Eggplant parmesan is the perfect Italian casserole to liven up any dinner table. It looks time-consuming and complicated, but in fact, it is extremely simple and cooks up in as little as thirty minutes, or an hour for maximum flavor.
The first thing to consider are the recipe basics. There are 5 ingredient requirements for this recipe: eggplant, tomato sauce, cheese, an emulsifier (egg) and breading. Anything else you add will give the recipe your own unique touch.
For example, if you don’t have eggplant, consider modifying this recipe into a chicken parmesan or experimenting with another vegetable parmesan instead. With those three ingredients, you can modify this recipe for your taste buds, time constraints and diet. For example, if you have cheese, but would prefer to use an Italian blend cheese, like romano, parmesan and mozzarella, it will cook up just as beautifully. Just like pizza, the amount you use is based on preference. Even though the recipe below calls for three cups, feel free to change it up. A great variation is to use half cheese and half pureed veggies.
The easiest part about this recipe is the layering. Bread the eggplant, cook it, layer in the pan and alternate sauce, eggplant, cheese, then layer again until all the eggplant is gone. The more cheese you use, the more forgiving it is in terms of staying together like a lasagna. This is also a great recipe if you have kids who like to help in the kitchen.
1. 2 large eggplants or 5 baby eggplants (baby eggplants take a little more time but are very tender)
2. 2 glass jars of your favorite tomato sauce
3. 2 large bags of mozzarella (adjust cheese to taste)
4. 3 eggs
5. 2 cups of your favorite breading (panko, italian bread crumbs, pureed nut meal, etc.)
*Use a glass baking pan (9×13) or 2 square pans and a cookie sheet
Some additional flavor options are to spice up the tomato sauce with dried basil, oregano, thyme, garlic and onion. Feel free to mix ricotta or cottage cheese into the sauce for a creamier pink sauce.
A great way to increase the protein and healthy fat in this recipe is to use half almond meal and half bread crumbs with the bonus of a sweet and light texture.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Slice eggplants into thin slices for even cooking.
3. Whip eggs in a bowl and put breading in a separate bowl or plate.
4. Dip each eggplant slice into the whipped egg, then dip each side in the breading, then put on a cookie sheet.
5. Cook the eggplant until golden brown, around 8-10 minutes on each side.
6. Prep the baking pan by smearing a healthy layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan.
7. Line up the eggplant on the baking pan so each slice touches the next one or slightly overlaps.
8. Sprinkle a layer of cheese on top of the eggplant.
9. Repeat sauce, eggplant, cheese until all of the eggplant is in the pan and layered and all the breading is covered with sauce.
10. Top with cheese.
11. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is browned, or, cover for up to an 1 hour to marry the flavors, or if you need an hour before you eat. Just be sure to brown the cheese for at least 10 minutes in the oven.
12. Rest for 10 minutes while you have the kids set the table.