An update on an old Italian classic; this healthier version Sheet Pan Eggplant Parmesan is bursting with flavour. No need to pan fry the eggplant first!
SHEET PAN EGGLPLANT PARMESAN
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 lots of wonderful, colourful photos of food which have been prepared on sheet pans. These recipes are often referred to as ‘sheet pan’ cooking.
I had to get on board! I scoured the internet for ideas that were vegetarian friendly. Let’s face it, a sheet pan dinner is a little too much for one person. If I prepared a meat recipe, I would have to eat it by myself. Since I needed to prepare something for dinner anyway, vegetarian was the best way to go. That way, my vegetarians, John.e and McKenna, would have a great dinner too.
UPDATING AN OLD CLASSIC RECIPE
Long before Lord Byron’s Kitchen became what it is, I posted an Eggplant Parmesan recipe to my very first blog. Even though the taste and flavours were present, it looked a complete mess. I know I have a long way to go yet in terms of food styling and 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. I prepare it all over again, and take new photos. That way, 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. Using 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!)
LEFTOVERS? NO PROBLEM!
You can’t see it in the pictures, but I was able to get two full sheet pans full. To serve the dish, I piled the slices three high. I think three slices is a good portion size for just about anyone. We had lots left over.
I removed the leftovers from the sheet pan when we were cleaning up from dinner. Once again, I piled them three slices high into a deep baking dish. I wrapped the dish with plastic wrap and placed it in the refrigerator.
The next night, I added a bit more tomato sauce around the stacks of eggplant parmesan. I 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 have not tried freezing the leftovers. If you do, come back and let me know how it turns out.
NEW TO COOKING EGGPLANT?
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!
Sheet Pan Eggplant Parmesan
- 2 medium eggplant, washed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3 large 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 ground 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°F.
- Drizzle two sheet pans with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Use a pastry brush to spread the oil around.
- Working with one slice of eggplant at a time, dip it into the egg. Gently shake off the excess egg and then press the eggplant into the panko mixture to get a good coating on each side.
- Place eggplant on the prepared sheet pan. Do not overlap. Bake for 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 slice with 1-2 tablespoons of tomato sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese onto the tomato sauce. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Stack three or four slices onto a plate, garnish with more Parmesan cheese and fresh cut parsley. Serve immediately.