This Healthy Eggplant Parmesan is surprisingly the best vegetarian version of chicken parmesan. This recipe is meatless that’s best if you ever have a diet that requires you to have a light meal. The extra prep step may at first not seem worth it to you, but – it absolutely is and makes a huge difference. Healthy Eggplant Parmesan will totally change your perspective with eggplants, this will make you want more!
Eggplant Parmesan Recipe by Julie Chiou
There is something about the dish that feels like it’s giving you a giant hug. This recipe would be a great way for you to have a hearty meal without meat. It’d be a great meatless Monday meal. Eggplant is hearty and meaty enough to take place as real protein so this dish is also a favorite amongst vegetarians and why someone came up with it.
The method for the best eggplant parmesan recipe:
Heads up: once you make it this way, this is the ONLY way you’ll want to make your eggplant parmesan in the future.
The best method to make eggplant parmesan is to pull the moisture out of the eggplant prior to frying it. How do we pull moisture out of the eggplant? We sprinkle salt on the eggplant slices! The salt pulls out the moisture from the eggplant and therefore, when you cover it with breadcrumbs and fry it, you will have a much crispier and less soggy eggplant parmesan dish.
All that moisture beading up on top of the eggplant? That’s the salt doing its job! It’s pulling out most of the moisture. All you have to do is just pat it dry and dust off the excess salt and then you’ll be ready to start making your eggplant parmesan!
Healthy Eggplant Parmesan
- 1 large eggplant sliced into 1/4" thick slices
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil for lightly pan-frying
- 3 cup Marinara Sauce homemade or store-bought
- 2 cup whole milk mozzarella shredded
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- Handful of fresh basil leaves chopped, for garnish (optional)
- Salt both sides of your eggplant slices and place them in a large colander in the sink. Let the liquid drain for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- When your eggplant slices have finished draining liquid, brush off the excess salt, as you don't want it to be too salty!
- In 2 shallow plates, add breadcrumbs to one and whisk eggs and milk in the other. Dip both sides of eggplant slice into milk/egg mixture then cover with breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess. Place on plate or large baking sheet and repeat until all eggplant slices have been coated.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil into the skillet. Once the skillet is hot, add two eggplant slices at a time to the skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown, remove and set on a large plate lined with paper towels. Repeat until you've pan-fried them all.
- In a large casserole dish, add 1 cup of marinara sauce to the bottom of the casserole dish. Add a layer of eggplant slices then using a 1/4 cup, dollop marinara sauce on top of the eggplant slices. The idea isn't to smother the layers with sauce. On top of the eggplant slices, sprinkle a generous amount of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Repeat the layers until you run out of eggplants slices. Top the casserole with more cheese before you place in the oven.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and brown on top. You can use the broiler for 5 minutes to get the cheese nice and brown - you don't have to, but if you do, watch it carefully!
- Serve hot and top with chopped basil, if using.