I shared a recipe for eggplant parmesan once before, but this way is simpler—still time consuming—and absolutely decadent. I could eat the whole pan by myself! I use a combination of vegan mozzarella and dairy mozzarella to make this dish uber delicious, while still trying to keep it “plant-based.” And I don’t use ricotta or any other vegetables, like mushrooms or spinach, simply because I don’t think it needs it. I do, however, make as many layers as possible and highly suggest you do too.
The key to making this turn out so well is, well, it’s the process. If you cut corners and don’t do all the steps, it will not turn out as crispy and lovely and decadent as it should.
About the sauce and the tomatoes. Yes, what you use really does make a difference. Nothing against the typical store-bought options, but trust me on this one, you need to up your game and spring for a flavorful (probably more expensive) sauce—or make it yourself. And yes, the tomatoes HAVE to be Italian-style whole. They’re just more flavorful and have a better consistency.
And just remember, when you decide to make this, do yourself (and your taste buds) a favor and donate the amount of time needed. It’s well worth it : )
PREP TIME: 1 hour | COOK TIME: 1 hour
- 3 medium-sized eggplants, sliced into ½ inch pieces
- Rock salt
- 2-3 cups fine bread crumbs
- 1 16 oz can whole Italian-style plum tomatoes, roughly cut
- ½ to 1 cup red sauce
- 1-2 cups plant-based mozzarella, shredded
- 1 ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
- 4 TBS garlic, minced
- Olive oil for cooking
Slice eggplant and place in a shallow dish, covering the pieces well with the salt. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. While the eggplant is resting, roughly chop the tomatoes, reserving the liquid and set aside. After 30 minutes, rinse the eggplant and gently pat dry. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour bread crumbs into bowl. Brush eggplant slices with very small amount of olive oil, coat with breadcrumbs and bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, flipping one time half way through. Remove from oven and set aside. In the bottom of your baking dish, place a small amount of red sauce, then you’re ready to begin layering. Start with a layer of baked eggplant, sprinkle just a few tablespoons of the vegan mozzarella onto each slice, sprinkle some basil and garlic, then add 1-2 tablespoons of the cut Italian-style tomatoes and their juice on top. Repeat this process until you have at least 4 layers. On the last layer, top with a few slices of the sliced mozzarella. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees. If the cheese is getting too browned, place tinfoil over the top being sure to “tent” it so it doesn’t stick to the cheese. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!