Baked Eggplant Parmigiana
is a lightened up version of traditional eggplant parmigiana which has been a family favorite for decades.
As far back as I can remember when I was growing up we had eggplant parmigiana quite often. It was always served as a side dish with roasted chicken. Or on holidays when the dinner table became a mini buffet eggplant parm was a staple among the lasagna, roast chicken, ham – I can’t go on I’m stuffed already.
What I love most about this baked eggplant parmigiana recipe makeover is that the eggplant stays firm so that you can taste it in every bite.
My mother and mother-in-law’s “traditional” eggplant parm (I’m sure every family has their own ‘traditional’ version) is first frying the coated eggplant slices and then they are baked in a bed of tomato sauce and covered with mozzarella until it’s “done”. What “done” means is the long baking time can melt away the eggplant into what then becomes a tomato bath with stringy mozzarella.
Now I’m not saying it was not good, we all loved it, but in this 21st Century food has been elevated to the level of ‘keeping it true to it’s roots’ so that the nutrients are not cooked away which is not always possible when it’s been cooked until it’s “done”, i.e. over-cooked.
Making baked eggplant parmigiana is a very easy process. It takes about 20 minutes to prepare and you can do the clean up while it bakes. You can also make this a day or two in advance which is great if you do menu planning.
The fresh sliced eggplant looks so delicious it just has to be baked quickly to keep it’s flavor and texture. The flavored breadcrumb mixture adds another level of flavor along with a splash of tomato sauce and a slice of mozzarella.
I did not peel the eggplant but I would recommend you peel it. The skin is often tough to cut through and it doesn’t soften when cooked.
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- ½ cup panko crumbs
- ¼ cup grated pecorino cheese
- 2 egg whites
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 cups marinara sauce
- 12 slices of mozzarella (you may need more or less depending on the number of eggplant slices)
- 3-5 tbls. olive oil
- Dip each slice of eggplant, both sides, into egg white, then coat each side with bread crumb mixture and place on prepared baking sheet. Dip, coat, repeat until all the eggplant slices have been coated with breadcrumbs. Drizzle each slice with a little olive oil.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes then turn the slices over and bake another 10 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and top each eggplant slice with marinara sauce then add a slice of mozzarella and you can drizzle with a little more olive oil.
- Return the tray to oven and bake until the sauce is heated and the mozzarella is melted.
- Add a little sprinkle of grated cheese and chopped fresh basil and or parsley.
This delicious baked eggplant parmigiana is great for making hero sandwiches on those busy days when there is not enough time to cook.
Just warm them up a little, add a splash of marinara sauce and some additional mozzarella to the sandwich. Serve with a side salad and there you have a delicious, satisfying quick and easy meal.