Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

GFVGVDFNS
Jump to Recipe
Big bowl of linguine noodle topped with marinara and vegan eggplant parmesan

For some reason, eggplant used to intimidate me. Its floppy texture, neutral taste, and seemingly over-involved cooking methods made me think it would be something I’d never master.

I was wrong.

Thinly sliced eggplant on a cutting board

Since getting my hands on my first eggplant last year, it’s become one of my absolute favorite fruits (yes, fruit, even though it’s a vegetable in my book).

Two of my absolute favorite recipes utilizing eggplant have been my Cashew-less Vegan Queso and my Eggplant and Caramelized Onion Dip. It’s neutral flavor helps it absorb flavors extremely well, and depending on how you cook it, its texture is extremely versatile – from super creamy to super crisp.

And in this little gem of a recipe, it’s crispy to the max! Before we dive into the recipe, let’s learn about eggplant parmesan and where it comes from.

Origins of Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant parmesan (or parmigiana di malanzane) is an Italian casserole dish made with fried eggplant slices, tomato sauce, and cheese.

It’s exact origin, however, is hotly debated! Some claim it was invented in Sicily, while others claim it comes from Naples, Puglia, or Calabria. You can read more about its history here.

The following version is not traditional, but a simplified, dairy and egg-free twist that skips the extra step of turning it into a casserole and instead serves the crispy fried eggplant slices with a side of marinara.

Breaded eggplant slices on a baking sheet for making our vegan eggplant parmesan recipe

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite food bloggers, Izy from Top with Cinnamon. It’s straight out of her beautiful new cookbook, Top With Cinnamon.

Although it’s not a vegan cookbook, it has a lot of recipes that can be easily adapted to a vegan diet. And when I laid my eyes on her crispy aubergine pesto pasta, I knew it was the one for me.

Dishes of marinara, pasta, vegan parmesan, and vegan eggplant parmesan for a comforting meal

This recipe took a few tries to get just right sans egg, but I think I’ve done it (simply)!

It requires just 10 ingredients, employs easy methods, and takes a little more than 1 hour from start to finish. It is a little bit more involved than some savory meals I’ve cooked, but it’s one that John and I both love and crave, so it’s worth the extra time and effort!

Plate loaded with noodles, marinara, and vegan eggplant parmesan

I think you guys are going to LOVE this recipe! It’s:

Comforting
Crispy
Warm
Rich
Flavorful
Saucy
Delicious
Satisfying
& Simple!

I knew this recipe was a winner when I served it to John and he literally went back for seconds before I could! I love it when happy meal discoveries like that happen.

More Delicious Eggplant Recipes

If you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it as much as we did! As always, tag us on Instagram with #minimalistbaker or Twitter @minimalistbaker if you do. Cheers!

Plate of Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Pasta for a delicious vegan dinner

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

Simple 10-ingredient vegan parmesan that yields perfectly crispy, savory eggplant that pairs perfectly with red sauce and the pasta of your choice! A healthy filling dinner even picky eaters will love.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Plate of pasta topped with marinara and Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
4.89 from 212 votes
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 2
Course Entrée
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? Best when fresh

Ingredients

EGGPLANT PARMESAN

  • 1 medium eggplant (as narrow as possible)*
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (or other flour of choice – GF for gluten-free eaters)
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (GF for gluten-free eaters)
  • 2 Tbsp vegan parmesan (plus more for serving // or sub 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast per 2 Tbsp vegan parmesan)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or double the amount if using fresh oregano)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (or other neutral milk)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

PASTA + SAUCE

  • 8 ounces pasta (such as linguini, but any kind will do, including veggie noodles or gluten-free)
  • 2 cups marinara sauce

Instructions

  • Slice eggplant into thin rounds slightly less than 1/2 inch thick, and sprinkle each side liberally with sea salt. Arrange in a circular pattern in a colander and place in the sink to draw out the bitter taste of the eggplant.
  • Let rest for 15 minutes, then rinse and arrange on a clean absorbent kitchen towel. Top with another clean dish towel and lay a baking sheet on top. Place something heavy on top, such as a cast iron skillet, to thoroughly dry for at least 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and line a baking sheet with foil and spritz with nonstick spray. Also, if making pasta, bring water to a boil in a large saucepan.
  • Prepare your dipping stations by placing almond milk + cornstarch in one bowl; flour in another bowl; and bread crumbs + sea salt + oregano + vegan parmesan (or nutritional yeast) in another bowl.
  • Once thoroughly dry, dip eggplant slices in flour, then almond milk mixture, then breadcrumbs. Arrange on the baking sheet and pop in oven to bake for a total of 20-30 minutes.
  • IMPORTANT STEP: While the eggplant is in the oven, bring a large skillet to medium heat. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp olive oil (or sub avocado oil // adjust amount if altering default number of servings) and pull 3-4 eggplant rounds out of the oven at a time and sauté to give them extra crisp and texture. Cook for ~2 minutes on each side (or browned) and then return to oven to continue crisping. Do this in batches until all rounds are browned.
  • While eggplant is browning in the oven, prepare marinara. I prefer adding my tomato sauce and spices to a serving bowl and microwaving to warm, but you could also heat it on the stove. Set aside.
  • Once done cooking, drain pasta and cover with a towel to keep warm. Set aside.
  • To serve: Plate pasta and eggplant slices and marinara in a dish as a dipping sauce. Additional vegan parmesan cheese makes an excellent topper.
  • Leftovers don’t really reheat well, so it’s best when fresh. See notes for additional tips on crispy eggplant!

