Want a tasty recipe for eggplant parmesan with different ingredients and varieties? This article provides traditional to modern eggplant recipes. Keep reading to find your best pick.
What is an Eggplant Parmesan?
Before delving into the recipe for eggplant parmesan, we need to know where it originated and the main ingredients of this dish. The Italian word Eggplant Parmigiana has multiple meanings, from the overlapped arrangement of fried eggplant in the dish to one of the Persian terms for an eggplant.
Eggplant parmesan is a classic Italian dish made of eggplant slices with loads of parmesan cheese coating each layer. Other additions to the recipe for eggplant parmesan like fresh basil and tomato sauce add to its meaty thickness and taste.
What is the main difference between an Italian and American recipe for eggplant parmesan? The Italian one has eggplant rounds that are not breaded but deep-fried before the final layering with tomatoes and mozzarella. Still, the American one is finely breaded and fried before the layering of the casserole dish, loaded with melted cheese.
The recipe for eggplant parmesan is also a perfect alternative to non-vegetarian dishes like chicken and veal. The current popularity of this dish can only be understood by trying out the recipes.
Let’s get into it!
1. Italian Recipe for Eggplant Parmesan (Baked)
1) Eggplants (3 pounds or 1 kg – either 2 medium ones or 3 smaller ones)
2) Extra virgin Olive oil (1/4 cup and 2 tbsp)
3) Fine sea salt
4) Freshly ground black pepper
5) Yellow onion (1 – medium size, chopped)
6) Garlic cloves (2- pressed/minced)
7) Tomato paste (1/4 cup)
8) Crushed tomatoes (28 ounces or 790 gm)
9) Fresh basil (more than 1/4 cup)
10) Balsamic vinegar (1 tsp)
11) Red pepper flakes
12) Mozzarella cheese (1 and a half cups or 6 ounces – freshly grated)
13) Parmesan cheese (1 cup or 2 ounces – freshly grated)
The preparation and cooking time of this recipe for eggplant parmesan would take 1 hour and nine servings.
1) For baking the eggplant, Preheat the oven to 425° F with lower and upper racks, lined with two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
2) For preparing the eggplant slices, slice the round ends, arrange on its broadest flat side, and then cut through vertically for creating equal slabs of 1/2 to 1/4 inches. Discard the eggplant skin on both sides.
3) Brush olive oil on both sides of the eggplant slices, and arrange them on the rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. You can add a dash of salt and pepper on the top.
4) For roasting, the eggplant slices will take about 27 minutes. Make sure to rotate the pans halfway through baking (exchange the racks). This would ensure it’s golden and tender. Keep it aside
5) For the tomato sauce, take a medium saucepan. On medium heat, add olive oil (2 tbsp) till sparkling. Add onion and salt, cook and stir occasionally till the onion becomes translucent and soft (around 7 minutes).
Then, add the tomato paste and garlic, stir till 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes, stir and let it simmer.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it stew until the sauce thickens; it takes about 15 minutes.
Once done, remove the pot and add chopped basil, vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes to stir. This should be enough, but taste and see if more salt is necessary.
6) To assemble, take a square 9-inch baking dish and spread the sauce (3/4th cup) on the bottom.
Arrange the eggplant slices (1/3rd) on it to overlap a little. Add another cup of sauce (3/4th) and cheese (1/4 cup) to the eggplant.
Add the same amount of sauce and mozzarella cheese again. 7) The remaining eggplant slices can be arranged on top. Keep adding the slices on top, with sauce and cheese, and finally sprinkle the parmesan.
8) To bake, keep the baking dish on the lower rack at 425 ° F till a golden layer arises and the sauce bubbles (it should take around 20 to 25 minutes).
9) Allow it to cool down for 15 minutes. Once done, sprinkle the chopped basil on top.
The delicious recipe for eggplant parmesan is hot and ready to serve!
The leftovers can be refrigerated for 4 days. All you need to do is reheat before serving.
Want the right eggplant to use in the recipe for eggplant parmesan? Follow these tips below:
1) Eggplants should be smooth and shiny, with no mushy parts. They should be heavy enough, according to their size.
2) Choose smaller eggplant, as large ones have more seeds that interfere with the texture of the cooked one.
3) Do not let the eggplant sit out for long durations. Overripe ones will end up tasting bitter.
This recipe for eggplant parmesan becomes more manageable with these tips as well:
1) 3 cups of the store marinara sauce can be used as a shortcut.
2) The eggplant lasagna can be assembled a few days prior or the night before and baked according to one’s mood. It might take extra minutes to bake, but the preparation time is cut down.
3) The tomatoes can also be blended till smooth, either diced or whole.
4) For vegetarians, parmesan alternatives can be BelGioioso and Whole Foods 365.
What makes this recipe for eggplant parmesan Italian? The lack of bread in the parmesan. The baked eggplants also provide a healthier and gluten-free eggplant parmesan recipe.
2. Classic Recipe for Eggplant Parmesan (Baked or Fried)
The technique of frying the breaded eggplant slices makes this recipe for eggplant parmesan both American and Italian. We have provided a recipe below for that as well.
