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I’ll wager a bet: if you haven’t eaten eggplant parmesan, you have at least heard the name. Yeah? I thought so!
I love anything that uses vegetables that are in season and plentiful in the garden. And right now, that just happens to be eggplant. The problem with many eggplant recipes is that they don’t allow the vegetable to be the star of the dish. Instead, the eggplant is often breaded and fried to provide a crispy texture. But this also tends to subtract from their flavor. What’s the point of eggplant if it’s not actually enjoyed?
This recipe is a fresh take on an old classic. It’s not at all traditional, but a great way to enjoy that ever-so-plentiful eggplant!
What is eggplant parmesan?
At its simplest form, eggplant parmesan is a casserole: layers of sauce, eggplant, and cheese, all intermixed together. Once baked, it’s a lot like a lasagna. But what’s great about this recipe is that eggplant has the ability to retain an almost meat-like structure once baked and works as a perfect substitute where we’d normally use pasta.
And while the eggplant is able to prove itself, it would be nothing without a full-flavored sauce between each layer. For this fresh take on a homemade sauce, I used plenty of fresh herbs and chopped whole tomatoes to maintain a bright and balanced finish.
What makes this recipe unique?
Traditional eggplant parmesan recipes will dredge slices of eggplant in an eggwash followed by a good dunk in breadcrumbs. Some newer recipes will just bake the dredged eggplant while others sauté or pan-fry them. Once in a while, that is delicious, but I’m often in the mood for lighter dishes especially when eggplant is ripe in the summer.
This recipe roasts the eggplant slices at high heat until browned. After browning, they’re topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and roasted until the cheese is golden and crisp. This is the perfect way to get a crust and add impeccable flavor without the breading or frying. Genius if I do say so myself!
Watch how to make this eggplant parmesan
- 2 ¼ lb eggplant sliced ½-inch thick
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (approximately)
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella sliced into ½-inch pieces
For the sauce
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 28-oz cans whole or crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped basil roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp oregano roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
- Lay the pieces of eggplant on two baking sheets and drizzle with 1 tbsp oil. Flip over the pieces and drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in the preheated oven until browned, 15-20 minutes. Once browned, remove from the oven and place approximately 1 tbsp (adjust for the size of the slice) of Parmesan cheese on each slice. Return to oven and roast until the cheese is melted and golden, 3-5 minutes.2 ¼ lb eggplant, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (approximately)
- While the eggplant is roasting, prepare the sauce. Heat 1 ½ tbsp olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan. Add the onion and salt. Sauté until the onion is translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir and sauté for 1 minute. Add the cans of tomatoes. Break up or mash the tomatoes, if using whole, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half, 25-35 minutes. After the sauce is reduced, add the basil and oregano and remove the sauce from the heat.1 medium onion, 1 ½ tsp salt, 1 ½ tbsp minced garlic, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 2 28-oz cans whole or crushed tomatoes, ½ cup chopped basil, 3 tbsp oregano
- To assemble, cover the bottom of the baking dish with ½ cup of sauce. Layer with half of the prepared eggplant, shingling or cutting pieces as necessary. Layer half of the sliced mozzarella on top of the eggplant, ripping it into pieces for an even layer. Pour half of the remaining prepared sauce on top then repeat the layers one more time, ending with the remaining sauce on the top.8 oz fresh mozzarella
- Turn down the oven to 375°F. Bake until the sauce is bubbling throughout, about 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes before serving to redistribute the juices.
Greetings from South Africa! Love your program and your energy and enthusiasm- it’s quite contagious.
I am learning a lot so thank you🙏
So much flavor! So easy to make! We will be having this recipe again. Thank you for all the tips and tricks too. Chopping Parmesan in the food processor is brilliant!
Oh my goodness, this was delicious! My husband loves anything eggplant and said this was probably his favorite eggplant recipe of all time. Made with my organic garden eggplant and homemade garden tomato sauce. Such a hit that even my eggplant disliking children loved it! Thanks for the recipe and entertainment. I feel like I’m in the kitchen with a friend when I watch you:)
Kaleb, I made your recipe tonight and my husband and I enjoyed it very much. Before, we have always breaded and fried the eggplant. I love your idea of baking the eggplant. We used our freshly made tomato sauce and fresh herbs. Again, thanks for the share. Beverly
Greeting from the Garden State.
Best eggplant Parm recipe ever! Not only is the eggplant easy to prepare but the sauce was so delicious! 5 Stars! I’ve bookmarked this recipe.
We picked the eggplant from our garden and made a side salad to go along with it
Thank you for this recipe!
