Hey there, foodies! Are you ready to experience a cheesy, indulgent meal that’s 100% vegan? Get excited because today, I am sharing with you my Layered Eggplant Parmesan recipe that will leave your taste buds dancing with joy. This dish is not just for vegetarians, but for everyone who loves a hearty yet healthy meal.
What makes this recipe unique is that it uses eggplant slices as the base instead of lasagna noodles, giving it a new twist without compromising on flavors. The layers of savory tomato sauce, crispy breaded eggplant slices, and melted mozzarella cheese create an irresistible flavor profile that melts in your mouth. The creamy and satisfying texture of the dish makes it hard to believe that it’s completely meat-free.
And the best part? You can enjoy this Italian classic right in the comfort of your own home without sacrificing flavor or nutritional value. With a few pantry staples and fresh ingredients like eggplant and parmesan cheese, this dish can be whipped up in no time. So let’s dive into this easy vegetarian eggplant parmesan recipe and get started on cooking up a storm!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Hey, food lovers! I’m excited to share a recipe with you that is sure to tantalize your taste buds – Layered Eggplant Parmesan! This tasty vegetarian dish is a crowd pleaser, perfect for any occasion. Here are the reasons why you will absolutely love this recipe:
Firstly, this layered eggplant parmesan recipe is pure goodness, packed with amazing flavors and loaded with fresh ingredients such as thinly sliced eggplant, goopy tomato sauce, delectable mozzarella cheese, and zesty parmesan cheese.
Secondly, this eggplant parmigiana is baked (not fried) making it healthier and easier to prepare. Gone are the days of feeling guilty about indulging in comfort food because with this recipe you get all of the deliciousness without any of the guilt!
Third, the combinations of flavors in this dish are out of this world, if I may say so myself. From the garlicky seasoning salt to the bursts of tangy marinara sauce wrapped around eggplant slices and smothered in cheese…mmhm, it’s a party for your taste buds!
Lastly, this vegetarian eggplant parmesan can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of their dietary preferences. Trust me on this -it’s so good you won’t even miss the meat!
Overall, there are endless reasons why you’re going to fall in love with Layered Eggplant Parmesan. So why not try it out for yourself? You won’t be disappointed!
Let’s get started with all the ingredients you need to make this layered eggplant Parmesan recipe. Below is a list of everything you’ll need for this mouth-watering dish. Make sure to have all these ingredients ready before you start cooking.
Here are the ingredients:
- Eggplant: You will need 2 large eggplants or 3 medium size ones, washed and dried.
- Salt: For seasoning the eggplant slices.
- Eggs: You’ll need 2 eggs to make an egg wash for coating the eggplant.
- Cold Water: Mix half a cup of cold water with the eggs.
- Breadcrumbs: You’ll need 2 cups of Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs.
- Parmesan cheese: Use 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese to add flavor to your baked eggplant.
- Seasonings: To add extra taste to your dish, you’ll also need garlic powder, fresh ground black pepper, and seasoning salt.
- Olive Oil: For frying the eggplant slices until they’re golden brown on both sides. You’ll need about 1 cup of olive oil.
- Mozzarella Cheese: The star of the show! Make sure to shred around 4 cups of mozzarella cheese.
- Tomato Sauce: Use a 24 oz jar of marinara sauce or tomato sauce as per choice.
- Basil Leaves: You’ll need about 15 basil leaves (fresh) for layering on top of the cooked eggplant slices.
- 13 x 9-inch Casserole Dish
Make sure that you have all these ingredients in place before you start cooking to avoid any last minute hassle.
The Recipe How-To
Now, it’s time for the main event! Layered Eggplant Parmesan is a fabulous vegan recipe that’s easy to make and chock full of flavor. In this section, I will walk you step-by-step through the process of creating this dish, so you can enjoy impressive and delicious results.
Before diving in, ensure all your ingredients are corralled together into a manageable work space. You’ll want to have your oven preheated to 375°F (190°C) and a 9×13 inch baking dish sitting nearby. This hearty casserole requires breaded eggplant slices lovingly smothered in marinara sauce before being piled high with layers of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
Begin by cutting 2 medium-large eggplants into thin 1/4 inch rounds. To reduce the moisture content, sprinkle each slice with seasoning salt and lay them flat on a paper towel-lined baking sheet for 10 minutes. Pat them dry with another paper towel, flip them over onto a fresh towel and season again.
Next, dip each eggplant round into cold water followed by an egg wash mixture (2 eggs whisked with 2 teaspoons of water). Then gently coat both sides of the eggplant slices with seasoned bread crumbs.
Baking The Eggplant
Once sliced and coated, bake the prepared eggplant rounds for 25-30 minutes until they’re toasted and tender. The baked eggplant takes on far less oil than traditional fried preparations but still provides a satisfying crunch.
