking sheet with foil.
- Take each eggplant slice and dip it into the flour, then the whisked eggs, and finally in the panko/parmesan mixture, pressing the slices to make sure that the coating sticks; place the slices onto another large baking sheet to hold while you repeat the process with the rest of the slices.
- Once your eggplant slices are coated, heat enough oil on the bottom of a large skillet to cover, or to come up about 1/2” or so (for shallow frying); once the oil is hot (keep the heat on medium-high or medium), begin adding in a batch of coated eggplant slices, and fry each for about 5 minutes on the first side, and about 3-4 minutes on the second side, or until a deep, golden-brown, and crisp.
- Place the fried slices onto the prepared, foil-lined baking sheet, or onto a rack over a baking sheet.
- Once all slices are fried, add roughly 3 tablespoons of marinara sauce to each eggplant slice, then top with some of the shredded mozzarella cheese, and place into the oven just until the cheese is melted and bubbly about 5 minutes.
- Serve eggplant parmesan stacked if you like, with pasta or green salad on the side.
Simple Marinara Sauce Ingredients:
• 1 (14 ounce) can organic crushed tomatoes
• 1 teaspoon dry oregano
• ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• 3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
-To a small saucepan, add all of the ingredients, and whisk to blend.
-Place the saucepan over medium heat, and once the sauce begins to simmer, reduce to low and allow it to gently simmer, uncovered and undisturbed, for 10 minutes.
-Serve while warm, or allow to cool and keep covered in fridge.
Tips & Tidbits for my Eggplant Parmesan:
- Look for medium-large eggplant: I like to choose eggplant that is as even in width as possible, to make for more even circles/slices. If it's too round in the middle, then those center slices will be quite large, and the ends much smaller; but if you can find a round, slightly longer eggplant, choose that for more uniform slices. (If one eggplant is too small, use two.)
- Garlic-y homemade marinara: I like my marinara to have lots of herb-y, garlic-y flavor, so I prepare this simple one; but feel free to use a good-quality, store-bought marinara for convenience if you prefer.
- Fry low and slow: Because you want to ensure that your eggplant becomes nice and tender during the frying process, you'll want to have you flame/heat on medium or medium-high while frying. If it's too hot, the coating will get too dark or burn before there's enough time for steam to enter the eggplant and soften it, and if the heat is too low, things may get a bit greasy. Keep the heat at a level that allows for a light, golden-brown crust to develop after a few minutes of frying per side.
- Great accompaniments: While pasta or crusty bread are great sides, other nice options that are lower on carbs and a bit on the lighter side are a nice green salad or sauteed green beans.
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2015, and has been updated with even more love!