Easy Baked Eggplant Parmesan
This Easy Baked Eggplant Parmesan is a lighter version of the classic dish- using baked breaded eggplant rather than fried, without skimping on flavor!JUMP TO RECIPE
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Of all the foods you can parmesan, I would have to say I think eggplant is my favorite. It might even be my favorite “meatless Monday” or vegetarian meal.
How can you go wrong with the creamy texture of baked eggplant, enveloped in rich, tangy tomato sauce, crisp, flavorful breading and last but not least, ooey-gooey cheese?! And aside from being a lighter version of the classic, this recipe comes with a bonus twist- a crispy breadcrumb topping!
Prepping the eggplant for breading/baking
As you will see in most eggplant recipes, yes, I do salt my eggplant and let it release some of it’s liquid. Just slice the eggplant into 1/4″ thick slices, lay em’ on. a paper towel lined baking sheet, and salt the hell out of them.
This will draw out some of the moisture from the eggplant, giving you a better end-result texture all around. Annoying- maybe? Necessary? I’d say affirmative.
Well, that was easy. Now on to the good stuff.
Once the eggplant is prepped, start the sauce and let that simmer while you prepare the breadcrumb mixture.
Why did I put olive oil in the breading?
To make sure the breaded eggplant crisps up and browns well in the oven, I moistened the mixture with a bit of olive oil. Aside from even browning, this step also adds great flavor to the breading- so don’t skip it!
Baking and assembling the Easy Eggplant Parmesan
Once you have baked your breaded eggplant for 30 minutes on an oven-safe rack. it’s time to assemble the eggplant parmesan, casserole style, and bake it to bubbly, cheese perfection.
You’ll simply line to bottom of a baking dish with the sauce, then add a layer of crispy eggplant, and a layer of cheese. Repeat those steps, then top the whole thing with the leftover breadcrumb mixture we used to make the baked eggplant. Nothing gets wasted, and the breadcrumbs add another layer of flavor and texture to the finished dish!
The hardest part of this eggplant parmesan recipe? Letting the whole thing cool for at least 20 minutes after baking before diving in!
If you make my Easy Baked Eggplant Parmesan, please be sure to leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you, and value your feedback! Lastly, if you make the recipe and love it, please tag me on Instagram! I love to see your photos!
Easy Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- Oven-safe rack
- Baking sheet
- aluminum foil
- 9×12 Baking dish (glass, ceramic or metal are all fine)
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced into even slices
- Cooking spray
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped*
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup red blend wine*’
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup grated Parmesan-Romano cheese blend*
- 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup milk
- 14 oz fresh sliced fresh mozzarella
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan-Romano cheese blend*
- Remaining breadcrumb mixture
- Prepare the eggplant: Slice eggplant into even, 1/4” thick slices, set on a paper towel-lined baking sheet, salt liberally and let sit for 30 minutes to draw out the liquid in the eggplant. 2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 3. Start the sauce: Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium-low heat. 4. Add onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until onions begin to soften. 5. Add the crushed tomatoes, wine, basil, oregano and sugar and stir to Combine, Turn heat to low and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce is slightly reduced. Once sauce has cooked 20 minutes, turn off heat and set aside. 6. Combine the breading ingredients: To a medium bowl, add grated cheese, Panko breadcrumbs, olive oil, and spices. Stir with fork to combine/moisten breadcrumb mixture. 7. Spray an oven-safe baking rack set over foil-lined baking sheet liberally with cooking spray, and set near your work station before beginning breading the eggplant. 8. Bread the eggplant: After eggplant has sat for 30 minutes, blot with paper towels to remove an excess moisture. To bread the eggplant- Set up a station with a bowl/lipped plate for the flour, whisk egg and milk together to combine in a medium bowl, have a bowl/plate ready with the breadcrumb mixture. Coat each slice of eggplant on both sides with flour, then coat in egg/milk, then in breadcrumb mixture. Arrange slices of breaded eggplant on the oven-safe rack as you go. 9. Once all eggplant is breaded, Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 mins at 350 degrees. Resave any remaining breadcrumb mixture for topping the eggplant later. 10. While eggplant bakes, finish sauce, and prepare a 9×12 baking dish for the Eggplant Parmesan by spraying all sides with cooking spray. 11. Layer and bake: Once eggplant sliced have finished baking, layer enough sauce into the greased baking dish to cover the bottom well, then place in an even layer of the baked eggplant. Top this layer with 1/2 of the mozzarella, and 1/2 of the Parmesan-Romano blend. Top this layer with enough sauce to fully cover and layer the remaining eggplant on top, followed by the remains cheese, and the reserved breadcrumb mixture. If there is any remains sauce, you could layer if around the outer edges of the dish, or reserve for another use. Lightly cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake an additional 30 minutes, or until eggplant is easily pierced with a fork and top is browned and bubbly. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
I used 1 small onion, but 1/2 a medium onion would be fine for the sauce, or even an equivalent amount of shallot.
I love to use a red blend wine in my sauce, but you could use any of your favorite reds for this recipe. I also like Cabernet Sauvignon for this!
I like the salty, complex taste of a Parmesan-Romano cheese blend, but you could use just Parmesan, or even a mixture of Parmesan and Asiago cheese for this recipe as well.
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