Assembling The Layered Dish
Now you’re ready to assemble your layered masterpiece! Start by spreading 1/4 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of your prepared baking dish. Arrange half of the cooked eggplant in a single layer on top of the sauce. Now it’s time to pour on another half cup or so of sauce followed by a layer of mozzarella cheese.
Repeat this process, adding the remaining eggplant rounds as your second layer. Cover it all up with remaining marinara sauce then sprinkle the top generously with more mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
Bake and Serve
Bake the entire casserole for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Once done baking, let it cool just enough to be safe to eat before slicing into portion sizes. Serve generous portions, topped off with plenty of fresh basil leaves or some sprinkles fresh ground black pepper to taste!
This recipe is truly an indulgent treat that you won’t be able to get out of your head any time soon. Not only is this recipe vegan-friendly, but its packed with complex flavors that will be sure to impress even discerning eaters
Substitutions and Variations
Now, I know that not everyone has access to the exact ingredients listed in the eggplant parmesan recipe. So, if you need substitutions or variations for this recipe, I got you covered!
For a vegan twist, simply replace the eggs with aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) and use vegan mozzarella cheese instead of regular mozzarella cheese. You can also opt to leave out the Parmesan cheese for a completely vegan version.
If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, instead of bread crumbs, use gluten-free crackers or cornmeal. This will still give your baked eggplant parmesan the crunch it needs without sacrificing the taste.
For those who don’t like garlic powder or seasoning salt, you can use Italian seasoning or basil leaves. These give similar flavor profiles as garlic powder and seasoning salt but are milder in taste.
You can also switch up the size of the eggplant slices to get creative with your presentation. Try cutting them into circles or even long strips for a unique twist on this classic dish.
Lastly, for those who prefer less sauce in their eggplant parmigiana, you can reduce the amount of marinara sauce used during assembly.
Remember that these are just suggestions and you should experiment with different variations to find what works best for you. Just have fun with it and enjoy making this easy vegetarian eggplant recipe!
Serving and Pairing
When it comes to serving this layered eggplant parmesan, the possibilities are endless! One option is to simply serve it as a main dish alongside a fresh salad or steamed vegetables. The rich flavors of the eggplant, melted mozzarella cheese, and tangy tomato sauce are enough to satisfy any appetite.
For those looking for a heartier meal, consider pairing this dish with a side of garlic bread or crusty French bread. The buttery crust and soft, chewy texture of the bread perfectly complement the robust flavors of the layered eggplant parmesan.
If you’re looking for something lighter or more refreshing, try serving it with a crisp white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. The acidity and citrus notes in these wines help to balance out the richness of the cheese and tomato sauce.
For those who prefer red wine, a medium-bodied Chianti or Sangiovese pairs perfectly with the savory flavors of this dish. The tannins in these wines help to cut through the fat and enhance the overall experience.
No matter how you choose to serve it, this layered eggplant parmesan is sure to be a hit at any dinner party or family gathering. So why not give it a try and take your taste buds on a journey alla parmigiana?
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Now that your Layered Eggplant Parmesan is ready, we’re here to tell you that it’s a great recipe for meal prep or making ahead for a busy week. You can prepare this dish up to 2-3 days in advance and refrigerate it until you’re ready to enjoy it.
To reheat the layered eggplant parmigiana, simply place it in the oven or microwave until heated through. If reheating in the oven, cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.
If you’re looking to store leftover eggplant parmesan, it’s important to keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help keep moisture away and keep your eggplant fresh. We recommend using glass containers as it helps maintain the flavor of the dish better than plastic containers.
Layered eggplant is also great for freezing! You can freeze this dish before baking or after baking. If freezing before baking, assemble as directed but do not bake. Instead, cover your casserole dish with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer. When you are ready to bake, remove from freezer and allow to thaw completely before following baking instructions.
If you decide to freeze leftovers from an already baked eggplant parmesan recipe, make sure the food has completely cooled down first before placing it in airtight containers suitable for freezing. Then just transfer leftovers to the fridge at least 12 hours prior to reheating – always remember to heat slowly so that every part of your eggplant gets warm without burning any part.
For the best results when storing, reheating or freezing this easy vegetarian eggplant parmesan recipe, make sure you follow these easy tips so that you can enjoy this delicious vegan meal again anytime, while still keeping its taste and texture intact!
Tips for Perfect Results
If you want to create the ultimate eggplant parmesan recipe, then there are some tips that can help to ensure you get the best results possible. Follow these simple tips and tricks to elevate your layered eggplant parmigiana to a whole new level.
Firstly, make sure that you coat your eggplant slices well in the breadcrumbs and seasonings. This will not only add extra flavor and texture to the dish but also help to seal in moisture which means your baked eggplant parmesan will be much more succulent.
