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the best eggplant parm

Eggplant Parmesan

Homemade Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite vegetarian comfort food dinners. Just slice, coat, fry, and bake to perfection!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 4 servings
Calories 480

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant (Black Beauty variety, peeled - optional and sliced into ½" thick rounds)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (can substitute with regular or Italian flavored bread crumbs)
  • 1 cup parmesan (grated)
  • 1 tablespoon basil (dried)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup olive oil (more if needed - I use equal parts olive and avocado oil)
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce
  • 2 cups Italian cheese (grated mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, asiago)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a shallow dish, beat eggs.
  • In another shallow dish, combine panko bread crumbs, parmesan, basil, and garlic powder.
  • In a large skillet with enough oil to cover entire base of pan, heat over high heat.
  • Dip each slice of eggplant in the egg, then coat both sides in the bread crumb mixture.
    coating thick slices of eggplant in bread crumbs
  • Add prepared slices the hot oil in the pan. Add eggplant to pan until you have a single layer. Once the bottom browns, flip slices and cook the other side until they get a nice golden brown color (3-4 minutes per side). Remove from pan and allow to drain on paper towel lined plate.
    frying breaded eggplant
  • Add additional oil to pan before cooking next batch, but be sure to allow oil to get screaming hot before adding the eggplant. Continue cooking until all of the eggplant has been breaded and cooked.
  • Layer eggplant in casserole dish.
    layers of sliced fried eggplant
  • Cover with marinara sauce and shredded cheese. Cook, uncovered, in preheated oven until heated through and cheese has fully melted, about 15 minutes.
    fried eggplant parm covered in cheese and sauce
  • Serve hot on it's own or with pasta.

Notes

  • Eggplant preparation:
    • Peeling: Do you have to peel eggplant before you cook it? This is personal preference. You can leave the entire peel on, remove all of it, or remove some of the peel. I used to remove the entire peel and now I will leave long strips so that each round has a small amount of peel which is enough to add a bit of chewy texture but not so much that it makes each bite tough.
    • Slicing: I personally like to cut my eggplant slices about a half inch thick. Anything thinner falls apart and anything thicker does not cook through the center enough for my tastes. Just be sure to slice them uniform thickness so that they all cook at the same rate.
  • Frying tips: Be sure the oil is very hot before frying the eggplant, otherwise the eggplant will absorb the oil like a sponge. Add additional oil to the pan, as needed, but ensure it gets hot before you adding more slices to the pan.
  • Healthy eggplant parmesan: You can make a healthier version of this recipe by making it in the air fryer. To do this, lightly coat the prepared slices with olive oil spray and cook in the air fryer until golden brown. You can even skip the step where you coat in egg and bread crumbs and just air fry the eggplant with a light coat of olive oil. You can also reduce the amount of cheese when baking the eggplant casserole for a healthier version as well.
  • Serving suggestions: You can serve eggplant parmesan on it's own, but it tastes amazing with homemade pasta, a crusty loaf of bread with a roasted garlic butter spread, and a kale Caesar salad on the side.

Nutrition

Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 1787mg | Potassium: 974mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1480IU | Vitamin C: 14.4mg | Calcium: 651mg | Iron: 3.7mg