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Eggplant Parmesan

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This is my favorite way to make eggplant parmesan. The extra prep step may not seem worth it to you, but trust me – it absolutely is and makes a huge difference. You can read the comments below and see that those who took the extra step did not regret it!

Our all-time FAVORITE way to make eggplant parm! You will want to make it this way forever! #eggplantparm #eggplantparmesan #eggplantrecipe #vegetarian #recipe #italian

Eggplant parmesan will always be one of my top favorite comfort foods. There is something about the dish that feels like it’s giving you a giant hug.

Growing up, I was not a huge fan of eggplant. I didn’t like the texture. It was soggy and kind of slimey. The only time I would ever eat it would be when my mom deep-fried it or she made this one classic Taiwanese eggplant dish with this amazing garlic sauce.

Any other dish that had eggplant in it, I’d refuse to eat.

That is until I was introduced to the cheesy gloriousness of something called eggplant parmesan!

What a great way to have a hearty meal without meat. It’d be a great meatless Monday meal.

Eggplant is hearty and meaty enough to take place as real protein so I can see why this dish is also a favorite amongst vegetarians and why someone came up with it.

Basically the vegetarian version of chicken parmesan.

Our all-time FAVORITE way to make eggplant parm! You will want to make it this way forever!

The method for the best eggplant parmesan recipe!

Heads up: once you make it this way, this is the ONLY way you’ll want to make your eggplant parmesan in the future. The technique I talk about is 100% worth it.

So many readers have made it before and have told me that they won’t ever skip the prep step again!

Okay, so the best method to make eggplant parmesan is to pull the moisture out of the eggplant prior to frying it.

How do we pull moisture out of the eggplant?

We sprinkle salt on the eggplant slices! The salt pulls out the moisture from the eggplant and therefore, when you cover it with breadcrumbs and fry it, you will have a much crispier and less soggy eggplant parmesan dish.

Exhibit A:

All that moisture beading up on top of the eggplant? That’s the salt doing its job! It’s pulling out most of the moisture

All you have to do is just pat it dry and dust off the excess salt and then you’ll be ready to start making your eggplant parmesan!

Can you make eggplant parmesan ahead of time?

Yes! However, the breading might end up a little soggy.

I definitely encourage you to pull the moisture out of the eggplant as a prep step and if you are going to bread the eggplant, you definitely should fry it up immediately after otherwise the breadcrumbs start to get soggy.

Even though we’ve pulled out the moisture, there is still going to be some moisture so it’s best you fry up the coated eggplant ASAP.

After you fry up the eggplant, I would lay it on wire cooling rack so air can get through on both sides. Otherwise, you’d be suffocating the breading with the heat and condensation so then it’d turn the breading soggy.

After it cools, you can place it in a plastic bag and put it in the fridge until you’re ready to use.

I wouldn’t assemble the casserole dish ahead of time because the marinara sauce will turn the breading soggy and mealy — BUT if you truly do want to prep the eggplant parmesan ahead of time and don’t mind that it’s a little soggy, you can assemble the entire casserole dish at this point then cover it and place it in the fridge.

Once you’re ready to bake it, I would let the casserole dish sit at room temperature while the oven is pre-heating. Sometimes if you stick a ceramic dish or glass dish from fridge to oven, it could crack.

Our all-time FAVORITE way to make eggplant parm! You will want to make it this way forever! #eggplantparm #eggplantparmesan #eggplantrecipe #vegetarian #recipe #italian

Can I freeze eggplant parmesan?

Yes, but if that is what you are doing, I would suggest prepping it all in a disposable aluminum tray so you can pop it in straight into the oven without worries of your casserole dish cracking/breaking.

If you freeze the eggplant parmesan in a glass or ceramic casserole dish, then you’d have to let it sit out on at room temperature before putting it in the oven and then by then, your ingredients will all be melting and soggy.

