This Easy Eggplant Parmesan skips the tedious hand-breading and bakes up tender eggplant layered with crispy breadcrumbs and cheese!
Is it bad to eat healthy just so you can eat more?
I really like to eat. Let me rephrase that – I really like to eat good food. This is why I hesitate to tell people I like cake because I only like certain cakes. Wow, things just got really pretentious up in here. And I managed to turn a healthy eating post into one about cake.
Do people order eggplant parmesan at a restaurant to try and be healthy? I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s totally not.
Eggplant soaks up oil like nobody’s business. Seriously, get out of here, you don’t even want to know. Then there’s the whole breading / cheese / pasta combination. Yikes. And yum.
Not only have I cut calories in this easy eggplant parmesan, I’ve also saved you time! Maybe. I always think dredging something is no big deal and I can whip it out in the time allotted in the recipe. So not true.
It turns into a huge, time consuming mess. Maybe you’re a super-dredger. Which is cool. Go for it.
In my lazy girl version, you’re just going to broil the eggplant with just a slight spritz of olive oil, then layer the baked eggplant slices in a baking dish with marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella, and a few breadcrumbs. It basically turns into a big, tasty eggplant casserole.
Make a little pasta or spaghetti squash while the eggplant gets all bubbly in the oven and you’ve got a full meal. Using fresh mozzarella limits me from heaping on tons of shredded cheese and sprinkling the breadcrumbs keeps things crunchy without frying.
How do you make easy baked eggplant parmesan?
- Slice and broil your eggplant
- Arrange the eggplant slices in a baking dish with the marinara, then top with mozzarella cheese and the breadcrumb mixture
- Bake until hot, melted, and bubbly
Do you peel eggplant when making eggplant parmesan?
When making this easy eggplant parmesan, it is entirely up to you if you want to peel the eggplant. I did not peel it for the photos, but I do often peel it before making this recipe because once cooked, the peel will come away easily from the rest of the eggplant flesh, and it can look a little unruly.
This easy eggplant parmesan can be customized! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Swap the fresh mozzarella for shredded
- Use vegetarian parmesan cheese to keep this vegetarian
- Leave the cheese off entirely to make vegan eggplant parmesan
- Use gluten-free bread crumbs to make gluten-free eggplant parmesan
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Easy Eggplant Parmesan
- 2 medium eggplant
- Olive oil
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 1 cup plain or whole wheat panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound spaghetti
- Parsley, finely chopped (optional)
- Preheat the broiler on your oven to high and place an oven rack in the highest position.
- Remove the ends of the eggplant and cut them into slices about 1/4 inch thick. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a large baking sheet and brush both sides lightly with olive oil or spray with cooking spray. Broil 5-7 minutes per side or until soft and just beginning to brown. When the eggplant is done move the oven rack down to the middle position and heat the oven to bake at 425ºF.
- Meanwhile, thoroughly combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Pour a little marinara in the bottom of the pan and spread around evenly. Arrange the eggplant slices in the dish. They will be slightly overlapping. Cover with remaining marinara sauce. Arrange mozzarella slices on top of the sauce. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture evenly over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and beginning to brown.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to package directions and drain. Serve spaghetti topped with a scoop of the eggplant and sprinkled with chopped parsley, if desired.