Meatless for a Meal: Eggplant Parmesan

November 7th, 2008 by katie

I often read that by committing to one meatless meal per week we can benefit our waistlines, wallets, overall health, animal karma, and/or world peace. Since I am all for world peace I am always on the lookout for meatless meals that my family (read husband) will actually eat and feel satisfied. We aren’t big bean eaters so that really complicates the search. Eggplant Parmesan is a great example of a meatless meal that can be easily substituted for it’s protein heavy counterpart. Also, allow me to disabuse you of the notion that vegetarian meals are all diet food. Anything that is breaded, fried, then smothered with cheese is going to require portion control.

This dish is delicious: the crunchy breading, the spicy sauce, the melty mozzarella covering it all. I really enjoy the flavor of the eggplant in this dish, but Daddy Chaos would swear it has chicken in it. So don’t be afraid to slip this one into regular rotation!

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

serves 6, prep 10 min, cook 30 min
  • 1 large or 2 small eggplants
  • 1-2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 clove minced garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 tsp minced basil or dry basil leaf
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella, about 8 oz.
  • 1 cup high quality pasta sauce, prepared or store bought, Arrabiata (spicy)
  1. Remove the skin from the eggplants and slice horizontally into disks.
  2. Combine breadcrumbs with garlic and basil. Season with salt and pepper or Italian seasoning or whatever you like.
  3. Dip each eggplant medallion into egg then dredge in breadcrumbs.
  4. Heat a generous amount of oil over medium-high and saute eggplants in batches until golden brown.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Layer a casserole dish with eggplant, sprinkle with 1/2 the Parmesan cheese, 1/2 a cup of pasta sauce then halt the mozzarella. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

This meal is only going to be as good as the sauce you choose for it. Just because you don’t feel like making your own sauce doesn’t mean you have to settle for Ragu. Many grocery stores have gourmet and imported pasta sauces either on the shelf with the usual stuff or in a special section. Check the top and bottom shelves and look for unfamiliar labels. Also, read the ingredients list-if there’s anything you don’t recognize or that you wouldn’t put in your own pasta sauce (high fructose corn syrup, anyone?) then pick another jar.

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Posted in Easy, Fast, Main Dish

8 Responses

  1. alexandra's kitchen

    I love eggplant parmesan and never think to make it. You are so right about the idea that vegetarian recipes are inherently lighter. So not true!
    This recipe looks like a keeper. can’t wait to try it.

  2. noble pig

    I love this but my husband is allergic to eggplant, go figure. But I would like this for me!

  3. Melissa

    Looks wonderful, and I have never tried eggplant!

    HFCS in sauce – and packaged bread – is a horrid thing, isn’t it? Sheesh.

    I’m with you on the one meatless meal thing, but am also having a hard time convincing the husband. I’m making this pasta this week and told him it had no meat and got the most awful glare hehe. I’ll convince him. 😉

  4. Cheryl

    Katie, first of all, gorgeous, gorgeous blog. Your photos leap off the page. I’d love to know your secret.

    I also like how you stuck a beautiful wedge of lettuce behind the eggplant. That makes the meal decadent, comforting, AND healthful, a tough hat trick to pull off.

    Have you heard of Meatless Monday? It’s a nonprofit run in concert with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (

  5. Stephen

    it is the best! I love foods that are meat free. the word vegetarian should be abolished. it’s all about good food right? in the spring nothing tastes better than fava beans with shaved cheese, good olive oil, lemon juice and cracked pepper.
    Nice photo too! makes me hungry!

  6. Aggie

    I have a hard time pulling off meatless meals in my house too…your eggplant looks delicious!!!

  7. EAT!

    Eggplant parm is one of my favorites. Most things covered in melty cheese are my favorites.

  8. lauren

    I love the blog!! I’m a true Italian and we make eggplant parm all the time…just wanted to share a trick with you to cut down on the acidity…after slicing the eggplant, generously salt the slices and place them in a strainer with a heavy pot (add some cans to the pot for weight) and let the eggplant sit for at least 20-30 minutes. Between the salt and the pressure from the pot, much of the acidic juice is removed! p.s. don’t forget to rinse and pat dry the slices before cooking.

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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