Easy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant parmesan is a classic for a good reason. It is such an easy vegetarian dish that everyone will love. I know that some of you are still iffy about eggplants, but layering breaded eggplant with parmesan, mozzarella, and marinara sauce may help you give eggplant another chance. This Italian comfort food has been through many iterations, some that are authentically Italian and some tweaked and Americanized. 

There are versions of eggplant parmesan that do not include breading, while others require breading and pan-frying first. We will be covering our eggplant slices with both bread crumbs and grated parmesan and popping them in the oven instead of frying for this recipe. I love baking as an option, especially when you are making a big batch. You don’t have to stand in front of the stove cooking a bunch of smaller sets of eggplant slices. This method will save us some time and use less oil, so it’s a win-win situation!

eggplant garlic and basil on a cutting board
Prepping your eggplant before cooking helps with texture and flavor!

Before we get started, we need to talk about eggplants. Eggplants can be bitter sometimes. They hold on to moisture, and they also absorb oil pretty quickly, which can make them soggy and mushy. We don’t want that! So, here is what we need to do to get the best results. 

First, you want to lightly salt your eggplant slices and place them on a plate or sheet pan for 40 minutes to an hour. 

Next, rinse lightly under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. 

Doing these two things before breading your eggplants will prevent them from being water-logged and mushy while also removing some of that bitter flavor. Now you’re ready to go! 

Breaded eggplant slices in a black baking dish.
Bread eggplant and bake in a single layer.

I like to use store-bought seasoned Italian breadcrumbs for the breading, but you can always make your own. I mix that in with some grated parmesan, and our coating is ready to go. All you have to now is dip your dried eggplant slice into an egg wash, then into the breadcrumb mix, and onto a sheet pan in a single layer. I choose to bake instead of fry in this step, not only because I’m lazy and can’t be bothered with standing in front of a hot stove for that long but also because the eggplant will absorb less oil this way. 

Pop these out of the oven, and start to layer your ingredients. Tomato sauce, eggplant, tomato sauce, mozzarella, eggplant… Continue these steps until you reach your final layer, which will be a topping of sauce, mozzarella, and some grated parmesan. 

When this comes out of the oven, it is super cheesy, bubbly, and delicious. If you are a chicken parm or lasagna lover, I highly recommend that you try this out. 

A beautiful, cheesy eggplant parmesan dinner.
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Cheesy Baked Eggplant Parmesan with Mozzarella and Fresh Basil

This cheese baked eggplant parmesan with mozzarella and fresh basil is super easy to make and doesn’t require any frying.

  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hr 25 min
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

Scale

2 tsp kosher salt (for prepping eggplant)

2 Medium Eggplants

Olive Oil Spray

2 cups Seasoned Italian Breadcrumbs

2 Eggs

1 tbsp Italian Seasoning

2 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Onion Powder

2 tsp Paprika

1/2 tsp salt (for breading)

2 tsp Parsley

4 cups Marinara Sauce

2 1/2 cups Fresh Mozzarella

1 cup Parmesan Cheese

4 Fresh Basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Slice your eggplant into 1/2 inch thick round slices.
  2. Arrange your eggplant slices on a baking sheet, sprinkle generously with kosher salt, and let it sit for 45 minutes to an hour. This will draw out extra moisture and bitterness from the eggplant.
  3. Rinse the eggplants under cold water to remove the excess salt and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  4. In one bowl, whisk your eggs together to create an egg wash for your eggplant slices.
  5. In another bowl, mix together your dry ingredients for the breading. Add in your Italian breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and parsley.
  6. Dip your eggplant slices in the egg wash then dredge in the parmesan breadcrumb mix. Be sure that the entire surface is covered and that the breadcrumbs are sticking to thee eggplant well. Then transfer to a baking sheet in a single layer.
  7. Spray lightly with olive oil. Bake the eggplant at 400 for 25 minutes.
  8. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with marinara sauce, then add on your first layer of eggplant. Add another layer of marinara on top of the eggplant slice, then add a layer of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Repeat until your last layer of eggplant. Top with marinara, mozzarella, and parmesan.
  9. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until the cheese begins to melt and become bubbly.
  10. Top with sliced fresh basil and/or parsley.

Notes

  • Serve this with a nice light caesar salad and some garlic bread.
  • This recipe reheats very well, feel free to store in the refrigerator and enjoy your leftovers.

Keywords: Eggplant, parmesan, mozzarella, Italian, Eggplant parm

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