An Italian classic; this healthier version Eggplant Parmesan is bursting with flavour, and it’s all possible with just one vessel: a regular ol’ sheet pan.
Sheet pan cooking is all the rage now. Every time I spend a few minutes on Pinterest or in my Facebook recipe groups, I see wonderful, colourful photos of food which has been prepared on baking sheets. These baking sheet wizards often refer to their dishes as ‘sheet pan’ cooking.
I had to get on board! I scoured the internet for ideas that were vegetarian friendly, because, let’s face it, a sheet pan dinner is a little too much for one person. I knew if I prepared a meat, chicken, or fish dish on a sheet pan, I’d end up eating it all myself. Since I needed to prepare something for dinner anyway, I thought vegetarian would be the best option so that John.e and McKenna would have a great dinner too.
Many, many moons ago, I posted a recipe to my blog (then called 2gays1eats) for an Eggplant Parmesan recipe. Even though the taste and flavours were present, my setting and photography skills were a mess. I know I have a long way to go yet in terms of food styling and food photography, but I’m very pleased with my progress. I’ve since deleted that recipe from my blog. I try my best to go back once every month or so and update an old recipe by preparing it again and photographing it so that it looks more appealing to you, Dear Reader. We all eat with our eyes first, after all!
Unlike the previous Eggplant Parmesan recipe, which had me pan frying the breadcrumb-coated eggplant slices in oil, this recipe is much easier and healthier. To keep true to form and use only a sheet pan for the entire recipe, this time I baked the eggplant slices instead. The process was much less labourious and also less messy. (I hate cleaning up leftover used oil!)
You can’t see it in the pictures, but I was able to get two full sheet pans full of individually sliced Eggplant Parmesan. To serve the dish, I piled the slices three high. I think three slices is a good portion size for just about anyone. Since there’s only the three of us, I removed all of the slices from the sheet pan when we were cleaning up from dinner, and I once again piled them three slices high into a deep baking dish, wrapped the dish with plastic wrap and placed it in the refrigerator.
The next night, I simply added a bit more tomato sauce around the stacks of eggplant parmesan in the dish, tossed on a bit more cheese, and baked it at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Two dinners in one! And the baked, breaded eggplant retained its shape and texture. I’ve yet to try freezing the leftovers, so if you do, come back and let me know how it turns out.
If this recipe is your first exposure to Eggplant Parmesan, let me be the first to tell you that you are in for a very tasty treat. Not a common ingredient in most kitchens, eggplant is the star of this dish. Now, if you’re like me, and you’re put off by most eggplant recipes because of the slimy texture and/or unappealing look of cooked eggplant, do not worry. This recipe will show you how to draw out the moisture from the eggplant, which takes away that slimy texture, and then will walk you through the baking process, which surrounds the sliced eggplant in a parmesan cheese, panko breadcrumb, seasoned crust.
Add to that, Dear Reader, a good tomato sauce, more seasonings, more parmesan cheese, and a good amount of mozzarella, and you’ve got yourself a dish you’ll absolutely love. Trust me, you’ll love eggplant after you give this recipe a try!
- 2 medium sized eggplant, washed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated (plus more for garnish)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- Lay the sliced eggplant in a single layer onto two baking sheets. Sprinkle liberally with salt. Let sit for 15 minutes. Flip the eggplant over, salt again, and allow to sit for 15 more minutes.
- Run the sliced eggplant under lukewarm water to remove the salt. Pat each slice dry with paper towel. Set the slices aside.
- Next, set up your dredging station by whisking together the eggs and the water into a wide-set bowl. Set aside.
- In a larger bowl, whisk together the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, granulated garlic, and black pepper. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Drizzle two sheet pans with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Begin to coat each slice of the eggplant by first dipping into the egg and then coating with the panko mixture. Press the eggplant into the panko mixture. You want a good coating of the panko to adhere to the eggplant.
- Place the coated eggplant on the oiled baking sheets - do not overlap - and place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, flip each eggplant slice, and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven once again, top each eggplant slice with 1-2 tablespoons of tomato sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese onto the tomato sauce. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Garnish with more Parmesan cheese and fresh cut parsley.