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!!!

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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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199 comments on “Baked Eggplant Parmesan”

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  1. Looks delicious! Thanks for the tip for how to reduce bitterness. I like eggplant but find that it can be too bitter when cooked sometimes. This step seems easy and helpful! 

  2. I’m such a sucker for eggplant! Love that you made this recipe healthier. Beautiful! :)

  3. What a great vegetarian version! I will definitely have to this :)

  4. So, so, so wish I could have been the taste tester on this one. Eggplant parm is always my go-to thing to order at Italian restaurants. Yours looks amazing!!!

  5. A perfect dinner recipe! I love baked eggplant parm and yours looks superb!

  6. Brilliant as always. I’m intrigue by the sucking out the moisture idea. I bet that makes a huge difference. Pinned to make! Yummy!

  7. I’ve been craving something Italiany all dayyy and now I’m drooling.

    Jillian

  8. This looks delicious! I don’t think i’ve ever tried baking with egg plant.  I must try this recipe, looks pretty easy! :)

  9. I am so making this, looks out of this world delicious!

  10. I’m afraid I don’t have those pesky problems..I LOVE fried eggplant! But I like this version too, it’s less mess and more healthy than in a fryer. Thanks for the tip to make it less bitter! 

  11. ¡Fantástica receta! muy rica y fácil de preparar, te sacará de algún apuro. Gracias por compartirla.

  12. Eggplant parm used to be one of my favorite dishes. Haven’t had it in forever.

    Might have to try this one.

    And for Ali @ anything you want, I’ve read/heard that soaking in salt water, as mentioned in this recipe, helps with the bitterness.

    • Thanks for sharing Jack, and we hope you’ll give this one a try and love it as much as we do! :)

  13. I LOVE this!  I love eggplant, but Hubby does not.  I’m hoping this will bring him over to the eggplant side!!  One question, what is a Misto for the olive oil?

    • Thanks, we hope you’ll like the recipe, and who knows, maybe it’ll even convert your husband! ;) A misto is just a spray canister for the olive oil:

  14. Loving this healthier version. Eggplant is something I’m always on the quest to love more. I always sweat the eggplant. Takes a bit of extra time/planning, but so worth it. 

  15. I love eggplant and this is one of my favorite dishes. I love the way you baked the crumbs. Good Job.

  16. Do you peel the eggplant before cooking ?

  17. Oh my word! This looks amazing! 

  18. My mouth is watering! I love anything with brinjal and Parmesan. Nice that you baked them too. Thanks x

  19. This sounds amazing! Going to make this verrrry soon!

  20. Absolutely scrumptious!!!!!!!!!!

  21. I am TOTALLY with you on the eggplant…but I have been resolved to eat it more as well. For some reason it intrigues me :)
    but I think I will leave the any experimenting to you, Ali, and just whip up this recipe! Thanks :D

  22. oh my goodness please share this drool making yumminess at my Thursday blog hop ( you can link up and share through Saturday midnight) xo

  23. Well, it seems you are a genus! I shall make this in the near future. Thank you!

  24. I feel the same way about eggplant but we decided to grow it this year. I followed your recipe and it was very good. I think I’ll peel it next time but I really liked it. I’m new to your site and very excited to try more of your recipes. Thank you!

    • Hi Cathy! That’s awesome that you’re growing your own eggplant! Also, we’re so glad you liked this dish, and we thank you for checking out the blog! :)

  25. WOW! I just stopped by Foodgawker and saw this picture featured first and it really blew me away, it pops right out of my screen! I love it, nice job- the recipe sounds delicious too, I love baked eggplant parm!!

    • Thanks Stephanie! We hope you enjoy the eggplant parm as much as we do! : )

  26. I made this for my family, and we all liked it. I sliced the eggplant in 1/2″ slices, per the directions, but thought they were too thick.  Next time, I will slice them much thinner, and have more layers.
    Overall, it’s worth making again!

    • Thanks for sharing Kristy! We’re glad you and your family enjoyed this, and yes, you could totally slice the eggplant thinner! :)

  27. I have tried numerous recipes from your website and have loved them all! This dish looks amazing and I plan on trying it soon. However, my son is allergic to egg, so instead of dipping the eggplant in the egg whites can I use buttermilk? Or do you have any other suggestions for substitutions? Thanks!

    • Thanks Alison! Although we haven’t tried using buttermilk instead of the egg whites, we think that’s a good call, and that it should probably work! That’s probably the closest consistency. We hope that works for you guys, thanks for your interest in the recipe!

  28. It turned out to be extremely salty, I’m gessing because of the first step that i did because I had the time….. The dish is ruined :(. :(

    • Hi Daniela, we’re really sorry to hear this came out so salty! We understand you did the first step, but did you rinse the salt off as well? That’s the only reason we can think of as to why it came out so salty. :(

  29. Made this a couple of weeks ago. Absolutely scrumptious!!! Japanese eggplant tastes almost meaty. LOVED it!!! Best Eggplant Parm I have ever tasted!! Nice to bake instead of fry!!

