Are you looking for a delicious and easy way to incorporate eggplant into your weekly meal plan? Eggplant parmesan is the perfect option.
Packed with flavor and nutrients, this classic Italian dish is sure to be a family favorite.
And here, I have all the tips you need to make your own delicious eggplant parmesan.
From slicing the eggplant to layering it with cheese and sauce. I’ll take you step by step through the process.
So grab your ingredients, fire up those ovens, and get ready. It’s time to cook up some tasty eggplant parmesan!
This traditional Italian favorite is comfort food at its finest.
It’s layer upon layer of crisp, breaded eggplant with robust sauce and gooey cheeses.
It’s full of classic Italian flavors and combines various distinct textures.
It’s also hearty enough to serve as a stand-alone meal, even without sides.
Though, you can’t go wrong with a nice garden salad or a small side of spaghetti.
Buttery, garlicky breadsticks are also an excellent option. (Yes, I may be channeling my inner Olive Garden a bit.)
Seriously, though. Eggplant parm is a gorgeous, high-quality meal perfect for even formal occasions.
Fortunately, it’s also simple enough to make for typical weeknight meals.
Whatever the occasion, you’re sure to love this recipe.
How to Make Eggplant Parmesan
Here’s how you’ll make eggplant parmesan:
1. Prepare. Start by prepping your ingredients and equipment. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat two large eggs, leaving them in a bowl by themselves.
Measure out and pour the breadcrumbs into a second bowl. Peel and slice the eggplant, and shred the cheeses if you didn’t buy pre-shredded.
Have everything ready to go, and the process goes much smoother.
2. Bread. Bread the eggplant by dipping it first in the eggs, then the breadcrumbs. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
3. Bake. Bake the battered eggplant slices for 5 minutes in the preheated oven. Then, flip them over on the sheet and bake them for another 5 minutes.
4. Layer. Next, you’ll prepare the dish in its final form. Spread spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Then, add a single layer of eggplant. Top that with your two cheeses.
Then, repeat the process, layering the ingredients until you’ve used all the eggplant. The top layer should be mozzarella and parmesan. Add a final sprinkle of basil on top of that layer.
5. Bake. Bake the dish again at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It should take about 35 minutes for the cheese to melt and the eggplant slices to turn golden brown.
6. Serve. Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool for a couple of minutes. Then, transfer the eggplant parmesan to individual serving plates. Top with any desired toppings, and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
Here are a few tips to remember while selecting your eggplant and preparing the recipe:
- Buy fresh, smaller-sized eggplant. Smaller eggplant works best for this recipe. Also, look for those especially shiny ones without any soft, dented parts.
- Prepare the eggplant promptly and correctly. Don’t wait longer than a day after buying the eggplant to prepare it.
Eggplant stays fresh for only a short time, so cook it sooner rather than later.
Furthermore, be sure to slice it relatively thin, about 1/2-inch slices should work.
If you cut it any thicker, it might not cook evenly and will be tough or bitter.
- Salt the eggplant ahead of baking it. You won’t find this direction in the recipe, but it’s an excellent tip. Salt your eggplant slices before baking them. (Up to an hour ahead of time if possible.)
Doing so helps draw out some of the eggplant’s natural water, ensuring a crispier slice after baking.
Be sure to wipe the salt away before baking the slices, though.
- To peel or not to peel. This recipe advises you to peel the eggplant before slicing it. I don’t always do that. I enjoy leaving the peel on. It tastes great and provides a better overall texture.
- Select breadcrumbs to suit your tastes. The recipe calls for Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, which are excellent.
However, you could swap those for your favorite breadcrumbs or homemade breadcrumbs.
Remember, much of your flavor will come from the seasoning on the breadcrumbs. So be sure it’s something you like.
- Don’t over sauce. Ensure each layer of sauce isn’t too thick. If it is, the eggplant will absorb too much of it and become soggy.
Less is definitely more in this recipe, at least in terms of sauce.
- Swap out the sauce. If spaghetti sauce isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Swap it out for marinara or something else.
I prefer red sauces to white, but you could even use a creamy bechamel if you prefer.
I already touched on this briefly above. But a fresh garden salad and buttery, garlicky breadsticks are my go-to sides for this dish.
A small side of simple spaghetti also works.
Here are some other options on what to serve with eggplant parmesan:
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Roasted broccoli or cauliflower
- Caesar salad
- Bean sprouts, green beans, or snow peas
- Grilled zucchini
- Grilled portobello mushroom
- A light soup
- Button mushrooms
- Antipasto platter or salad
- Caprese skewers
- Meatballs or Italian sausage
Check out this article for even more ideas about what to serve with eggplant parmesan.
How to Store Eggplant Parmesan
If you have any leftovers, don’t toss them out! Storing eggplant parmesan is simple.
Transfer cooled eggplant parmesan leftovers to an airtight container. Seal it, and pop it in the fridge. The leftovers should remain fresh for 5 to 7 days.
If you need a more long-term storage option, opt for the freezer. Place the leftovers in an airtight container, date the container, and put it flat in the freezer.
Be sure to use them within 2 months of freezing them for best results.
You can also prepare the dish ahead of time and freeze it for later use.
Simply prepare everything in a freezer-safe baking dish. Follow the recipe, but stop before the final baking.
Then, wrap the baking dish in a layer of plastic wrap. Then, wrap it again in aluminum foil.
Place the dish flat in the freezer, and be sure not to put anything on top of it.
You can keep it in the freezer for up to a month before baking it.
You can use the microwave to reheat leftovers from the fridge.
Transfer however much you want to a microwave-safe plate. Heat in 1-minute increments at 100% power.
You can also heat the entire dish of leftovers in the oven. Warm them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and watch them closely.
When the cheese starts to bubble, they’re ready.
Reheating leftovers from the freezer is slightly different.
You should allow uncooked eggplant parm to thaw completely before baking it. Then, bake it according to the recipe.
You can reheat frozen cooked eggplant parmesan from frozen.
Adjust the oven temp to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and heat for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
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