Another important tip is to leave the skin on your eggplants. Not only does it add an extra layer of texture, but it also helps to retain moisture and nutrients within the slices themselves. Make sure to wash your eggplants thoroughly before using them in this recipe.
When it comes to layering, don’t skimp on the sauce. Always start with a generous layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of your casserole dish so that there’s enough moisture for the eggplant to absorb as it cooks.
As for adding cheese, we recommend using a combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheese for the perfect balance of creaminess and tanginess. It’s essential to evenly sprinkle cheese between each layer, especially on top of the eggplant slices. This way, they’ll become gooey and stretchy while baking.
For a gluten-free version of this recipe, swap out traditional breadcrumbs with almond meal or panko-style breadcrumbs made from crushed cornflakes. These replacements still give enough crunchy texture while keeping recipe gluten-free.
Finally, always let the baked eggplant parmesan rest for about 10 minutes covering it with foil after it gets out of the oven before slicing so every piece hold together better without falling apart when served next.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready to make an irresistible vegetarian layered eggplant that’s sure to impress everyone at your next dinner party!
Now that we’ve gone through the ingredient list, how-to, substitutions and variations, serving and pairing, make-ahead, storing and reheating tips, as well as the tips for perfect results for our Layered Eggplant Parmesan Recipe, let’s dive deep into answering F.A.Q about this recipe!
How many layers should eggplant parmesan be?
For this recipe, it is recommended to have three layers of eggplant. However, anything more than that may require a larger and deeper pan. The step of layering the eggplant can be a bit challenging, but it is worth the effort for the delicious result. Once the dish is baked, resist the urge to immediately dig in and instead take a moment to simply appreciate the beauty of the eggplant parmesan.
Do you leave the skin on eggplant for eggplant parmesan?
When it comes to using eggplants in recipes, it’s important to consider the state of their skin. While the skin is generally edible and tenderizes with cooking, it can become tough and bitter as the eggplant matures. As a vegan chef, I suggest removing the skin in the case of preparing eggplant parmesan to enhance its flavor and texture.
How do you make eggplant parmesan not soggy?
One helpful trick for achieving a crispy and less soggy eggplant parmesan dish is to remove the excess moisture from the eggplant before cooking it. This can be done by sprinkling salt on the eggplant slices, which will draw out the moisture. When the eggplant is later covered with breadcrumbs and fried, it will maintain its crispiness.
What can I use instead of egg for eggplant breading?
For this particular recipe, I highly recommend using chickpea flour as a substitute for eggs. When combined with water, it creates a smooth and flawless batter that’s perfect for coating the eggplant. Beyond being an excellent egg replacer, chickpea flour is nutrient-rich and low in calories, containing hardly any saturated fats.
So there you have it, my friends, a delicious and hearty vegetarian recipe that will satisfy everyone at the table! This layered eggplant parmesan is easy to make, flavorful and can be customized according to your preferences. Plus, it’s a great option for those who are looking for a gluten-free meal or want to enjoy a healthier version of this classic Italian dish.
Don’t hesitate to give this recipe a try and impress your family and friends with your cooking skills. I guarantee that they will love it! So go ahead and get all the ingredients you need, follow the steps carefully, and don’t forget to add your own twist to make it truly special. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!
In conclusion, I hope this recipe has inspired you to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet and experiment with new flavors and textures. Healthy eating can be fun and delicious, and this layered eggplant parmesan is proof of that. Thanks for reading, and happy cooking!
Layered Eggplant Parmesan (Vegetarian) Recipe
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2-1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 large eggplant (peeled and cut into about 1/2-inch slices)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (or as needed)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (can use more if desired)
- 3 cups prepared marinara sauce
- Grease an 11 x 7-inch baking pan.
- In a bowl whisk the eggs with water until combined.
- In a shallow dish combine the breadcrumbs with seasoned salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, black pepper and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Dip the eggplant slice firstly into the egg mixture then coat into the breadcrumb mixture pressing down with hands to adhere the mixture to the eggplant, repeat with all slices.
- Place all the egplant slices on a onto a large a jelly-roll pan (the slices should be all breaded before browning).
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Brown the slices 1 or 2 at a time on each side (about 4 minutes per side, after browning return the slices to the jelly-roll pan).
- TO ASSEMBLE; arrange one-third of the slices in a single layer into the bottom of the baking pan.
- Sprinkle 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, then about 1/2 cup mozzarealla cheese.
- Repeat the layer twice.
- Spoon about 3 cups marinara sauce over the top.
- Bake covered with foil at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.
- Uncover then sprinkle 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese then about 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese on top, return to oven and bake uncovered for about 10 minutes.
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Jolo is a talented chef and food blogger with a passion for vegan and Caribbean flavors. From savory vegetarian dishes to tropical smoothies, Jolo’s Kitchen has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for meat-free meals or creative Caribbean recipes, Jolo’s Kitchen is the perfect place for you.