Baked Eggplant Parmesan

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Baked Eggplant Parmesan -- no frying required for this crispy and absolutely delicious comfort food! | gimmesomeoven.com This post is sponsored by DeLallo.

I have always wanted to love Eggplant Parmesan.  But there have always been two pesky problems getting in the way:

  1. I don’t love eggplant.
  2. I really don’t love frying stuff.

One might think that both are kind of, you know, deal breakers with a traditional fried eggplant dish.  But eh, deal breakers shmakers.  I had resolved at the beginning of the summer that 2015 was going to be my year for learning how to love eggplant, and I could think of no better gateway into the vegetable than disguising preparing it with a crispy breading beneath delicious layers of melted cheese and tomato sauce.  (Kind of impossible to go wrong there!)  And when it comes to frying, my response has always been to nix the unnecessary oil and pull out the Panko and gimme some oven, baby!  (Because this blog is not named Gimme Some Deep-Fat Fryers.)

So armed and vegetable-ready this week, I set out on a mission to see if I could figure out how to prepare a recipe for Eggplant Parm that I actually liked.  I went to the farmer’s market and selected the most beautiful, smooth, vibrant eggplants I could find.  I gathered up an assortment of other good-quality simple ingredients, including my favorite tomato sauce, fresh basil, and part-skim Mozzarella and freshly-grated Parmesan.  I revisited the ol’ salt-sweat-rinse-and-dry trick to suck the extra bitterness right outta the eggplant rounds, then oven-fried them with a crispy Italian breading.  Then I baked them up until the cheese was nice and melty, the tomato sauce was bubbling around the edges of the pan, and the eggplant was blissfully hidden.  And guess what?!

I loved it!!!

Eggplant mission: ACCOMPLISHED.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan -- no frying required for this crispy and absolutely delicious comfort food! | gimmesomeoven.com

Ok, ok, I know that most people interested in cooking Eggplant Parmesan probably already love the vegetable and need no convincing that its flavor will be deliciously overshadowed complimented by all of these other ingredients.  But for anyone out there who’s still learning how to love it — from one eggplant skeptic to another — trust me, I think you’re genuinely going to love this one.

The key, though, is totally in how it’s prepared.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan -- no frying required for this crispy and absolutely delicious comfort food! | gimmesomeoven.com

The biggest trick for me is taking the extra time to literally suck the bitterness out of the eggplant before cooking with it.  A friend taught me this years ago — simply cut the eggplant into rounds, sprinkle them with lots of salt, place the eggplant in a colander (or on a few sheets of paper towels), and then let it sit there for anywhere from 30-90 minutes.  Little beads of sweat will start to form on the outside of the eggplant, which you can then rinse off thoroughly afterwards, along with that extra salt.  Pat the eggplant nice and dry with some paper towels, then proceed with the rest of the recipes.

In lieu of frying, I dipped each eggplant round in whisked eggs, and then in an Italian Panko breadcrumb mixture.  Then I misted the tops of the eggplant with some olive oil (or you could use cooking spray), and roasted them all up to crispy perfection in the oven.  No unnecessary oil needed!
Baked Eggplant Parmesan -- no frying required for this crispy and absolutely delicious comfort food! | gimmesomeoven.com

Once the eggplant rounds were ready, I then layered them in a baking pan with a jar of my favorite Tomato Basil Pomodoro Fresco Tomato Sauce from DeLallo, some part-skim shredded Mozzarella, freshly-grated good-quality Parmesan cheese, and lots of extra fresh basil.  And then baked that entire dish until everything was fully cooked and bubbly and golden and…

Baked Eggplant Parmesan -- no frying required for this crispy and absolutely delicious comfort food! | gimmesomeoven.com

…YUM.

I mean, really, does this look like eating your vegetables?

Works for me!

Baked Eggplant Parmesan -- no frying required for this crispy and absolutely delicious comfort food! | gimmesomeoven.com

Feel free to serve up the dish along with some simple pasta or quinoa, paired with some other cooked veggies or protein if you’d like.  But the dish also stands well on its own, and it’s an incredibly rich and filling vegetarian option if you’re looking for a seasonal entree.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan -- no frying required for this crispy and absolutely delicious comfort food! | gimmesomeoven.com

And again, two cheers for that miraculous Panko that makes the eggplant breading nice and crispy, without having to fry it in an inch of oil.