1) Eggplants (2 large ones)
2) All-purpose flour (1/2 cup)
3) Eggs (3)
4) Olive oil (1/4 cup for the fried method)
5) Bread Slices (6 or about 1 and a half cups for the breaded eggplant)
6) Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup and 1/3 cup for the topping on the breaded eggplant slices )
7) Italian herb (2 tsp – blended for Italian seasoning)
8) Garlic powder (1 tsp)
9) Salt and black pepper (1/2 tsp each)
10) Marinara sauce (1 and a half cups)
11) Mozzarella cheese (1 lb or 450 gms)
12) Chopped fresh basil (1/2 tbsp)
13) Chopped Fresh oregano (1 tsp)
This recipe’s preparation and cooking time for eggplant parmesan would be 70 minutes, and the dish would have 6 servings.
1) For the eggplant slices, remove its stem and slice it into equal parts varying from 1/2 – 1/4 inch
2) Sprinkle salt on both sides of the eggplant slices, then arrange it on the pan. Let the excess moisture sweat out for 10 minutes. Make sure it’s completely dry.
3) To make bread crumbs, toast bread slices, and chop them in the food processor. Take a bowl and mix breadcrumbs with garlic powder, Italian herbs, salt and pepper, and parmesan cheese (an alternative: store-bought breadcrumbs can also be used).
4) To make the breaded eggplant slices, take three bowls – add whisked eggs, breadcrumb mixture, and flour. Coat the eggplant with flour on both sides, dip them into the eggs and the breadcrumb mixture (shake the excess crumbs off).
Repeat for all slices. (For a baked eggplant parmesan recipe, brush the sheet pan with Oil – 2 tbsp. And arrange the breaded eggplant in the pan once coated).
5) Method of preparation:
For the pan-frying recipe for eggplant parmesan, take a skillet pan and add 2 tbsp Oil to cook the breaded eggplant for around 2-3 minutes until it’s golden brown. With a paper towel, soak up the extra oil. Repeat till all breaded slices are fried.
To make the baked eggplant parmesan recipe, preheat oven to 350°F, then arrange the breaded slices on the sheet pan, brushed with 2 tbsp olive oil on both sides. Bake eggplant till it’s golden (around 25 minutes).
6) To assemble the eggplant parmesan, take a large casserole dish – First, add marinara on the bottom, then the eggplant slices, mozzarella, again marinara, and finally shredded parmesan cheese. Repeat till the top layer.
7) For the baked eggplant parmesan, bake uncovered at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, till the cheese is melted and browned.
Finally, your recipe for eggplant parmesan is done. Add delicious toppings like chopped fresh basil and oregano. Take it out and serve warm.
Note: Bread can vary according to one’s concern of health and taste – you can use grain bread, white bread, gluten-free, or even panko breadcrumbs.
3. Eggplant Parmesan Recipe (for small gatherings)
For a small family or get-together, a substantial baked eggplant parmesan recipe might be both time-consuming and lead to wastage. No issues, we provide another recipe for eggplant parmesan that serves around 4 people only.
1) Eggplant (1 large size sliced into thick slices of 1/2 inches)
2) Kosher salt (2 tbsp) – do not substitute it with table or sea salt.
3) Italian-seasoned bread crumbs (1 and a half cups)
4) Eggs (2)
5) Milk (1/2 cup)
6) Vegetable oil (4 tbsp – for pan-frying the eggplant parm)
7) Marinara sauce (either homemade sauce or store brought)
8) Whole milk shredded mozzarella (2 cups)
9) Shredded parmesan cheese (1 cup)
10) Fresh basil leaves (Handful)
1) On the top of the eggplant slices, add salt and place them on a baking sheet after adjusting them on a wire rack.
Make sure the eggplant slices are dry, and brush off the excess salt with paper towels.
2) Take 2 shallow bowls, whisk eggs and milk in one and add bread crumbs to the other. Dip both sides of the eggplant into the milk and egg mixture, then cover with the crumbs. Repeat for all the slices, then place on a baking sheet.
3) Preheat oven at 375° for baking. Meanwhile, heat a skillet on medium-high and add vegetable oil (1 tbsp) to it. Once it’s hot, add 2 eggplant slices and cook till it’s golden brown, then keep it on a plate lined with paper towels.
Repeat the process till all slices are pan-fried.
4) Take a large casserole dish, add the marinara sauce (1 cup) on the bottom, then the eggplant slices, top it again with marinara sauce (1/4 cup), then add the sliced mozzarella and parmesan cheese to make the eggplant parm.
The remaining mozzarella and a cup of parmesan can be added to all the layers of the eggplant parmesan.
5) Finally, to make eggplant parmesan, place it in the oven and bake for around 25 minutes, or till the cheese is brown enough.
Serve the baked eggplant parmesan hot! You can add fresh herbs if desired.
Tip: the entire recipe for eggplant parmesan dish can be assembled before and placed in the fridge, and when one wants to make it, Set out till it reaches room temperature for baking.
