Eggplant Parmesan, also known as Eggplant Parmigiana or Aubergine Parmigiana, is a beloved Italian vegetarian dish, offering a delicious alternative to the classic Chicken Parmesan.
It's crafted by layering breaded eggplant with marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese, seasoned with Italian herbs, and baked to perfection. This dish stands out for its rich, comforting flavors and versatility, allowing for variations like baked or fried eggplants.
Ideal for both lunch and dinner, this dish pairs wonderfully with pasta and is a delight for vegetarian palates. With a little preparation, you can recreate this classic Italian dish, rich in flavors from fresh herbs and melting cheeses, right in your kitchen.
Though the process might take some time, the delicious and satisfying result is well worth the effort. Enjoy this culinary masterpiece on its own or alongside your favorite pasta dishes.
Savor More: Roasted & Baked Vegetable Delights:
- Roasted Cauliflower
- Roasted Broccoli
- Roasted Asparagus
- Roasted Carrots
- Roasted Green Beans
- Roasted Potatoes
- Roasted Vegetables
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Tomato
Dive into the heart of Italian cuisine with this Eggplant Parmesan recipe, where simple yet flavorful ingredients come together to create a culinary masterpiece. Let's explore what they are!
For the Sauce:
- Tomato Sauce: Either homemade tomato puree or store-bought crushed tomato sauce forms the rich, tangy base of the sauce.
- Garlic and Onion: Finely chopped, they add essential earthy and sweet aromatics to the sauce.
- Seasonings: Oregano and chili flakes (or other dried Italian herbs) introduce warmth and subtle spice, enhancing the sauce's flavor.
- Olive Oil: Used for sautéing, it blends the flavors and adds a touch of richness.
- Fresh Herbs: Basil, parsley, or oregano elevate the sauce with their distinctive fresh flavors, adding depth and brightness.
For Eggplant Parmesan:
- Eggplant: Use two medium-sized eggplants, which will yield enough to serve 5 to 6 people. They form the base of the dish, providing a meaty texture that absorbs flavors beautifully.
- Breading Mix: Combine panko breadcrumbs, all-purpose flour, and Parmesan cheese. This mix creates a crispy, flavorful coating for the eggplant, adding a delightful crunch and richness to each bite.
- Cheeses: Utilize both Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Parmesan adds a sharp, salty flavor to the breading and sauce, while mozzarella offers a creamy, melty texture that's essential for that satisfying cheese pull.
- Seasonings: Garlic powder and chili flakes are used to season the breading mix, infusing it with a gentle heat and a depth of flavor that complements the eggplant.
- Egg: Beaten eggs are essential for the breading process. They act as a glue, helping the breadcrumb mixture adhere to the eggplant slices, ensuring a consistent and even coating.
- Fresh Herbs: Finish the dish with a garnish of fresh basil leaves. These herbs add a burst of freshness, enhancing the overall flavor profile and adding a beautiful color contrast to the dish.
How to make Eggplant Parmesan?
Discover our Eggplant Parmesan recipe, complete with photos and video to guide you through each stage. From crafting the perfect sauce to expertly breading the eggplant and assembling the final dish, we've got you covered for an authentic Italian cooking experience. Let's get started!
Explore the irresistible taste of Parmesan in these Delicious Recipes.
- Chicken Parmesan
- Baked Chicken Parmesan
- Parmesan Crusted Chicken
- Garlic Parmesan Wings
- Garlic Parmesan Pasta
- Garlic Parmesan Sauce
- 2 tbsp Garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp White Onion, chopped
- 30 oz Tomato Sauce, or crushed tomatoes
- ½ tsp Oregano
- ½ tsp Chili Flakes
- Fresh Basil Leaves, to garnish
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup Panko Bread Crumb
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- Salt, as needed
- ½ tsp Chili Flakes
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
For Eggplant Parmesan
- 1.140 lb Eggplant, 2 medium size
- Olive Oil, as needed for pan frying
- 4 cups Mozzarella Cheese, for layering
- Parmesan Cheese, to garnish
- Basil Leaves, to garnish
To make Sauce
- Start by heating olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until aromatic. Follow with onions and continue to sauté until they soften.
