Italian Eggplant Parmesan

Italian Eggplant Parmesan

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Creating the ultimate eggplant Parmesan dish is simpler than you might think. This recipe is crafted from scratch, ensuring a healthier twist on the classic Italian favorite. By skipping the traditional breading, not only is this version gluten-free, but it also allows the natural flavors of the eggplant to truly shine. While it may appear incredibly cheesy (spoiler alert: it is!), the majority of the cheese is carefully placed on top, allowing for that irresistible golden crust to form.

Selecting the Freshest Eggplants

Before embarking on your culinary journey, consider these helpful tips for choosing the perfect eggplants:

Opt for eggplants that boast a smooth, glossy exterior, devoid of any dents or soft spots. They should feel weighty for their size, indicating freshness.

When possible, opt for smaller eggplants as they tend to contain fewer seeds, ensuring a smoother texture in the final dish.

Now, let’s dive into the magic of transforming these humble eggplants into a culinary masterpiece.

Italian Eggplant Parmesan

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Course: BakedCuisine: Italian


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Light & Flavorful Eggplant Parmesan Recipe


  • 3 pounds eggplants (about 3 small or 2 medium)
    ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
    2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
    ¼ cup tomato paste
    28 ounces crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted variety*
    ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil, plus additional basil for garnish
    1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
    Pinch of red pepper flakes
    6 ounces freshly grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1 ½ cups, packed)
    2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)


  • Preparing the Eggplant: Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice off both rounded ends of each eggplant and then vertically slice them into even slabs, about ¼ to ½ inch thick. Discard the sides covered in eggplant skin. Brush both sides of the eggplant slabs lightly with olive oil and arrange them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until golden and tender, approximately 22 to 27 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.
  • Creating the Tomato Sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt, cooking until translucent, about 4 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste, cooking for an additional minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the sauce to simmer until thickened, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped basil, vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes.
  • Assembling the Dish: Spread about ¾ cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9” square baker. Layer one-third of the roasted eggplant slices over the sauce, followed by another ¾ cup of sauce and ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella cheese, finishing with a layer of Parmesan cheese on top.
  • Baking to Perfection: Bake the assembled dish on the lower rack of the preheated oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, uncovered, until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the dish to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with additional basil if desired.
  • Savoring the Flavor: Slice with a sharp knife and serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and reheated before serving.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 244kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 16.2g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Fat: 17g
  • Sugar: 9.2g

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