4. Personalized Baked Eggplant Parmesan Recipe
If you like a generational recipe with a personalized touch, we have got the best eggplant parmesan recipe for you.
1) Eggplant (2 large ones, cut into thick rounds – 1/4 inch)
2) Eggs (2 beaten ones)
3) Almond milk (1/4 cup)
4) Panko breadcrumbs (1 and a half cups)
5) 1 and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (divided separately)
6) Oregano (2 tsp)
7) Fresh thyme (2 tbsp)
8) Red pepper flakes (1/2 tsp)
9) Sea salt (1/2 tsp and a little more as add on)
10) Black pepper
11) Extra virgin olive oil (for sprinkling)
12) Marinara sauce (28 ounces)
13) Fresh mozzarella (2 balls thinly sliced)
14) Fresh basil leaves (1/2 cup)
The total preparation and cooking time of this recipe for eggplant parmesan would be 60 minutes, and the servings vary from 6-8.
1) For the baked eggplant parmesan, preheat the oven to 400° F. Take two baking sheets and line them with parchment paper.
2) Take a shallow bowl of medium size, add the whisked eggs and almond milk to it.
3) Take another shallow bowl of medium size, add the panko, parmesan cheese (1 cup), oregano, red pepper flakes, thyme, salt, and pepper.
4) Dip eggplant slices into the egg and panko mixture. Place this on the baking sheets, drizzle the olive oil and bake till golden brown (approximately 20 minutes)
5) Take an 8 into 12 or 9 into a 13-inch baking dish, spread a layer of marinara (1/2 cup), then half the eggplant, add marinara (1 cup), and half of the fresh mozzarella.
6) Repeat the process with the remaining eggplant, marinara, and mozzarella till the top layer is finished.
7) Finally, add the parmesan cheese (1/4 cup), olive oil, and sea salt to prepare the eggplant parmesan.
8) To make eggplant parmesan, bake till the cheese is melted (approximately 20 minutes). Turn to broil for 2 to 4 minutes for browned and bubbling layer of cheese.
8) Once made, top it with fresh herbs of your choice.
The delicious baked recipe for eggplant parmesan is ready to serve!
5. Other Eggplant Parmesan Recipes (equally creative and tasty)
5.1 Melanzane Alla Parmigiana
For those who prefer more deep-fried eggplants in their recipe for eggplant parmesan, the melanzane alla parmigiana might be one’s best choice.
This dish is considered to be of Sicilian origin, the main ingredient being the fried eggplants that are thinly sliced layered with sauce and cheese of one’s choice. Click here for the recipe.
5.2 Eggplant Parmesan Caponata
Want to mix Italian food? A recipe for eggplant parmesan combining the tastes of eggplant with an Italian eggplant appetizer – caponata, and some tasty pasta as a side is available here.
5.3 Air Fryer Eggplant slices
With different cooking equipment, a new taste is added to the traditional recipe for eggplant parmesan – This recipe for Eggplant rounds, making them crispy and crunchy, once cooked in an air fryer, is a must-try.
5.4 Healthy Eggplant Parmesan
A recipe for eggplant parmesan using whole-wheat breadcrumbs and egg whites is a good choice for a healthier alternative to fried eggplants. Click here to try it out.
5.5 Eggplant Parmesan Rolls
Knowing the recipe for eggplant parmesan is originally round and cooked like a lasagna, many innovations have been made to this dish – stuffed eggplant parmesan rolls with loads of cheese and spaghetti are a decent choice to try out new styles. Click here.
Whether the recipe for eggplant parmesan is being tried out as an entrée or main dish, side dishes always alleviate the overall taste. Here are some suggestions:
1) A healthy vegetarian salad for the meaty eggplant parmesan is the right pick for a light side. Click here for the recipe.
2) Want a side dish that works both for casual dinners and holidays? This almond green beans or green beans amandine is the best fit with its toasted almonds, lemony tinge, and tender shallots.
3) Some roasted asparagus with lemon, cheese, or even sliced almonds are a decent choice of side dish for both brunch and dinner. Click here to try it out.
4) The perfect side dish for cooler climates would be Roasted brussels sprouts that are crispy on the outside and tender inside; they also give out an incredible caramelized flavor making it a sweet alternative as well. It is a must-try; click here.
5) Finally, a healthy side dish that goes with any main course is roasted Brussel sprouts with its crispy and tender texture; it provides a good alternative for steamed broccoli. Try it out here.
Of course, if someone is just a fan of the eggplant and is looking for dishes that match their tastes, the right pick is available for you here. This site contains 75 famous eggplant recipes like:
- Eggplant curry
- Egyptian eggplant
- Middle eastern fried eggplant
- Eggplant rolls of Sicily
- Spicy eggplant dish with cauliflower (Moroccon style)
- An eggplant salad
- Braised eggplant with tomato and beans
- For the non-vegetarians, chicken and eggplant skewers
- Eggplant pizzas with garlic
- Eggplant tarts
- Eggplant with fennel and burrata rye bruschetta
- Eggplant dip and salad and so forth.
If you liked this article, try out more recipes on the basics of cheesy goodness click here.
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