Oven-frying…and eggplant…FTW!

I feel like such a grown-up.  :)

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

This Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is made lighter by being baked with a crispy Panko breading, yet still has all of the delicious and comforting flavors of the classic dish!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 eggs (or 1 egg + 2 egg whites)
  • cooking spray (or olive oil in a Misto)
  • 1 (25 ounce) jar DeLallo Tomato Basil Pomodoro Fresco Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese (I used part-skim)
  • 2/3 cup finely-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup loosely-packed chopped or julienned fresh basil

Directions:

Optional first step: If you have extra time and would like to remove some of the bitterness of the eggplant, sprinkle each round with a pinch of salt.  Then place the rounds in a colander in the sink to drain, or place them on a few paper towels for about 30 minutes.  Rinse the salt off with water, then proceed with the recipe.

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

In a shallow bowl, whisk together Panko breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon salt until combined.  In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth.  Dip an eggplant round on both sides in the whisked egg mixture, then immediately dip it in the breadcrumb mixture until the eggplant is completely coated, then set on a parchment-covered baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining eggplant rounds until they are all evenly spaced on the baking sheets.  Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until the breadcrumbs are toasted and slightly golden.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of an 11 x 8-inch baking dish.  Place half of the eggplant in a (mostly) even layer along the bottom of the baking dish.  Spread an additional 1 cup of tomato sauce evenly over the eggplant.  Then sprinkle 1 cup Mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce, followed by 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, followed by 1/4 cup of the fresh basil.  Repeat with another layer of the remaining eggplant, then tomato sauce, then Mozzarella, then Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and starts to turn slightly golden around the edges, and the sauce is bubbly.  Remove and sprinkle with the remaining basil.  Serve immediately.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

This is a sponsored post in partnership with DeLallo Foods.  I am partnering with DeLallo to create new Italian recipes for the blog this year, and all opinions are my own as always.  Thanks for continuing to support the brands who help make this site possible!

Baked Eggplant Parmesan -- no frying required for this crispy and absolutely delicious comfort food! | gimmesomeoven.com

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Comments

  1. Melissa U. — January 9, 2016 @ 8:39 pm (#)

    This was a GREAT recipe! I like eggplant Parmesan but I hate frying it, so this was a perfect option. I made a small modification. I cut the skin off the eggplant. It’s the only way my family will eat it and it also removes some of the bitterness. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 11th, 2016 @ 5:10 pm

      Thanks Melissa, we’re so happy you enjoyed this! :)

  2. manal moez — January 24, 2016 @ 1:04 am (#)

    i did the eggplant dish it was delicious
    i want to know if i have to grind the dried herbs or keep it as it

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 24th, 2016 @ 4:41 pm

      Thanks Manal, we’re happy you enjoyed it, and you don’t have to grind the dried herbs. :)

  3. Sofia — February 11, 2016 @ 1:30 am (#)

    I just made this and oh my goodness! IT WAS SO GOOD! I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a while and finally made it and I was surprised by how easy and simple it was to put together (and that I could do it too)! I didn’t have italian seasoning, or everything needed to make one myself, so I kind of improvised using the spices I had on hand but it still came out really delicious. I also loved the tip of salting the rounds for an hour beforehand- definitely cut away the bitterness that I’ve usually tasted with eggplant parm. Will definitely be making this again!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 11th, 2016 @ 8:56 am

      Thanks for sharing Sofia! We’re so happy to hear you enjoyed this! :D

  4. Patti C. — February 18, 2016 @ 1:00 pm (#)

    I use italian bread crumbs gives a  it a better taste.

  5. Holly — February 28, 2016 @ 2:38 pm (#)

    Instead of bread crumbs, I buy the zesty Italian breadcrumbs and put them in my food processor.  It gives a TON more flavor. :)

  6. Melba H. — March 13, 2016 @ 6:35 pm (#)

    This is fantastic! I absolutely love eggplant parmesan!  It’s baked so it’s not greasy. This is so easy and so yummy! Thank you for the recipe! I’m keeping it forever!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — March 14th, 2016 @ 10:38 am

      Thanks Melba — we’re glad to hear you enjoyed it so much! :D

  7. Carrie Turney — March 15, 2016 @ 11:05 pm (#)

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Since I’m single I halved the recipe and it was just as good on the fourth serving as it was on the fourth.

