This Baked Eggplant Parmesan, is a healthier way of making one of the most delicious Italian dishes. The eggplant is grilled rather than breaded, layered with a delicious Italian tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Then baked to perfection. The perfect main dish or side dish recipe. Your family will love it.
In Italy, you can always tell how far into summer you are by what is growing in your garden. Needless to say at this point my eggplant is really starting to show itself off.
I have eaten a lot of different types of Eggplant Parmesan since arriving in Italy, but I much prefer this Grilled Eggplant Parmesan. It’s an Italian classic redone on the grill, then baked in the oven for an elevated meal everyone will love.
While this is an updated way to make it, you won’t be missing out on any of the traditional recipe favourites, like oregano, basil, and plenty of mozzarella, and parmesan!
What is Eggplant Parmesan?
Eggplant parmesan is a classic Italian dish made with slices of eggplant that are breaded and fried (the traditional Naples way), then coated in marinara sauce and cheese.
It’s layered and baked much like a lasagna with the eggplant taking place of the noodles. The result is a creamy delicious comfort food dish that will warm the soul and the stomachs of anyone lucky enough to taste it.
How To Make Grilled Eggplant Parmesan
- I like the fact that I don’t have to fry the eggplant, this is an easier and lighter way of making this classic Italian dish without sacrificing any of those comfort food components we all love.
- Pre-heat the oven, and in a medium pot add olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, hot pepper flakes, oregano, salt, and basil leaves, stir to combine. Add water and combine, on medium heat cook until thickened.
- While the sauce is cooking grill the eggplant either on a pan grill or bbq.
- In an 8 x 6-inch baking dish, spread a little sauce, then make layers starting with the grilled eggplant, top with sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, continue for another 3-4 layers.
- The last layer top only with Parmesan cheese. Bake, then let sit 10 minutes before serving.
Perfectly Prepare Your Eggplant
While the sauce thickens, use that time to grill the eggplant to make the most of your time, and get dinner on the table in no time.
Use either long or round eggplant, although I absolutely prefer to use the Rosa Bianca Eggplant (purple and white stripe) now, it is less bitter, less seeds and has a more delicate flavour.
If I must I still use the Italian or Globe eggplant, just make sure you get young firm eggplants. They seem to have the least amount of seeds.
Cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices, in order for everything to cook correctly, according to the recipe. Thinner or thicker will affect the cooking time.
If you use the Italian or Globe eggplant it is probably best to let the slices sit in a bowl tossed with a little salt for about 15 – 20 minutes, drain but do not rinse the slices. Then proceed with the grilling.
If you use the Rosa Bianca Eggplant then you can probably skip this step and just grill the slices immediately.
Does Grilled Eggplant Parmesan Keep Well?
This eggplant parmesan bake will keep just as well as any other eggplant dish. You can store the leftovers in an airtight container, either altogether, or separated by serving size, and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If you want to make freeze half for later, or you want to make a double batch for an easy to heat up dinner during busy weeks, you can also freeze the dish.
To freeze, you’ll once again want to store everything in an airtight container once the dish is completely cooled. Then you can store it in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Tips For Making Grilled Eggplant Parmesan
- Be sure not to grill them too much or they will be too dry.
- I used firm mozzarella instead of fresh. I find fresh with certain foods become too watery. And don’t forget lots of Parmesan!
- I made this into a three-layer Grilled Eggplant Parmigiano and it was amazing. Perfectly cheesy.
If you do decide to try this version of Eggplant Parmesan I hope you enjoy it! Buon Appetito!
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- 1 can peeled tomatoes (400 grams)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- pinch of hot pepper flakes if desired
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 5 leaves fresh basil chopped
- 1/4 cup water (113 grams)
FOR THE LAYERS
- 2-3 medium eggplants
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (75 grams)
- 1 1/2 cups firm mozzarella shredded (150 grams)
*Choose Italian / Globe or Rosa Bianca Eggplants.
- Pre-heat oven to 350° (180° celsius).
- If you are using the Italian or Globe eggplant then slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices and place in a bowl, sprinkle with approximately 1 teaspoon of salt and let sit for about 15-20 minutes. Then drain but do not rinse.
- In a medium pot add olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, hot pepper flakes, oregano, salt and basil leaves and water, stir to combine, squish the tomatoes with a fork occasionally. Simmer on medium heat until thickened and most of the water has evaporated.
- After 20 minutes grill the eggplant.
- In an 8 x 6 inch (20 x 15 centimeter) baking dish, spread a little sauce, then make about 3 or 4 layers starting with the grilled eggplant, top with sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, continue for the remaining layers, the last layer top only with Parmesan cheese. (Place baking dish on a cookie sheet just in case the sauce bubbles over). Bake for approximately 25 – 30 minutes, let sit 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!