Easy Aubergine Parmigiana (or Eggplant Parmigiana in the USA) is a delicious vegetarian dish of Italian origins made with baked aubergine slices, tomato sauce, lots of parmesan and mozzarella cheese and basil. It's easy to make, filling, and a great meatless recipe for the whole family.
Aubergine Parmesan - what the English translation would be, (or Parmigiana di Mellanzane in Italian - so many different names, isn't it) is such a comforting dish that will have even meat lovers ask for seconds. It's incredibly filling, and it can be served as a main course without any problem, although it also goes down well as a side with your favourite roast.
I love aubergines cooked in any possible way, and my Healthy Baked Eggplant Parmesan Stacks is actually a mini version of the same dish, just portioned already for a fancier look on the plate. But trust me, the look matters less when you have a mouthful of this amazing food.
Parmesan is my favourite hard cheese to add to any Italian dish, from pasta to bruschetta and many others. Its sharpness also balances well the cheesiness of the bechamel sauce. All in all, it's one of those ingredients that you'll always find in my fridge, it's just so handy to have around. And aubergines are at their best in Autumn, so it really is the best time to make a classic recipe to impress your loved ones.
Step-by-step photos and instructions
The authentic recipe calls for the aubergine to be fried before adding it to the ovenproof dish to be baked with the rest of the ingredients. Frying is not quite my favourite option, so, whenever possible, I always go for baking.
- slice the aubergine lengthwise, sprinkle some salt over each slice, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and arrange on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper
- bake in the preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit) for 20 minutes until tender - the thinner the slices, the quicker they bake
While the aubergine slices are baking, the tomato sauce can be prepared - it only takes about 10 minutes at the most, and it's such an easy sauce to make for any other dish too.
- peel and chop the onion finely
- heat up the oil in a fry pan, add the onion, and fry on a low to medium heat until golden
- add the tomato passata, season with salt and pepper and leave to bubble up for 4-5 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced
- remove from the heat and set aside
Once the slices are tender and the sauce is ready, we can start putting the dish together.
- add 2-3 tablespoons of sauce to the bottom of your ovenproof dish to prevent the aubergines from sticking to it
- arrange the slices on top of the sauce, spread ⅓ of the grated parmesan over, tear a quarter of the mozzarella cheese and add ⅓ of it too
- top with more aubergine slices, and repeat the process until you use up all the ingredients - I had 3 layers of slices
- cover the dish with kitchen foil, and bake at 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit) for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the dish is bubbling hot
- garnish with freshly-chopped basil leaves
I absolutely love the simplicity of this dish, the prep is minimal, and you get amazing flavours from all the fresh ingredients. It's like a lasagna without lasagna sheets, so the very low carb version of it.
The simple tomato sauce can be replaced with a bolognese sauce / minced beef sauce for a meatier version, and a more lasagna-like texture. Or any other sauce that you have around - homemade or ready-made.
If you want to go for a more traditional take on this recipe, instead of baking the aubergine slices, you can coat them lightly with flour, and shallow fry them in a pan, before assembling the dish. It's entirely up to you. It's more fuss this way, so I'm all for cutting corners, without compromising on taste or quality.
Other aubergine recipes
More more aubergine/eggplant goodness, how about my Healthy Quinoa-Stuffed Eggplant? Or Eggplant Katsu? The Romanian in me absolutely loves the Roasted Eggplant Dip, it's our favourite Autumn recipe. One vegetable, so many delicious dishes.
If you’ve tried this AUBERGINE PARMIGIANA or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.
Easy Aubergine Parmigiana
- 3 aubergines (eggplant)
- 500 ml tomato passata ( 2 cups)
- 1 onion
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 250 g mozzarella cheese
- 50 g grated parmesan cheese
- fresh basil for garnishing
- Slice the aubergines, season with salt and drizzle the olive oil over.
- Arrange the slices on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper, and bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit) until they are tender.
- Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce.
- Heat up the vegetable oil on a low to medium heat, peel and chop the onion finely, and fry until golden.
- Add the tomato passata, season with salt and pepper, and leave to bubble up for 5 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
- When the slices are cooked, add 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce to the bottom of an ovenproof dish, and arrange 4 aubergine slices in a single layer (or less slices depending on the size of your dish).
- Sprinkle ⅓ of the grated parmesan over, tear the mozzarella cheese, and add ⅓ of it to the parmesan.
- Add another layer of aubergine slices, and repeat the process until all the ingredients are used up - I had 3 layers of aubergines, sauce, parmesan and mozzarella.
- Cover the dish with a kitchen foil, and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the dish is bubbling hot.
- Garnish with freshly-shopped basil.