  30. Ali, i made this recipe last week and it tasted absolutely delicious! You are clever to make eggplant taste that good. 

  31. It was delicious! Made it tonight for our family of five. It wasn’t quite enough for a main meal by itself but we actually had just caught and cleaned two fish and coated them in the breadcrumbs too and fried in coconut oil as an appetizer.  With both of them, it was perfect. Thanks for the yummy recipe!
    The only thing I changed was instead of doing Panko crumbs, I found a gluten-free option. Worked just great!

    • Yay, we’re so glad you and your family enjoyed this! And that fish sounds absolutely amazing! :)

  32. If you buy heirloom eggplants not the big purple ones you don’t need to remove bitterness. They are not bitter. Their skins are softer and flavor is better. And they are the farmers’ markets. now.

  33. Looks delicious! I’ve never had eggplant before but am definitely thinking of trying this out. Did you find that the eggplant got soft/mushy? Or did it manage to stay pretty firm? I’m definitely a texture person and don’t love soggy 

    Thanks!

    • Thanks Madi! The eggplant shouldn’t be soft or mushy, it should still retain some of its firmness. We hope you enjoy the recipe!

  34. Your leaving the skin on? Have always peeled it off. Guess it gets soft, but not sure how it tastes.

  35. So excited to try this, Ali!

  36. My whole family loved this! Totally surprised because they generally hate veggies and I’ve never made eggplant before. I only had one eggplant so I used flattened chicken breasts (with panko coating) for the bottom layer but did everything else according to your recipe. Thanks!

  37. My belly is full because this was great. Leftovers for lunch, I only had 1 eggplant so I  also used roasted tomatoes minus the panko for them. 

  38. OmG! I made this recipe last night for my fiancée and I and it was absolutely amazing. Definitely a hit! Must do again!… In the near future! Thanks!! 

  39. OMG,  I made this dish tonight for dinner. It came out Delicious!  My husband doesn’t really like eggplants and Loved it! I added a layer of chicken slices and made Quinoa as a side dish. 
    Thank you for the Delicious recipe! 

    • That’s great to hear Marisol, we’re happy you and your husband enjoyed it! :)

  40. I made this tonight, and it was a big hit! My two teenage boys loved it and had seconds. My husband already has it packed and ready to go for tomorrow’s lunch. I just used my own tomato/veggie sauce I canned a few months ago, and fresh basil right out of our garden! Delicious! :) 

  41. I just made this ( though I have had my eye on it…) and its perfect!!! I definitely let it drain for about half an hour, it wasn’t bitter at all and came together beautifully!!! Absolutely fab. I forgot the fresh basil, because life is crazy, but it was still to die for ! Its recipes like this that give me hope for humanity ( or at least meatless mondays..) 

  42. Luv this recipe 

  43. This recipe looks delicious, so good that I tucked it into my meal plan for the week and will actually be making it TONIGHT! :) 

    Would it be okay with you if I feature this recipe on my blog and do a review of how it turns out for me? It will be all linked to this original post if that is all okay?! 

    Thanks for sharing and especially for the bitterness reduction tip, do I need to soak it before I drain it or does it have enough moisture to just drain as it is?

    Bailey |One Thousand Joys

  44. I made this over spaghetti squash, amazing. Feels so indulgent, but all in all not too bad for you!

  45. What’s the calorie count and serving size please? 

    • Hi Gina! This recipe makes about 8-10 servings. Unfortunately though, we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  46. Is it possible to make this up to the last step of baking the whole casserole and refrigerating and then baking the next day?  Also, what oven temperature is the assembled casserole baked at for 15-20 minutes?

    • That might work Caitlin, but we’d be concerned about the eggplant getting soggy and mushy, so we’re not too sure. You will bake it at 425. We hope you enjoy!

  47. Could you put this together except the baking and freeze it and take it out and thaw and bake it at a later date?

  48. This looks amazing!  Is this something that could be prepared and frozen for another time?  If so, would I complete all the steps including baking and then freeze and reheat later?  Thanks!

    • Thanks Jen, we hope you enjoy it! You can definitely assemble this without baking it and then freeze and reheat later. :)

  49. I made this for myself tonight, in anticipation of making it again for my company’s Christmas potluck in a few weeks, figure I’ll freeze leftovers for lunches.
    Putting it over spaghetti squash was perfect. I used Trader Joes arrabiatta sauce. Baking eggplant instead of frying was inspired, and I made the slices plenty thick, baking a little longer until they were nice and puffy. I appreciated the salt trick too.  Whole thing held together well – this is a great dish, simple and inexpensive to make, and my guests will love it. 

  50. Hi! Looks delicious! I always peel eggplant when I make the fried version (husband doesn’t like the skin). Have you ever tried to make it like that? Thanks!

    • Thanks Marsha, we hope you enjoy the recipe! We haven’t tried peeling it, but you certainly can! And we love it fried, this one is just a little healthier. :)