Baked Eggplant Parmesan Won't Put You In a Coma

Rachel Tepper Paley
June 9, 2014

Photo credit: Tanya Zouev/StockFood

Eggplant Parmesan may not top your doctor’s list of good-for-you dishes (nor did eggplant make the list of most nutrient-packed veggies). But! There’s a way to yank this Italian favorite—usually layered with breaded-and-fried slices of eggplant—back from the guilty-pleasure zone.

It’s simple: Bake the eggplant instead of frying it. Yes, it’s still breaded. Yes, it’s still smothered in melty, get-in-my-mouth mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. But the final result is less greasy, and will leave you feeling lighter on your feet.

The recipe below calls for roasting slices of eggplant for up to 50 minutes, which transforms them into velvety, gooey-but-not-mushy rings. A dash of dried oregano, basil, and ground pepper add a punch of flavor, and a bright tomato sauce—homemade stuff or a top-quality jar from the pantry—ties the dish together with its sweet burst of acidity.

Baked-Eggplant Parmesan
From Everyday Food
Serves 8

Olive oil, for baking sheets
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 large eggplants (2 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
6 cups (48 ounces) store-bought chunky tomato sauce or homemade chunky tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 2 baking sheets with oil; set aside. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup Parmesan, oregano, and basil; season with salt and pepper.

Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; place on baking sheets. Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more. Remove from oven; raise oven heat to 400 degrees.

Spread 2 cups sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant in dish; cover with 2 cups sauce, then 1/2 cup mozzarella. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

For more cheesy recipes, visit Everyday Food.