- Stir in the tomato puree, oregano, and chili flakes, combining them well with the sautéed garlic and onions.
- Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
- Finish off by garnishing with fresh basil leaves, then set the sauce aside for later use in your dish.
To Bread the Eggplant
- Begin by cleaning the medium-sized eggplant. Dry them with a kitchen towel and slice into ¼ to ½ inch circular pieces, setting them aside for later use.
- Crack three eggs into a bowl. Beat the eggs until frothy and set this mixture aside for the breading process.
- In a separate large tray, combine all-purpose flour, panko breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and chili flakes. Stir the mixture until fully blended.
- Coat each eggplant slice first in the beaten egg, then in the breadcrumb and flour mixture, ensuring even coverage. Continue this process with all the eggplant slices.
To make Eggplant Parmesan
- In a pan over medium heat, warm olive oil and fry the breaded eggplant slices until they're crispy and golden on both sides. Perform this step for each slice individually.
- Fry all the breaded eggplants in batches, ensuring both sides of each piece achieve a crisp, golden texture.
- Prepare a wide baking pan by adding a tablespoon of oil and evenly coating the bottom and sides. Arrange the fried eggplant slices in the pan.
- Start layering by first placing the eggplant, then topping each slice with marinara sauce, followed by mozzarella cheese. Repeat this process until you've used all the eggplant slices.
- After layering, sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese and add a garnish of fresh basil leaves.
- Place the tray into a preheated oven at 400°F and bake the assembly uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, or until you see the cheese turn golden and start to bubble.
- Remove the Eggplant Parmesan from the oven, add a final garnish of fresh basil leaves, and serve immediately while warm.
- Enjoy this Eggplant Parmesan fresh and warm, straight from the oven, for a comforting lunch or dinner. Alternatively, pair it with your pasta of choice for an indulgent feast, perfect for any gathering or special occasion.
Chef's Notes and Tips
- Breading: Proper breading of the eggplants is crucial for achieving that desirable crispy texture in your Eggplant Parmesan.
- Flour Options: While all-purpose flour is used here, feel free to experiment with gluten-free flours, oat flour, or wheat flour for different dietary needs.
- Prepare Ahead: Save time by preparing the marinara sauce in advance; it can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. You can also pre-fry the eggplants and freeze them, leaving just the final assembly and baking for the day of serving.
- Vegan-Friendly Version: For a vegan alternative, simply replace regular cheeses with plant-based options.
- Air Fryer Method: For a healthier twist, air fry the breaded eggplants at 370°F for 8 to 10 minutes until crispy. After topping them with sauce, cheese, and basil, air fry again for 2 to 3 minutes to melt the cheese. Note that this method may take longer as you'll need to work in batches.
Disclaimer: We’re not nutrition experts. Nutritional info is estimated and should be used as a guide. For precise details, consult a professional.
Craving more vegetarian delights? Discover our array of roasted vegetable and vegetarian dinner recipes, perfect for any occasion. Each dish is packed with vibrant flavors and nutritious ingredients, ensuring a delicious and wholesome meal experience.
Storage and Serving Suggestions
For the best flavor and texture, enjoy Eggplant Parmesan fresh out of the oven. It's not recommended to store it in the refrigerator or freezer as the eggplants tend to become soggy and lose their crispness upon reheating.
Serve this delectable dish as a standalone meal, complemented by a fresh salad for a wholesome experience. Alternatively, pair it with your favorite pasta to create a satisfying lunch or dinner that's sure to delight.
Eggplant Parmesan combines the sweet and savory notes of tomato sauce with the crispy texture of fried eggplant and the rich, cheesy taste of mozzarella and Parmesan. It's finished with the aromatic freshness of basil.
It's not recommended to freeze and reheat Eggplant Parmesan, as it may become soggy. However, you can prepare and freeze it before baking, making it a great make-ahead option for events. Bake it fresh when you're ready to enjoy.
Yes, keeping the skin on the eggplant is advisable. It's not only edible but also adds a desirable crispiness to the dish.
Salting the eggplant is a matter of personal preference. While it can create a creamier texture by drawing out moisture, I prefer not to salt it, as unsalted eggplant retains a firmer, crispier texture which complements this dish.