Our all-time FAVORITE way to make eggplant parm! You will want to make it this way forever! #eggplantparm #eggplantparmesan #eggplantrecipe #vegetarian #recipe #italian

If you love this eggplant parmesan recipe, then you’ll love these:

Watch me make this eggplant parmesan recipe:

Our all-time FAVORITE way to make eggplant parm! You will want to make it this way forever! #eggplantparm #eggplantparmesan #eggplantrecipe #vegetarian #recipe #italian

Eggplant Parmesan
Prep Time
1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 35 mins
 
This is my favorite way to make eggplant parmesan. The extra prep step may not seem worth it to you, but trust me - it absolutely is and makes a huge difference. Those who took the extra step did not regret it and I'm sure you won't either!
Course: Dinner, Main Course, Main Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Calories: 723 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2" thick slices
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil, for lightly pan-frying
  • 3 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 cups whole milk mozzarella shredded
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves chopped, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Salt both sides of your eggplant slices and place them in a large colander in the sink. Let the liquid drain for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. When your eggplant slices have finished draining liquid, brush off the excess salt, as you don't want it to be too salty!
  3. In 2 shallow plates, add breadcrumbs to one and whisk eggs and milk in the other. Dip both sides of eggplant slice into milk/egg mixture then cover with breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess. Place on plate or large baking sheet and repeat until all eggplant slices have been coated.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil into the skillet. Once the skillet is hot, add two eggplant slices at a time to the skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown, remove and set on a large plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil for every 2 eggplant slices.
  6. In a large casserole dish, add 1 cup of marinara sauce to the bottom of the casserole dish. Add a layer of eggplant slices (I was only able to fit about 3 a layer) then using a 1/4 cup, dollop marinara sauce on top of the eggplant slices. The idea isn't to smother the layers with sauce. On top of the eggplant slices, sprinkle a generous amount of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Repeat the layers until you run out of eggplants slices. Top the casserole with more cheese before you place in the oven :)
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and brown on top. I used the broiler for 5 minutes to get the cheese nice and brown - you don't have to, but if you do, watch it carefully!
  8. Serve hot and top with chopped basil, if using.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts
Eggplant Parmesan
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 723 Calories from Fat 396
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 44g 68%
Total Carbohydrates 47g 16%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 9g
Protein 39g 78%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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Posted on May 15, 2018

dinner for two by julie wampler

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  1. MEL
    09/04/2017 at 6:01 pm

    This is my favorite eggplant recipe! I make it once a week and never had a complaint. It is SOOO good! Thank you.

  2. Elaine
    09/25/2017 at 2:05 pm

    This Eggplant Parmesan is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge! I have just made one, too. Let me know what you think of it when you have a minute. Thanks! P.S. I agree that the extra step is important!!!

  3. NancyB
    10/01/2017 at 6:56 pm

    This was very good. The whole family enjoyed it!! Will make again. I put Italian sausage in my homemade sauce for my meat eating boys. Your recipe was excellent. Thank you!

  4. Margaret Obey
    10/03/2017 at 5:59 am

    I’m going shopping to get the ingredients. This sounds fab

  5. Leigh Ann
    10/07/2017 at 9:14 am

    Re: eggplant Parmesan
    Am I able to make this dish ahead of time? At what step do I stop and then restart with? Thank you!

    • Julie
      10/08/2017 at 8:24 am

      I think you could salt and let out the water from the eggplant but everything else you would need to do same time.

  6. Charlee Briggs
    10/12/2017 at 4:26 pm

    This looks delicious! I have lots of eggplants from the garden. I want to make several pans and freeze them. Would it be ok once frozen?

    • Julie
      10/13/2017 at 7:37 am

      I don’t recommend freezing and thawing eggplant – I feel like it can get super liquidy even if you pulled the liquid from it from the salt. You can certainly give it a shot though!

  7. Michael A
    10/15/2017 at 11:54 pm

    Great recipe. I doubled the portions, used my own, homemade, garden fresh marinarand. I fed four friends of mine who were wowed by the result. Absolutely delicious !

  8. Maggie M
    10/17/2017 at 12:09 pm

    Prepping this to make for dinner tonight! Thanks!

  9. marika
    10/20/2017 at 4:04 pm

    can this eggplant parmesan be freezed and saved for later.

    • Julie
      10/21/2017 at 7:57 am

      Hi, I just answered a couple of the same questions below. I don’t recommend freezing and thawing eggplant – I feel like it can get super liquidy even if you pulled the liquid from it from the salt. You can certainly give it a shot though!

  10. Cynnthea
    01/08/2018 at 1:00 am

    I love that your recipes can be doubled or tripled for entertaining.

    • Julie
      01/08/2018 at 6:20 am

      Thank you :) I make it a point to make recipes be flexible like that.

  11. Susan tinsley
    01/08/2018 at 9:59 am

    I make a couple eggplants a month. I bake mime instead of frying I keep the marinara sauce and cheeses contained to the slice of eggplant once dn I freeze individually on cookie sheets then place in ziplock end freezer bags and pull out a couple slices for a meal. Yummy!

