The funny thing about me posting this recipe is this: I don’t love eggplant, and I don’t love chicken parmesan. But the two slapped together? Sign me the hell up. This easy baked eggplant parmesan is hands down one of my most favorite dishes to put on the dinner table.
About this Easy Baked Eggplant Parmesan.
When I first started making this dish at home, I’d go the frying pan route and fry my bread-y eggplant rounds to an oily crisp before layering them in a baking dish and drowning them with sauce and cheese. But in an effort to lighten things up and create comforting favorites that don’t weigh me down and throw me into a state of bloated self-loathing, I started to bake my eggplant.
Spoiler alert: it comes out beautifully.
I don’t know why eggplant parmesan is as magical as it is—it just is. You get these golden crisp yet tender morsels slathered with tomato sauce and stretchy mozzarella and it’s just all too much for my Italian cuisine-loving self to handle.
How do you get rid of the bitterness of eggplant?
Some people gripe about eggplant being bitter. I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced this with my eggplant parmesan, but if it’s a real concern for you, there’s an easy way to get rid of it: sweat it out. After cutting your eggplant rounds, spread them out onto some paper towels. Sprinkle them with a generous amount of salt and let them sit for about 30 minutes. This method pulls out any bitterness—you’ll even see little sweat beads forming on the flesh of the eggplant. When done, just be sure to rinse the salt off of each round and gently pat them dry.
I don’t do this step. As I said, I’ve never had issues with bitterness. But I wanted to provide a solution in case any bitterness you’ve experienced with eggplant in the past might deter you from giving this crave-worthy recipe a go.
I can’t let you miss out on this.
If you make this dish, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme! I love seeing your creations, and you could be featured in my monthly newsletter <3
Easy Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- 1 medium-large eggplant sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
- 1.5 cups Panko bread crumbs
- 1.5 TBSP Italian herb seasoning
- 1.5 TBSP Freshly and finely grated parmesan cheese You can also use pecorino romano.
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 eggs beaten + a splash of water
- 1 25 oz jar of tomato sauce Feel free to use your favorite homemade sauce instead.
- 2 cups grated mozzarella provolone blend Or just mozzarella works.
- Fresh basil leaves for garnish, Leave them whole or julienne them.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs until cohesive. Add a splash of water and beat again to mix. Set aside. In another shallow bowl, mix the Panko bread crumbs, Italian herbs, freshly grated parmesan, and kosher salt. Create somewhat of an assembly line with your sliced eggplant, egg wash, crumb mixture, and parchment-covered baking sheets.
- One at a time, dip your eggplant rounds into the egg wash, dredge them into the crumb mixture, then place them onto a baking sheet. Repeat this step for each eggplant round. When done, bake the eggplant rounds for 20-25 minutes or until golden crisp, flipping them over halfway through. When done, remove them from the oven and set them aside.
- Evenly coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet or baking dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce. Then, lay down your first layer of eggplant rounds. Add a heaping TBSP of tomato sauce over each round, and then sprinkle some shredded cheese over top. Then place down your second layer of eggplant rounds. I like to keep the eggplant rounds evenly stacked so that's it's easier to scoop up for a serving when it's done. Again, add a heaping TBSP of tomato sauce over each round, and top them with cheese. Repeat these steps until you're out of rounds. Smother the topmost rounds with tomato sauce and cheese.
- Cover with tin foil and set in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another five minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble and turns lightly golden. When done, remove from the oven and set aside to cool for about five minutes.
- Garnish with fresh basil and serve with your favorite pasta, fluffy rice, on a bun, or on it's own.