Eggplant Parmesan

Featuring layers upon layers of flavorful eggplant, fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, this Eggplant Parmesan is a classic (and delicious) recipe!

Featuring layers upon layers of flavorful eggplant, fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, this Eggplant Parmesan is a classic (and delicious) recipe!“How about an eggplant sandwich?  With cheese, please.  Oh, and I’d like some mushrooms and bacon on that, too.”  A couple of years ago, we picked up a big bag of play food for Robbie at the semi-annual kids consignment sale in our town.  I love that consignment sale!  I think the entire bag of play food was like $4.  One of our favorite late afternoon activities is to sit on the couch (often with a glass of wine) while we order food from Chef Robbie.  The food is ok (it’s plastic after all), but the service really can’t be beat!

Featuring layers upon layers of flavorful eggplant, fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, this Eggplant Parmesan is a classic (and delicious) recipe!We recently picked up another bag of food (yup, same consignment sale) so Robbie could expand the menu at his restaurant.  He had a couple eggplants in that bag, so that led to our order of an eggplant sandwich with cheese, mushrooms and bacon.  (On second thought, the real life version of that dish might actually be pretty tasty!)  Of course, we also had chocolate eggplant sushi.  I’m thinking Chef Robbie might need to go back to the drawing board there.

Featuring layers upon layers of flavorful eggplant, fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, this Eggplant Parmesan is a classic (and delicious) recipe!Eggplant Parmesan

As Laura and I were enjoying our eggplant sandwich over a nice glass of red wine, we started to talk about actual eggplant.  Like Eggplant Parmesan.  Somewhere in there was a “Gosh, I really love Italian food!” comment.  Seriously, though, Eggplant Parmesan is delicious.  It does take a bit of time to prepare, but it’s well worth the effort!

The main reason why this Eggplant Parmesan takes some time to prepare is the water content in eggplant.  Eggplant has a lot of water in it.  That leads to a very watery dish of Eggplant Parmesan.  The secret is to drain as much water from the eggplant as possible before making this recipe.  And the super easy way to do this?  Salt.  Yup, salt.

Featuring layers upon layers of flavorful eggplant, fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, this Eggplant Parmesan is a classic (and delicious) recipe!Salt pulls the moisture out of things, including eggplants.  So after slicing up the eggplants, you simply over-salt them and let them rest in a colander in the sink for 1-2 hours.  After about 20 minutes, you’ll notice beads of water forming on each of the slices of eggplant.  After an hour or two, you’ll notice that a good bit of water has drained off.  From there, you just rinse all of the salt off – that’s a key step…otherwise your Eggplant Parmesan will be WAY too salty- and then use paper towels to pat the slices dry.

Featuring layers upon layers of flavorful eggplant, fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, this Eggplant Parmesan is a classic (and delicious) recipe!Once the eggplant has been prepared, this recipe really is pretty straightforward.  I do like making my own sauce, and it literally takes no time at all.  (The sauce can be made while the eggplants drain in the sink.)  You just dip the eggplant slices in egg, then in breadcrumbs, then pan fry ’em up until they’re golden brown.  From there, the eggplant gets layered into a baking dish with fresh mozzarella and sauce.  Nice and easy.  Nice and easy…and delicious!  This Eggplant Parmesan sure beats the heck out of Chocolate Eggplant Sushi – just don’t tell Robbie I said that.  I hope you enjoy this Eggplant Parm as much as we did!  Cheers!

Did you make this Eggplant Parmesan at home?  Leave a comment, or better yet snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).  I’d love to see your version!

Featuring layers upon layers of flavorful eggplant, fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, this Eggplant Parmesan is a classic (and delicious) recipe!

Eggplant Parmesan

Featuring layers upon layers of flavorful eggplant, fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, this Eggplant Parmesan is a classic (and delicious) recipe!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 643kcal

Ingredients

For the Eggplant Parmesan

  • 2 medium eggplants ~1 pound each
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil for frying
  • 16 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese cut into thin slices
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • {garnish} fresh basil chopped
  • {garnish} Parmesan cheese grated

For the Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion diced
  • 2 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • Tbsp fresh basil minced
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Instructions

For the Eggplant Parmesan

  • Trim eggplants and slice crosswise into ½” thick pieces. Layer the slices in a colander in the sink, sprinkling each layer with kosher salt. Let sit for 1-2 hours. (Note: This step removes extra liquid from the eggplant. It’s important! While the eggplant is draining is a good time to go ahead and make the sauce.)
  • Rinse the eggplant slices and pat each dry with a paper towel.
  • Spread breadcrumbs onto a large plate; set plate aside.
  • Using a shallow bowl, add eggs and milk; whisk together until well combined.
  • Dip both sides of eggplant slices into egg mixture and then into the breadcrumb mixture. Place eggplant slices on a separate plate or large baking tray.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Spray a 9”x13” baking dish with nonstick baking spray; set dish aside.
  • Line a large plate with paper towels; set plate next to stovetop.
  • Using a large frying pan, add vegetable oil and place over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add 5-6 eggplant slices and fry for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer cooked eggplant slices to the paper-towel lined plate. Repeat process with the remaining eggplant slices.
  • Spread 1 cup of sauce onto bottom of baking dish.
  • Spread ⅓ of the eggplant slices on top, overlapping slightly as necessary. Spread ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese and ⅓ of the Parmesan cheese on top. Repeat process two more times, using the remaining ingredients.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and cheese has browned slightly on top.
  • {Optional: Turn on broil for 2-3 minutes at the end to help brown the cheese. Watch closely at this stage to prevent cheese from burning!}
  • Garnish with chopped basil and additional Parmesan cheese before serving.