  12. laura
    01/09/2018 at 2:35 pm

    Don’t freak…But I’ve never had eggplant! However, my 10 year old daughter is a vegetarian. We have altered dishes for her this whole past year. Making her plate before adding meat. Using vegetable broth etc.. but I have wanted to start making some complete vegetarian dishes. Now my husband has decided to try going meat free in support of our daughter. So now I have two non meat eaters in our family of 5. So I’ve been searching for recipes. This looks d’lish and I’ll be making this soon.

  13. Audrey Nava
    01/09/2018 at 3:55 pm

    Thank You

  14. Dea
    01/26/2018 at 12:36 pm

    This was delicious!!

  15. Lorita
    01/28/2018 at 6:45 pm

    Hi!
    Do you think the eggplant will be okay if I salt them for an hour or so tonight, wipe the salt off, put them in a ziplock bag, throw them in the fridge and then use them for dinner tomorrow night? :)

    • Julie
      01/29/2018 at 11:10 am

      I haven’t tried that before so I don’t have advice on that. I can’t say how the eggplant will be the following day! Please do share if you go ahead and do it!

  16. Maria Bright
    02/14/2018 at 10:35 am

    I made this yesterday for the second time. It is delicious. My family loves it. The first time I served with pasta. Yesterday they had it as a sandwich with garlic toast. Amazing! Next time, I will omit the breadcrumbs and use Italian seasoning directly on the eggplant for a healthier dish. I can’t wait to make it for my oldest son and his family when I have them over for dinner.

  17. Lynne Forsyth
    02/24/2018 at 11:39 am

    does this reheat well, if I can it today and then cook it the next day

    • Julie
      02/24/2018 at 1:13 pm

      I don’t think canning this would be a good idea.

  18. Peg Moore
    02/24/2018 at 9:20 pm

    Love it!

  19. Mignon Dunsinger
    04/05/2018 at 9:36 pm

    Love this – made it a couple times! My oven broke so tonight I’m cooking it in a skillet! I bet it’ll be so good anyway!!

  20. vivian
    05/21/2018 at 9:30 am

    Thanks for this excellent recipe which was the vegetarian main for Sunday dinner. I used 2 eggplants, as they were small. Instead of draining in a colander, I set my wire cooling rack over the sink and was able to drain the eggplant in a single layer. Also, I made sure, as always, to choose a male eggplant, as there are fewer seeds. (male eggplants have a shallower and rounder indent on the blossom end). Thanks again for a great recipe!

    • Julie
      05/22/2018 at 7:32 am

      Wonderful! Thank you for the feedback!

  21. Winona Baloga
    06/07/2018 at 10:55 am

    Should I peel the eggplant?

    • Julie
      06/09/2018 at 9:05 am

      You don’t have to, but you can if you find the rind bitter.

  22. Star
    06/07/2018 at 8:07 pm

    This will make this recipe for my dinner tomorrow, can’t wait! Thank you

  23. Mikey
    07/27/2018 at 7:05 pm

    Bake 40 minutes. Use ricotta cheese also. My eggplant was not done using lady’s system. I am trying to salvage it by baking another 20 minutes.

  24. Robin Lukacs
    08/11/2018 at 12:07 pm

    Love your recipe for eggplant parm! Thanks!

  25. Debs
    08/14/2018 at 8:04 am

    You are a dream for including me!!!! Thank you!!!!
    This eggplant parm looks gorgeous!!!! Making tomorrow night with my glut of eggplants from the neighbour!

  26. Leslie
    08/24/2018 at 9:40 pm

    I am a self-avowed hater of eggplant, but I got one in my CSA share this week so I HAD to use it…and this recipe was AMAZING. Absolutely delicious — my husband scarfed it down in about .5 seconds, and I finished shortly thereafter. (Also, i took note of the extra salt-sweat step & yeah it made a difference). Thank you!!!

    • Julie
      08/25/2018 at 7:23 am

      Ahh yay!! I’m SOOO happy to hear this!! Thank you!!!

  27. Liz
    09/06/2018 at 6:52 pm

    I’m going to try this recipe but I would really like your taiwanese eggplant with garlic sauce recipe! Please!

    • Julie
      09/09/2018 at 7:44 am

      I’ll talk to my mom to see if she remembers!

  28. ANNE
    09/14/2018 at 10:48 am

    This IS the best eggplant parmesan recipe! I’ve made it several times and love it! True, don’t skip the salting step. Delish!!

    • Julie
      09/18/2018 at 7:33 am

      Yay! So happy to hear!

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