Delicious! I used our family’s sauce but otherwise made it exactly as written. The roasted eggplant was fantastic I won’t go back to frying.
I made the eggplant Parmesan for company. Everyone loved it and wants the recipe. The consistency was perfect. The only thing I did differently was to add a homegrown slab of tomato on top of each slice of eggplant/Parmesan with salt and pepper. I also sautéed strips of whole yellow pepper cut in half and a little green pepper when I sautéed the onion/garlic before adding the tomatoes. It was great!!
My family loved it!
I did skin the eggplant, no one likes it here.
Wow! I made this and served with angel hair the first night, amazing. Second round we heated up two portions in the oven with lots of sauce and put on toasted garlic buttered hoagie rolls and then broiled with a slice of provolone cheese on top sprinkled with Italian seasoning! The absolute bomb! Your recipe rocks!
That sounds absolutely fabulous!
Made this! Loved this! Never again will I dunk (eggs), dip (bread crumbs) and fry eggplant! Easy Easy EASY ! Yum!
This recipient is delicious. I used fresh mozzarella and it did not melt. It was like a hard,squishy flat ball. Did I use the right cheese.?
Thank you Kaleb for the delectable eggplant parmigiana recipe. I made it exactly as you instructed and it turned out gloriously. I also made a small batch of refrigerator dill pickles and a quart of applesauce. I’m having so much fun cooking up all of the wonderful Wisconsin produce this summer. Thank you for making both homegrown and homemade cool again!
I love to read this. I love how so many have enjoyed this recipe!!
Hi Kaleb, I just love you!!
I share your recipes and tips with my friends all the time!
My question is can I double this sauce recipe ?
As I am making extra eggplant parm for my daughter and some for her besties family too.
The eggplant dish was delicious! Great idea to bake the eggplant first instead of frying ! I enjoyed using the fresh herbs from my garden. The sauce was so flavorful. Will definitely make this again!
every recipe of yours that I have tried has been amazing.
The eggplant parmesan is in the oven now and smells so good.I know that we will enjoy it for dinner tonight.
I love watching you in your garden also.
Thank you for your time, your energy and your many talents!
Oh YUM! This was amazing. Be sure to have 3 good sized eggplant. One of my 3 was bad so I had to shift to a smaller dish. The sauce is amazing so I recommend you don’t skip that step and use jarred. Hubby and I fought over that leftovers today. 🤣 This is a keeper !!
Fab. My best friend’s favourite food. She’s not a cook but I think can manage this one!
This is the BEST eggplant recipe I have ever had!! The sauce is so simple but so delicious. I’ve made this twice now and we can’t get enough. Better than any restaurant! Thanks for this amazing recipe.
Great result! Good that I had fresh eggplants and herbs from my garden. I used my home made crushed canned tomato. I made this dish twice in one week. Thanks Kaleb! I enjoy following you on Facebook.
Best eggplant dish I have ever made. Did a couple of small modifications for what I had available & a little more garlic but it got rave reviews by the others I shared it with. Putting it back on my menu after the next time I go to the store
Going to make this next week. Love eggplant. Sounds delicious.
Kaleb, Your Eggplant Parmesan recipe is excellent, as are your other recipes I have tried. On a daily basis, I check out your site.
Your site is wonderful and your kitchen is beautiful.
I have made this recipe twice. It is the best eggplant parmesan I have ever eaten. I will never make it any other way than this way. The way the fresh ingredients come together is mouth watering. Great job Kaleb! It’s just a really beautiful recipe and so simple to make!
My family really enjoyed this meal tonight! Thank you for sharing!
Hi…I live in Tsawwassen, British Columbia. I enrolled in a local farmers community supported agriculture program and receive a mixture of harvest in a box weekly that often I don’t have a clue what to do with! When I received an absolutely gorgeous eggplant I stumbled upon your recipe and have made 3X!!! Now I follow you on insta and I just wanted to thank-you for inspiring me to make many of your recipes as you present in such an easy to follow non intimidating way. I just love your positive energy and wanted to thank you very much for all that you do!!! Much appreciated from the Pacific Northwest!
This is the most delicious recipe for eggplant parmigiana I have ever eaten. My family raved about it and there was not a morsel left over. Love all your very informative videos and other recipes.
Aside from loving that there is no dredging or frying, this is absolutely delicious. My initial thought was too much sauce, but no, no, no! It was the perfect ratio of eggplant, sauce and cheese. Did I mention it was delicious?! Easy to make and addictive to eat. We ate the leftovers leaving nothing for the freezer. Thank you Kaleb! Your enthusiasm and good taste has made me rethink and replace a number of old recipes.