    I have posted your recipe on my wordpress site and have given credit to you. You can check it out at https://wordpress.com/post/parsleyandsage1.wordpress.com/1327.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — March 16th, 2016 @ 9:41 pm

      Hi Carrie! You’re welcome, we’re glad you enjoyed it! Unfortunately we aren’t able to see your blog via the link you provided though.

  8. Victor — March 30, 2016 @ 8:11 pm (#)

    Great recipe great flavors. I peeled my eggplants and added some light seasoning to my bread crumbs but other than that awesome recipe. I love the way they the eggplant was nice and crispy without frying. This was my first time making eggplant and I loved it. Definitely will be making again. Thanks!!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — March 30th, 2016 @ 8:38 pm

      Thanks for sharing Victor — we’re glad you enjoyed this! Thanks for giving the recipe a try! :)

  9. Janice Betts — March 30, 2016 @ 10:44 pm (#)

    This was absolutely delicious!  I have tried to perfect my recipe for 20 years.  This is a wonderful recipe that I can tweek to my taste.  Thank you so much for sharing your love of cooking!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — March 31st, 2016 @ 9:14 am

      Thank you Janice — We’re so glad you enjoyed this! :)

  10. Alyshea Malaya — April 4, 2016 @ 10:38 pm (#)

    Eggplant parm is my favorite thing, last time I made it I didn’t know about using the salt on the eggplant and it turned out bitter, I was not happie.. thanks for the great tip and recipie!! I’m making it as we speak!!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 5th, 2016 @ 9:49 am

      You’re welcome Alyshea — we hope you enjoyed this! :)

  11. Zena Simundson — May 8, 2016 @ 10:04 am (#)

    Love the recipe, hate frying. Thank you

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 15th, 2016 @ 5:28 pm

      Thanks Zena — we hope you enjoy! :)

  12. Diane Gent — May 18, 2016 @ 10:01 am (#)

    Made this once and loved it! Wondering if it can be made ahead of time?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 19th, 2016 @ 8:33 am

      We’re so glad to hear that Diane! And we think you would be fine to prepare this ahead of time (up to a day in advance), and refrigerate before baking. We wouldn’t prepare it too far in advance though, as we’d worry it would get soggy. We hope this helps!

  13. Jen — June 8, 2016 @ 6:06 pm (#)

    I made this reciper wow. It was delicious!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 15th, 2016 @ 9:30 am

      We’re so glad you liked it Jen! :)

  14. Sandy Hursh — June 18, 2016 @ 3:50 pm (#)

    This was so yummy!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 19th, 2016 @ 9:36 pm

      Thanks Sandy — we’re so happy you enjoyed it!

  15. Jennifer — June 23, 2016 @ 7:11 pm (#)

    I made your eggplant parmesan tonight! It was delicious! Even my daughter said it was a KEEPER! Thanks for the recipe! YUM!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 23rd, 2016 @ 9:08 pm

      Thanks for sharing Jennifer — we’re happy you and your daughter enjoyed it! :)

  16. Pam S — June 26, 2016 @ 5:53 pm (#)

    Today is the 2nd time I’ve made this recipe. It’s even better this time and my family loves it. Thank you for posting.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 26th, 2016 @ 10:31 pm

      Thanks for sharing with us Pam — we’re so glad you and your family enjoy it! :)

  17. Tina — July 13, 2016 @ 6:28 pm (#)

    Hi. Just wanted to know if eggs can be substituted with something else 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — July 14th, 2016 @ 8:19 am

      Hi Tina! Yes, you could brush the chicken with melted butter, olive oil, plain yogurt, or buttermilk to help the crumb mixture adhere. We hope this helps!

  18. Lauren Nabi — July 16, 2016 @ 11:29 am (#)

    This was my first experience eating or making eggplant parmesan and this came out great!!!! It was DELICOUS. The only modifications I made were substituting italian breadcrumbs for panko & making my own marinara but the eggplants came out perfect. I will be making this again :) 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — July 16th, 2016 @ 2:25 pm

      Thank you for sharing with us Lauren, and for giving this a try! We’re so happy you enjoyed it! :)

  19. Lis — July 23, 2016 @ 3:54 pm (#)

    Excellent recipe, even my husband, who is a carnivore, liked it, 2 thumbs up!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — July 23rd, 2016 @ 4:18 pm

      Thanks Lis — we’re so glad you both enjoyed it! :)