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This Vegan Eggplant Parmesan is a hearty Italian classic the whole family will love! Crispy eggplant baked between layers of savory marinara sauce, vegan mozzarella cheese, and vegan parmesan cheese until melted and bubbly!
Table of Contents
- Ingredients You’ll Need
- Equipment Needed
- How to Make Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe FAQs
- Storage Instructions
- Quick Tips
- More Delicious Vegan Italian Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Recipe Recipe
Vegetarian eggplant parmesan has been a popular dish for several centuries, and it was time to put our spin on a delicious vegan eggplant parmigiana! It’s easily become one of our favorite eggplant recipes, followed closely by our Vegan Eggplant Meatballs and Vegan Eggplant Rollatini.
It’s easy enough to make on weeknights or weekends but elevated enough to serve as the main at any holiday feast. All you need is 10 simple ingredients, plus tons of fresh basil to garnish.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Eggplant: Large eggplants can be on the bitter and chewy side, so for the best flavor and texture, use medium-sized eggplants.
- Marinara sauce: Any store-bought or homemade marinara sauce of choice will work well. Or, for a fall twist, try using our Roasted Butternut Squash and Tomato Sauce!
- Vegan cheese: We like to use a combination of vegan mozzarella cheese and vegan parmesan cheese. For this recipe we used store-bought cheese, but you can opt for homemade Stretchy Vegan Mozzarella and Vegan Parmesan Cheese!
- Flour: This vegan eggplant parmesan recipe was developed using all-purpose flour. If you are gluten-free, a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend may work, though we have not personally tested it.
- Non-dairy milk: Any unsweetened, plain milk like almond milk will work well.
- Panko breadcrumbs: These Japanese breadcrumbs are our favorite to use in eggplant parmesan because panko breadcrumbs are lighter and crispier in texture compared to regular breadcrumbs. If you are making this recipe gluten-free, opt for your favorite gluten-free breadcrumbs of choice.
- Nutritional yeast: Adds an additional cheesiness, as well as B vitamins!
- Fresh basil: Adds a burst of fresh, herbaceous flavor that compliments the rich flavors in the eggplant and tomato sauce.
- Fine mesh strainer or colander
- Mixing bowls
- Whisk or fork
- Wire rack
- Large pan (if frying)
- Baking sheet (if baking)
- 9×13 baking dish
How to Make Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
Prepare the Eggplant
- Sweat the eggplants. Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with salt. Place the slices in a fine mesh strainer or colander, and let the eggplants sweat and remove excess water. After 10 minutes, wipe off the excess moisture and salt and set aside.
- Prepare the breading. While the eggplant slices sweat, prepare the breading. In one medium bowl, combine the flour and non-dairy milk and whisk until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together the panko, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper.
- Bread the eggplant. One at a time, coat each eggplant slice in the flour mixture, followed by the breadcrumb mixture. Once coated, place the batter-coated eggplant slice on a wire rack. Repeat this process until all eggplant slices are breaded in the panko mixture.
Frying Method (Best)
- Heat the frying oil to 350-375F. Fill a large pan with 1-inch of vegetable oil and heat until about 350-375F. To test if your oil is hot enough, toss a piece of panko breadcrumbs in. If it sizzles immediately, the oil is ready.
- Fry each eggplant slice for 2-3 minutes. Working in batches, place the eggplant slices in hot oil and fry each slice for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy.
- Spray the eggplant with oil, and bake. Brush or spray a large baking sheet (use two if needed) with oil, then arrange the breaded eggplant slices on the baking sheet. Spray or drizzle the eggplant slices with additional oil and bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Assemble the Eggplant Parmesan
- Begin layering the eggplant parmesan. Lastly, layer the eggplant parmesan ingredients in a baking dish. First, spread 1 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish.
- Add marinara and cheese. Place a single layer of fried eggplant slices on top of the marinara, then top each eggplant slice with 2 tablespoons of marinara, followed by 2 tablespoons of vegan mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat with remaining ingredients. Repeat with the remaining sliced eggplant, marinara, and cheese, then top with a last layer of vegan parmesan cheese.
- Cover and bake. Cover the baking dish with a layer of parchment paper and foil (this will help the vegan cheese melt), then bake for 25-30 minutes, removing the foil after 15 minutes.
- Serve. Top the final dish with fresh basil and enjoy immediately while warm!
Instead of eggs, the breading is adhered to the eggplant slices with a mixture of flour and plant-based milk.
Salting and sweating the eggplant is highly recommended. Not only does this process help to remove excess moisture from the eggplant, but it also can reduce the bitterness. Just be sure to wipe away the excess moisture with a paper towel instead of rinsing it off, as rinsing it will add moisture right back into the eggplant!
When making eggplant parmesan, it’s important to slice the eggplant into even rounds that are about 1/4″ thick. This ensures the eggplant slices will cook through quickly and become tender and creamy.
Peeling the eggplant is not necessary for vegan eggplant parmigiana. In fact, we like to leave the skin on for added color, texture, and a boost of nutrients. However, the eggplant can be peeled if you prefer a smoother textured dish!
This eggplant parmesan is best served fresh, but leftovers can be stored for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
To reheat, microwave individual servings, or reheat larger portions in the oven, covered, until heated through again (about 20-30 minutes at 350F).
- Choose the best eggplant! Firm, shiny eggplants that have smooth skin free of any blemishes will yield the best flavor. Additionally, use medium eggplants or eggplants on the smaller side – these tend to be less bitter!
- Fry the eggplant slices when possible. Oven-baked eggplant is fine, but for the best, crispy texture we highly recommend frying the eggplant slices.
- Use a mandolin to slice the eggplant. This will help slice the eggplant very thinly and evenly. Alternatively, a food processor fitted with a slicing attachment works well, too!