Eggplant Parmesan

CasseroleItalianVegetarianEggplant

A classic Italian baked Eggplant Parmesan casserole with breaded eggplant slices layered with Mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, and tomato sauce.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Eggplant parmesan is one of those great Italian comfort foods—a layered casserole much like lasagna but with slices of globe eggplant taking the place of pasta.

The two things to keep in mind when cooking eggplant, especially firm globe eggplants, is that not only do eggplants hold onto moisture, they also absorb oil like a sponge. So if you’re not careful you can end up with something mushy and oily.

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

In this recipe, to tackle the first challenge we lightly salt the raw eggplant slices and let them sit out for a while. The salt helps draw moisture out of the eggplant.

To deal with the oil absorption issue, instead of frying the breaded eggplant slices, we bake them in the oven, before assembling the casserole to be baked again.

The result? Wonderful! Cheesy, tomato-y eggplant parmesan that doesn’t weigh you down with too much water or oil.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan on Plate

Inspired by a recipe in the New York Times by chef Gabrielle Hamilton, recounting a recipe from her Italian ex-mother-in-law.

Updated August 3, 2018 : Originally posted in 2005.

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

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  • Yield: Serves 8

First cut the eggplant and salt the eggplant rounds. Then prep the rest of the ingredients while the eggplant rounds are releasing their moisture.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 lbs (about 2 large) eggplants
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

 

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), tomatoes diced, reserve juices
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

 

  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 4 eggs, beaten (more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus more to oil the sheet pans)
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch slices

Method

1 Slice and salt eggplant, let drain: Slice the eggplants into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick rounds. Lay the eggplant slices out on a rack over a rimmed sheet pan (or on several layers of paper towels).

Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant rounds lightly with salt. Let the eggplant rounds sit and release moisture for 2 hours.

2 Sauté garlic, add tomatoes, simmer, add salt, pepper, basil: Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and gently cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add the tomatoes and their juices. Increase heat to bring to a simmer, lower heat to maintain a very low simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the minced basil and remove from heat.

3 Make breadcrumb Parmesan mixture, set up bowls for dredging with flour, egg, breadcrumbs: Combine 1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and place in a shallow bowl or rimmed dish.

Set up your station so that you have flour in one shallow bowl, beaten eggs in another bowl, and the breadcrumb cheese mixture in another, in that order.

4 Dredge eggplant rounds in flour, egg, breadcrumbs, top with olive oil: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spread a tablespoon of olive oil each over the bottom of two rimmed baking sheet pans. Pat dry the eggplant slices with paper towels.

Working one at a time dredge the eggplant slices first in the flour, then dip in the beaten eggs, and then dredge in the breadcrumb parmesan cheese mixture.

Place on oiled sheet pan. Drizzle a little oil over the top of each breaded eggplant round.

5 Bake eggplant rounds: Place breaded prepared eggplant slices in the oven. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes at 425°F, turning the slices over at the half-way point, until they are nicely browned. Remove from oven, and let cool to touch.

6 Layer sauce, eggplant rounds, cheeses in casserole dish: Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Place a third of the eggplant rounds in a single layer covering the sauce on the bottom of the pan.

 

Layer half of the sliced mozzarella on top of the eggplant rounds. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.

Place another third of the eggplant rounds over the cheese. Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the eggplant rounds. Layer the rest of the sliced mozzarella over the sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of grated Parm.

Add the remaining eggplant in a single layer on top of the cheese. Top with the remaining sauce and the remaining Parmesan.

7 Bake: Bake uncovered at 350°F for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into to serve.

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How to make Eggplant Parmesan

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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164 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Bunny

    Loved it! First time to try… Enjoyed the process. Did not have whole Parmesan so used shredded parm. Not a garlic lover so used a small amount of garlic spice and didn’t have fresh basil so substituted basil spice in jar.
    Browned rounds well and that enhanced flavor. Look forward to making it again using parm slices. Thanks, Elise!!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Edith

    This is a great recipe. My eggplant didn’t get the full time to prep with the salt since I was making this very late at night and we were hungry. I just patted the slices after a short time and went on with the recipe. The eggplant slices were very tender and lightly browned. I almost wanted to eat them right out of the oven! However, I proceeded to layer them with the sauce with the wonderful fresh basil, the fresh mozzarella, and the parmesan. After baking the casserole for 1/2 hour we declared it done. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our late night Eggplant Parmesan feast!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Marilyn

    I want to make this recipe for a friend who is vegetarian but also gluten free. Is it possible to skip the breading part, just using the cheese? Or dip in egg and then cheese? Thank you.

  • Jennifer

    First time making Eggplant Parmesan, and it turned out amazing!!! I cheated with the pasta sauce, as I used Classico, but added the canned tomatoes, garlic and basil. I impressed myself, thank you!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Kathleen, we don’t yet provide nutritional information. If you need it, we recommend this site: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

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