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with whole wheat pasta.
*EGGPLANT TIPS!

– Buy a narrow eggplant – the really big wide ones don’t get as crisp!
– Don’t skip the salt / drain step – it really helps draw out the bitterness.
– Once coated, make sure you get the eggplant in the oven as quickly as possible so it doesn’t sit there absorbing any excess moisture.
*Loosely adapted from the Crispy Aubergine Pesto Pasta from Top with Cinnamon’s new Cookbook!
– Really press down on the eggplant after rinsing to ensure you get all of the water out you can.
– Although it’s an extra step, browning the eggplant in the skillet in addition to baking yields the crispiest result!

Nutrition (1 of 2 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 654 Carbohydrates: 125.7 g Protein: 21.5 g Fat: 11.2 g Saturated Fat: 1.8 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.5 g Monounsaturated Fat: 3.2 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 1455 mg Potassium: 1801 mg Fiber: 20.2 g Sugar: 32.8 g Vitamin A: 332 IU Vitamin C: 36 mg Calcium: 225 mg Iron: 6.2 mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @minimalistbaker on Instagram and hashtag it #minimalistbaker so we can see all the deliciousness!

If you love this recipe...

Get Our Fan Favorites eBook Here!

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment & Rating!

Have a question? Use ctrl+f or ⌘+f on your computer or the "find on page" function on your phone browser to search existing comments! Need help? Check out this tutorial!

My Rating:




  1. Mary Jo says

    Has anyone tried cooking it in the oven, then frying at a later time? Maybe storing it in a single layer? I love this recipe and crispiness really is key, but I would like to make it for guests and don’t want to have to do the other steps while guests are around.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Mary Jo, we haven’t heard of anyone trying that, but it’s possible it could work if you have an air fryer that does a good job of getting things crispy. Let us know if you try it!

  2. Stephanie says

    Made this with zucchini, slicing it in planks. I skipped the salting and went straight to dredging! Excellent!!!

  3. Joan says

    To save time on the day I am cooking the meal, can I prepare the eggplant to and including Step 2 the day ahead? Would I have to add a bit of lemon juice, etc. to keep them from discolouring or just in an airtight container. I have only had store bought eggplant lasagna and am looking forward to making this recipe.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Joan, it would get discolored. We haven’t tried using lemon juice on eggplant, but think it might make it taste acidic because it soaks up liquid so well! You might be better off just skipping step 1! It helps remove a little bitterness, but isn’t 100% essential.

  4. Candace says

    This recipe was great! Very crispy. I suggest adding more salt and some more spices to the panko mixture – maybe some Italian seasoning and more garlic powder. Otherwise – a keeper!

  5. Erin I says

    I’m blown away by how crispy this was. Incredible flavor and texture that really satisfied my craving for Italian comfort food. This will be on repeat in my kitchen!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad it satisfied the craving. Thank you for the lovely review, Erin! xo

  6. Kinsee Walter says

    Is one serving one slice? Or is it half the eggplant. Because it says the recipe makes 2 servings and the nutrition facts are for 1 serving. So I guess I would like to know how many slices in one serving?
    Thank you! I have made this many time and it is delicious! It is saved in my recipe book. I’m just on a diet right now so I need all the serving sizes and stuff. Thanks again

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kinsee, we’re so glad you enjoyed it and excited to hear it made it into your recipe book! Thank you for sharing! We calculated the nutrition as half of the full recipe, so that would be 1/2 eggplant.

  7. Judi says

    This was the best eggplant ever! Takes some time but it was so worth it! My daughter and her husband loved it and even though I can’t have it I did try a very tiny bite! Delicious!

  8. Dan says

    The best I’ve ever had! It was seriously amazing! I can’t wait to make it again for more people. Eggplant was super crisp (thanks to the notes) and so delicious. I didn’t make any modifications or substitutions, and I don’t think I will next time either.

  9. Kim says

    This recipe continues to be my go-to for a weekend dinner. The salting, dredging, and frying is definitely a time suck but is so worth the time. I usually double the eggplant in this recipe to make it extra worth the time/dishes and I know it’ll be all eaten up within days since it’s so good!
    In terms of reheating, the recipe says it doesn’t reheat well but if you reheat in a pan, it’s just as good as when made fresh. In my experience, I don’t even need to oil up the pan because of the residual oil on the eggplant medallions.
    Thanks for a delicious recipe!

  10. Sarah says

    This is one of my favorite recipes! Instead of pan frying, I just put the eggplant in the oven for about 25 minutes then transferred them to an airfryer for a few minutes to crisp them up. It worked great!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! Thank you so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modification, Sarah! xo

  11. Renee says

    This recipe is fabulous! We put the eggplant in the air fryer and it is brilliant. Also, in a zero waste mindset, we mix all of the remaining coating components and bake it with the eggplant and it makes wonderful breadsticks to go with.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Renee. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a star rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo