Ahhhh, Eggplant Parm how I love you so. Out of the oven or straight from the fridge, on a brioche roll or in a big dish with extra sauce… you are perfect. This is one of those “vegetarian” dishes that even the most hardcore of meat eaters can’t turn up their noses to. It’s just all around satisfying. Before we jump in, I need to take a moment to apologize for not making my own sauce here. My intention in this was not to overwhelm you by including a recipe for homemade sauce within a recipe for homemade eggplant parm. Therefore, I opted for a store bought sauce – which, even though it’s an 8 dollar jar that I swear by, I feel a little guilty about. For the record – I make a good sauce.
So, like I said, for the sake of simplicity, I skipped the whole make your own sauce part. I also skipped the frying part. Which, in addition to making this dish a little healthier, also made clean up a breeze. I wanted to make this recipe as straight forward as possible. Even so, it’s a multiple step recipe that requires a little bit of extra time. But with that little extra time you’ll get a lot of food. This recipe made enough for me to give my boyfriend a whole dish and last me an entire week, too.
Some tips before you start: It’s important to cut your eggplant slices a little on the thicker side. I cut mine about 1/2 inch thick (you could even go a tiny bit thicker if you wish). This ensures that meaty texture after all of that baking. I recommend using a mandolin slicer if you have one. This way you get uniform slices. Also important: after slicing your eggplant up, sprinkle the rounds with salt and let the sit for a little while. This draws out the moisture in the eggplant. Again, helping keep that meaty texture – there’s nothing worse than mushy eggplant parm. Finally, if you’re going for a store bought sauce, I recommend Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce. It’s worth the price and if you can find it on sale, buy a few jars to keep in the back of your cupboard.
Makes 6-8 servings
2 Eggplants, peeled
1.5 cups seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
1.5 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, 2 egg whites
3 tbsp parsley
3 tbsp basil
1 jar marinara sauce
1/2 ball fresh mozzarella
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
2. Slice the eggplant in 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick rounds. Lay out eggplants rounds in one layer over paper towels and lightly salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes and up to 2 hours.
3. In a large bowl, mix together breadcrumbs. In a separate large bowl, lightly whisk eggs and egg whites together.
4. Dredge the eggplant first in eggs, then coat with breadcrumb mixture. Place on a lightly sprayed baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the eggplant until baking sheet is full.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes flipping halfway through. Let cool and continue with remaining eggplant.
6. In a large baking dish (I used square, but with this much eggplant you can use a 9×13 size) spread a thin layer of marinara sauce. In layers add the eggplant, torn pieces of mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, parsley, and basil. Continue this until baking dish is full.
7. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees (F) for 35 minutes.