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A casserole dish filled with eggplant Parmesan topped with melted mozzarella cheese
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5 from 1 vote

Baked Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

A delicious and flavorful baked version of the Italian classic!
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8
Author: Tricia

Ingredients

For the eggplant:

  • 2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or other coarse salt)
  • 2 cups unseasoned panko bread crumbs (188g)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

For the sauce:

  • 2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

For layering:

  • 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella, shredded (2 cups)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 ounce
  • fresh basil leaves or chopped parsley

Instructions

To prepare the eggplant:

  • Place a triple layer of paper towels on a large baking sheet. Lightly season the sliced eggplant all over with salt and place on the prepared pan. Once full, top with another double or triple layer of paper towels and then more sliced eggplant. Once all eggplant is salted and layered, place a final double layer of paper towels over the top. Set another baking over over the eggplant slices. Place a heavy pot on the top to add weight. Set the eggplant aside for 45 minutes to an hour while preparing the sauce and breading.
  • While the eggplant is draining, adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower middle positions. Preheat to 425°F degrees.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the bread crumbs, oregano, red pepper, Parmesan, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Pulse until finely ground. Transfer the crumbs to a pie plate or shallow bowl. Pour the flour into a second shallow bowl and set aside. In a third bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. Set aside.
  • Blot the eggplant with paper towels to remove as much liquid as possible, then wipe off excess salt. Stack on a plate as you go. Place the now empty baking sheets in the oven to preheat.
  • Cut a large piece of parchment or wax paper and place on your work surface. Working with one piece at a time, dredge the eggplant in the flour, then dip in the egg, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge the eggplant in the breadcrumb mixture, coating the entire surface. Shake off excess and place in a single layer on the parchment paper. Repeat until all eggplant is coated.
  • Remove the preheated baking sheets from the oven and brush the inside of each pan with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Place the breaded eggplant slices on the baking sheets in a single layer. Bake until the eggplant is golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes. Rotate the pans and flip the eggplant halfway through baking.

To prepare the sauce:

  • While the eggplant bakes, prepare the sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat on medium-low. Cook until heated through. Keep warm. Sauce may be made 24 hours in advance and refrigerated until needed. Thin with a little wine or water if you prefer thinner sauce.

To assemble the Eggplant Parmesan:

  • Lightly coat a 13x9-inch baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. Pour 1 heaping cup of tomato sauce over the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer half the eggplant slices, overlapping the edges if needed to fit. Spoon 1 cup of sauce over the eggplant layer. Sprinkle half the mozzarella over the sauce.
  • Add the remaining layer of eggplant then top with spoonfuls of the sauce, leaving some of the eggplant exposed so it will remain crisp. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of Parmesan and all the remaining mozzarella.
  • Bake until bubbling and the cheese is browned, about 15 minutes. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes then serve garnished with basil or parsley. Pass extra warm sauce to spoon over individual servings or spaghetti.

Notes

Do Ahead:
  • Eggplant Parmesan can be made 2 days in advance. Once baked, cool completely, then cover with foil. Refrigerate until needed.
  • 30 minutes before baking, remove the casserole and rest at room temperature. Reheat in a preheated 350F oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until bubbling around the edges.