For the Sauce

  • Using a medium saucepan, add olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the garlic, crushed tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper; stir until well combined. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Cover and reduce heat to low until sauce is needed to assemble the Eggplant Parmesan.

Notes

If you prefer to use jarred sauce here, you’ll need 3 cups total.

Featuring layers upon layers of flavorful eggplant, fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, this Eggplant Parmesan is a classic (and delicious) recipe!

Looking for more tasty Italian recipes?  Check out these other favorites, too:

These Italian Prosciutto Panini start with a classic Tuscan bread called schiacciata.  Add in some Prosciutto di Parma, marinated artichokes and Pecorino Romano, and you've got a delicious sandwich!Italian Prosciutto Panini

This Italian Lasagna Bread is a fun crossover between bread and pasta!  Crispy like flatbread on the outside, chewy like pasta on the inside...and 100% delicious!Italian Lasagna Bread

Starting with a classic chuck roast, these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches make for an easy and delicious comfort food meal!Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

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24 Comments

  1. Will be making this soon with dairy free cheeses and milk as i dont like dairy cheeses and milk i love eggplant sooooooooooo much 🍆 i never had eggplant parmesan before will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

    1. Ah, you should totally plan on making this sometime, Ramya! Just use non-dairy cheeses, and you should be all set. Let me know how it turns out if you make it! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Parmigiana di melanzane was the first dish I ordered when I arrived for my first visit to Italy many years ago and given the chance to travel there again I’d order the same. It’s a great dish when time is taken, as you have, to make it right.
    Now, if I could just try Robbie chocolate eggplant sushi, I might be in. I always put chocolate in my eggplant caponata.

    1. Ah, the very first dish you ordered in Italy? That says a lot, Ron! It’s a classic recipe, and it’s quite tasty. As far as that chocolate eggplant sushi, though? I’ll save my portion for you! 🙂

  3. Yum. What I love about that main photo is that you can see all of the layers. I love seeing those thick slices of eggplant, instead of a mushed up slice of eggplant and sauce. Mine would be mushed up because I typically bake whole eggplants and then slice. Easy, but not pretty. But also I’ve fried the slices but never breaded before. It’s got to add to the integrity of the layers.

    1. Ah, I see your point about baking the whole eggplant first. It would be easier that way for sure. I do like the thicker slices here, though. That plus the breading leads to ‘sturdier’ layers. Either way, the flavors are the same. There’s a reason why eggplant parm is a classic! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    My kids won’t eat eggplants unless I make eggplant Parmesan with them. Yours looks lovely and I want to try your recipe next time I make them. What a great Italian classic!

    1. Haha – I get that! Eggplant doesn’t exactly top the charts of favorite kids’ veggies. But if you turn it into eggplant parm? Yum! Thanks, Holly! 🙂

  5. Not sure what I want more, this eggplant recipe, or your lasagna bread. Both are calling to me for tonight’s dinner, and it’s a cold day where delicous comfort food is needed. 🙂 ~Valentina

    1. I’m with ya, Valentina! It’s been a long, cold winter here, too…and that means we need comfort food! I highly recommend this Eggplant Parm with a slice of lasagna bread on the side. 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    Love the inspiration behind the dish — thanks Robbie! Haha! Can’t wait to make it once I get my hands on eggplant (hubby isn’t a big fan), but I’m sure if it’s smothered with cheese and tomato sauce, he’ll eat it!

    1. Haha – inspiration can come from the least expected sources, right? 🙂 To be fair, eggplant isn’t a veggie that often calls to me, either, Michelle…but if you bread it, pan fry it and then layer it with cheese and tomato sauce? Sign me up! I hope you get a chance to make this one!

    1. I hear ya, Sherry! For me, it all depends on how the eggplant is cooked. Eggplant doesn’t always call to me as it can be kinda mushy, but if it’s breaded and pan fried? Yes, please! Of course, the cheese and tomato sauce help a lot, too. Haha. 🙂

    1. I’m 100% with you on eggplant, Raymund. It rarely calls to me due to the texture, but when it’s in eggplant parm? That’s a different story! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Probably, you remember me experimenting a lot with sweet and savoury combos (Like chocolate lavender pasta or Irish cream risotto and other strange yet delicious things haha) So little Chef Robbie certainly has some good (maybe not conventional, not yet) imagination – you just cannot “make” chocolate eggplant sushi without it. Just be aware that one day you might find some lavender on your pizza! Lol. This recipe is absolutely beautiful. I love eggplant and with a generous addition of cheese? Yes please!

    1. Ah, yes, I do indeed remember those sweet and savory combos. Maybe Chef Robbie had been reading your older posts when he came up with his chocolate eggplant sushi! 🙂 (Maybe you should take his idea and turn it into reality now??) Thanks, Ben!

  8. My daughter is going to love this. She isn’t too fond of eggplants but serve it to her this way and she laps it up! Will definitely try your version…thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Taruna! I agree with your daughter about eggplant – it’s not my favorite vegetable, but when you turn it into eggplant parm, it turns into a whole new dish!

    1. I’m with ya, Karen! I’m one of those people. The texture of eggplant isn’t my favorite, but when you pan fry it with cheese and tomatoes? Sign me up! 🙂

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