Growing up, my mom would order eggplant Parmesan all the time when we would go out to eat, but we would never eat it at home.
Since I had never prepared eggplant before, the first time I saw it at the local farmers market I didn’t pick it up because I had no idea what to do with it!
Having started keto and loving refried beans, I eventually was led back to eggplant since it makes great Bean-less Refried Beans.
This inspired me to investigate other ways of preparing eggplant!
Because my mom has always loved eggplant parmesan, this was a recipe I wanted to tackle and master so that I could make this for her.
Well, this past week when she came to visit, I made it for her and it was a slam dunk!
She loved it, and I know your family will love this recipe too!
To Salt or Not to Salt?
This recipe starts with preparing the eggplant, but, in my opinion, this is totally optional.
I have eaten eggplant by salting it first and also by not salting it first and I honestly don’t notice that much of a difference in taste.
Take the Bean-less Refried Beans as an example, I don’t salt the eggplant for that recipe (although you totally can if you can’t stand eggplant without salting it first).
The reason I still include that step in this recipe is because drawing the moisture out for this recipe might slightly help the eggplant soak up the egg coating better, but again, if you don’t have time for this step, feel free to just skip right on by.
Our family loves eating this eggplant recipe with homemade bolognese, but it’s so good that we also eat them plain.
Another option if you need a meatless Monday meal (or Tuesday or Wednesday, you get my point) would be to top these with just homemade tomato basil sauce.
So if you are eating these with either the bolognese or just the sauce, get your tomato basil sauce going first. You probably don’t want to start the eggplant until your sauce has simmered for 30 minutes, and then slice and salt your eggplant as outlined below.
If you want to enjoy these without a tomato sauce, proceed ahead!
Eggplant Parmesan Directions
Start by washing and slicing the eggplant into 1/4-inch slices. Lay the slices out on a rack sitting on a baking sheet and generously salt the top side (some people do both sides, but I’m lazy and I’ve only been doing one side). Let them sit for 30 minutes so that water is drawn out of the eggplant. You should see water pooling up on top of the slices.
While waiting on the eggplant to do its thing, prepare the crumb coating.
Using a food processor, make bread crumbs either out of Ezekiel bread or pork rinds if you want a gluten-free, low-carb dish. In a bowl, stir the crumbs together with the Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning, set aside.
Prepare the egg wash by whisking two eggs together in a bowl large enough to fit your widest eggplant slice (trust me, you need to check – on some eggplants, that is going to be a fairly large bowl!).
Once 30 minutes have passed (or more or less – this isn’t an exact science, just whenever you have everything else and you are ready to move on), pat the slices dry.
Now is a good time to get that oven preheating, so turn it on to 400 degrees. If you are going to eat these with the bolognese, this is also the time I would start browning up that ground beef.
Prepare a baking dish (or two – depends on how large your eggplant is) and either melt the butter in the bottom of the pan, or these days I’m honestly so lazy that I just put butter chunks in the bottom of the dish, layer my eggplant on top, and let the butter melt in the oven as the dish cooks.
One at a time, dip the eggplant slices in the egg, coating both sides, and then dip into the crumb mixture, again coating both sides. Make a single layer in the prepared dish. It is easiest to flip these halfway through cooking if you do a single layer – stacking just makes flipping a real pain, but if you only have one pan available, stack away or cook in batches.
Once you have one pan ready (seriously I have never had less than two pans and sometimes I have three if it’s a large eggplant), place it in the oven.
Bake for 10 minutes. The tops should have a little golden brown color.
Flip the slices over and sprinkle the mozzarella on top.
Bake for another 5-7 minutes or until the mozzarella has a nice golden brown color.
Let cool for five minutes before serving. Eat them as is, top them with tomato basil sauce, or eat them over homemade bolognese like we did!
However you eat them, they will be delicious!
Difficulty Level: Moderate
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 slice of Ezekial bread OR ½ cup pork rinds (for keto or gluten-free)
- 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 2 Tablespoons butter (per 8×8 baking dish, use 1/4 cup butter for a 9×13 baking dish)
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese
- OPTIONAL: 1 batch Homemade Bolognese or Homemade Tomato Basil Sauce
- Wash and slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch slices. Lay out on a rack sitting on a baking sheet and generously salt the top side . Let them sit for 30 minutes so that water is drawn out of the eggplant.
- While waiting on the eggplant, prepare the crumb coating. Use a food processor to make bread crumbs out of either the Ezekial bread or pork rinds. In a bowl, stir the crumbs together with the Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning, set aside.
- Prepare the egg wash by whisking the two eggs together in a bowl large enough to fit your largest eggplant slice.
- Once 30 minutes have passed, pat the slices dry.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking dish (or two – depends on how large your eggplant is) and cut the butter into chunks and spread out in the bottom of the pan.
- One at a time, dip the eggplant slices into the egg wash, coating both sides, and then into the crumb mixture, again coating both sides. Make a single layer in the prepared dish. Once you have one pan ready, place it in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Flip the slices over and sprinkle the mozzarella on top. Bake for another 5-7 minutes or until the mozzarella has a nice golden brown color.
- Let cool for five minutes before serving. Eat them plain, top them with tomato basil sauce, or eat them over homemade bolognese.
Store leftovers in the fridge and reheat with a little butter in a frying pan on the stove or in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until they are sizzling again.