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A healthier version of the Italian classic, this Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is packed full of filling veggie goodness…and lots of glorious cheese!
Eggplant is…a truly ugly vegetable to cook with.
I mean, I cut three separate pieces of this Baked Eggplant Parmesan to take photos of, and this is the best I could capture, pretty much straight from the oven.
But you know what? Ugly or not…eggplant is absolutely flippin’ delicious. Especially after 3 days of leftover turkey, which is what this week’s #SundaySupper is all about: veggies!
Sometimes, you just need to be vegetarian for a day or two. If you’re feeling the itch (like I was), this recipe does not disappoint!
I had a hard time getting on board with this funny looking, bulbous purple…thing.
My good friend Lara, and every doctor and nutritionist like her, has nothing but good things to say about eating colorful veggies. The more color the better! But especially fruits veggies of the purple- (and blue) hued persuasion. They’re apparently full of all kinds of amazing antioxidants and vitamins, but honestly, aside from grapes, how much purple makes its way into your diet on a regular basis?
And no…wine doesn’t count as a purple fruit.
A BAKED Eggplant Parmesan recipe, though?
I really can’t remember what made me decide to make eggplant parmesan for the first time. I want to say I was really craving lasagna, but this was back when I was a gym regular, so I was trying to avoid unnecessary carbs and starch from the pasta.
Riiiight. Because bread crumbs have no carbs. Yep. Makes total sense.
Either way, there was cheese involved, so I had faith that it would be tasty, even if it was odd. I picked up a couple of big, lovely eggplants at the farmer’s market, found a recipe online for a baked version (usually if I can bake something versus frying it, it’s on,) and set about stepping right out of my comfort zone and into the wide world of vegetarian cuisine.
While I can’t say that I never looked back (because, to me, there’s nothing like a big fat burger or juicy chicken breast,) I can say that I’ll never doubt weird vegetables again.
Eggplant is awesome, and I understand why vegetarians use it as a meat substitute. It’s surprisingly satisfying, pairs well with just about anything, and tastes pretty damn wonderful on pizza. Just sayin’.
Aaaannnndd you can eat it with all the cheese you want, a fact I find terribly hard to resist.
God bless you, vegans, I could never give up cheese!
You’ll have to pry the cheddar from my cold, dead hands.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- Olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 cup plain or Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus 2 Tablespoons
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 large eggplants peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
- 3 cups 24 ounces pasta sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms optional
- Layer your countertop with paper towels, and lay eggplant slices on top of them. Salt the eggplant liberally, and allow to sit for 30-60 minutes (this helps draw out the excess moisture). Rise the eggplants slices, then pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly brush 2 baking sheets with olive oil; set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and water. In another bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, 1 cup Parmesan, and Italian seasoning.
- Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, allowing excess drip off, then dredge both sides in breadcrumb mixture, coating well. Place in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake until golden brown on bottom, about 20-25 minute, then flip slices. Bake an additional 20-25 minutes until browned on other side. Remove from oven and turn temperature up to 400 degrees.
- Spread ½ cup of sauce in a 9-by-13-inch casserole or baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant in a single layer, shingling the slices if you have a lot (I did.) Cover with 1 cup sauce, then 1 cup mozzarella. Layer on mushrooms if desired, then cover with ½ cup sauce. Repeat layering with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella, then sprinkle on remaining Parmesan.
- Bake 15-20 minutes until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, then broil on high for 2 minutes to brown the cheese a bit. Remove from oven and sprinkle with additional Italian seasoning. Enjoy!
Which veggie surprised you when you tried it for the first time?