Baked Eggplant Parmesan

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.  :)

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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.

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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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186 comments on “Baked Eggplant Parmesan”

  1. 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!

  2. 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

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

  3. This dish is so delish! Was easy to make..I followed it to the T..I didn’t have any basil but still awesome!

  4. 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!

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

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

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

    • 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.

  9. 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!!

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

  10. 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!

  11. 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!!

  12. Love the recipe, hate frying. Thank you

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

    • 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!

  14. I made this reciper wow. It was delicious!

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

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

  16. 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.

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

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

    • 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. 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 :) 

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

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

  20. I made this last night while my wife was away since she doesn’t care for eggplant. The recipe was simple enough for me to follow successfully and the results were delicious. Looking forward to eating the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I am saving this recipe so I can make it again.

  21. This came out so good!I used white eggplant and it tasted so yummy. Thank you so much for posting this recipe….I have made several of your recipes before and they’ve integrated their way into repeated recipes.

    • We’re so glad to hear that, Amanda! And we’re so glad you’ve enjoyed the other recipes you’ve made — thanks for sharing with us! :)

  22. I too think eggplant is underwhelming. When it comes in my CSA box; I need to use it, because I do not waste fresh organic veggies! Thanks for the yummy recipe. It is great reheated for lunch.

  23. Loved it, will def add it to the repetoire.

  24. A five star recipe, highest rating I have ever given a internet recipe. Brine’d the eggplant for 1 1/2 hours and rinsed. Not a bad bite in the whole meal. 

  25. This was my very first time making eggplant parmigiano and it was so yummy I added some garlic because that is my family’s favorite seasoning but that was the only thing I did different.I am so glad I tried this it will most definitely go in the rotation 

  26. Delicious! Made this last night for dinner. My husband REALLY liked it (and he’s a carnivore to the max) . I found it to be super tasty. I was missing one ingredient — fresh basil. Once trick I use which is even faster in dealing with the bitterness of eggplant is to slice up the eggplant, place in a bowl of cold water, swirl the slices around, and dry with paper towel. Then proceed with the recipe. NO bitterness at all. I will definitely be making this again and again! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Thanks, Dianne — we’re so glad you and your husband enjoyed it! Also, thanks for sharing that eggplant tip with us, that’s great! :)

  27. Great taste! TY for sharing this recipe. Made it tonight for dinner & dislike frying so I was very anxious to give it a try…
    I added some sliced mushrooms which was great but found the eggplant to be a bit tough. Should I reduce the cooking time? I have a gas stove which heats up really quick & hot?

    • Thanks, Maile — we’re glad you enjoyed it! If the eggplant was tough, it sounds like you might need to reduce the cooking time a bit. We hope this helps!

  28. Can this dish be frozen?

  29. I LOVE this recipe. Tonight was the second time I have made it. I don’t like eggplant. At all. However, this recipe seemed like a great vegetarian option so I tried it one night, and I loved it. It is so easy to make, even with how time consuming it is.

    We make our own spaghetti sauce with crushed tomato, basil pesto, garlic, and a McCormic seasoning packet. Our spaghetti sauce is sweet and compliments this recipe perfectly.

    I always make sure to peel the eggplant and add salt to draw out the bitterness.

  30. This is the third time I have made your eggplant parm recipe! It is the best version we have tried and my new go to, and one of my husband’s favorite meals. Can’t wait to try some more of your recipes!

    • Thanks for sharing, Nikki — we’re so happy you and your husband enjoy this! :)

  31. I have made eggplant parm over the years and was sometimes satisfied. But this after following this easy recipe I was very happy. Came out great not soggy but very tasty. I even used my homemade tomato sauce that I grew in the garden. 

    Glad I found your recipe. 

  32. I think I will try this! Never had eggplant, much less prepared it. My Mom gave me one to try and my sister said to try eggplant parmesan. My husband is turning up his nose, but who knows? Maybe even he will like it!

  33. Hi! Quick question — does the EP need to be covered when baking to prevent it from drying out?

  34. I have no parchment  paper. Can I just grease the pan?

  35. I am making this recipe tonight however I’ve been to 2 grocery stores (Walmart and Publix) and can’t find the Delallo tomato basil sauce. Is there another sauce I can substitute it with? Maybe a spaghetti sauce of some sort? That’s what I’m thinking of trying and hope it turns out ok. ?

    • Hi Donna! We’re sorry you had such a hard time finding the Delallo sauce, but definitely feel free to use whatever marinara sauce you can find that you like — it will still be delicious! :)

  36. I’ve tried several versions of eggplant parm and didn’t find one I truly loved until this one.  It’s perfect.  I may start making my own tomato sauce for it, but that would be the only variation.  Thanks for a great recipe!

  37. Love this recipe! I’ve made it twice and it’s delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  38. This was absolutely delicious! I love that you used plain Panko and added the spices to  it.  That is what I like to do so I can control the sodium.  My husband thought it was better than any he had ever eaten at a fine restaurant. Thanks for sharing this.

  39. I’ve always wanted to try an eggplant parm. I made this last night when some vegetarian friends came for dinner. It was awesome! No bitterness in the eggplant, thanks to the salting. 
    I served it on fried rounds of polenta to soak up the sauce. It made for an elegant plating too!
    Funny how most of my favourite recipes come from gimmesomeoven! Thanks for another winner. 

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Renee — we’re happy to hear you enjoyed it!

  40. Made this today for my parents they said it turned out really good I think next time I will use only one eggplant I had two really big ones and add more sauce I would make it again.

  41. My Family loved this. I prepared this before church as far as the baking of the breaded eggplant. Then when we came back from church I put the eggplant in the casserole dish with cheese and sauce as recipe calls and then cooked pasta while eggplant was in the oven. Yummy!!!

    • We’re so happy to hear that, Stacy, thanks for sharing with us!

  42. Hi, Do you salt both sides of the eggplant rounds or just one side? Thanks

  43. https://goo.gl/photos/gUMTTSCScVrReACVA

    #GimmeSomeOven

    I hope this works and links the photo of my Baked Eggplant Parm

  44. Sorry I forgot to mention that my family loved this! My husband went back for 3rds and my 4 1/2 yr made a happy plate and tools me it was yummy!

  45. I made this dish for a crowd and everyone loved it! Definitely will make it again!!

    Rating: 5
  46. Delicious recipe!! Hit with even the boys in my house who didnt even know they were eating veggies!

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for sharing, Kelly, we’re happy this was a hit with your family! :)

  47. This looks great and am going to try tonight! How do you suggest reheating this? Microwave? Or can I put the uneaten portion in the oven? Thank you!

    • Hi there! We’d suggest reheating it in the oven for best results. We hope you enjoy!

  48. I made this today and it was amazing! Saved it to my board.

    Rating: 5