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Baked Eggplant Parmesan (No-Fry) with Fresh Tomatoes

5 from 7 community reviews

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My baked eggplant Parmesan with melty mozzarella and marinara sauce is NOT like grandma’s traditional eggplant Parmigiana! Instead, my lightened-up eggplant Parm is baked instead of fried, and it’s topped off with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese. The crunchy baked eggplant is dipped in egg whites, coated in panko crumbs instead of breadcrumbs, and baked until golden and crispy.

A white enamel baking pan with breaded baked eggplant in tomato sauce with fresh tomato salad and mozzarella topping.

The old-school dish, with those layers of gooey mozzarella cheese, fried eggplant and hearty red marinara sauce is hunger-inducing, for sure. It’s also a shining example of Italian peasant cooking  — make the most of what you’ve got, even if what you’ve got is just some vegetables, cheese and stale bread.

A white enamel baking pan with breaded baked eggplant in tomato sauce with fresh tomato salad and mozzarella topping.

I remember watching my mom make it, and it seemed like quite the production. First, she prepared the eggplant by peeling, slicing, salting, draining and then breading it.

Next she set up her electric frying pan on the kitchen table and waited for the oil to get hot. She fried the eggplant in multiple batches, followed by a thorough paper-towel blotting.

Finally, the fried slices were put into a baking dish, covered with the cheese and sauce before baking. It seemed like forever before we could dig in!

A white enamel baking pan with breaded baked eggplant in tomato sauce with fresh tomato salad and mozzarella topping.

Plus, all that frying and cheese can feel pretty heavy. My lightened-up version will satisfy cravings for Italian comfort food, minus the fussy preparation.

This is a great low-carb option for a vegetarian main course, loaded with flavor and easy to make.

My tips for making baked eggplant parmesan:

  • Choose small, firm eggplants. I love the striated purple and white Graffitti variety — they’re meaty and sweet with little to no seeds.
  • Put your fresh mozzarella in the freezer for about 30 minutes before prepping to ensure nice, even slices.
  • Use your favorite prepared tomato sauce or homemade marinara sauce.
  • Egg whites help the seasoning and crumbs adhere, eliminating a heavier, flour-and-egg batter.
  • Preheat the sheet pan. It will keep the eggplant from absorbing too much oil and helps brown and crisp the coating.
baked eggplant topped with mozzarella and tomato basil salad

Baked Eggplant Parmesan (No-Fry) with Fresh Tomatoes

Karen Tedesco
My baked eggplant Parmesan with melty mozzarella and marinara sauce is NOT like grandma's traditional eggplant Parmigiana! Instead, my lightened-up eggplant Parm is baked instead of fried, and it's topped off with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese. The crunchy baked eggplant is dipped in egg whites, coated in panko crumbs instead of breadcrumbs, and baked until golden and crispy.
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5 from 7 community reviews
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Vegetables
Cuisine Vegetarian
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 small eggplant such as Graffiti variety, 1 ¼ pounds
  • 2 (60 ml) egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons crumbled dried oregano
  • teaspoons fine sea salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (120 g) panko breadcrumbs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups (475 ml) marinara sauce
  • ¼ pound (50 g) fresh mozzarella, sliced into half-moons
  • ½ cup (50 g) fresh parmesan cheese

Garnish

  • 1 pint (300 g) cherry tomatoes, in mixed colors if available, halved or quartered
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Handful fresh basil leaves

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 (220 C) degrees. Have a large rimmed rectangular sheet pan and a large baking dish ready.
  • Peel the eggplant, or partially peel, leaving stripes of skin here and there. Slice into ¼ inch-thick circles.
  • Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with the oregano, salt and pepper. Put the panko crumbs in another large bowl or shallow pan. 
  • In 2 or 3 batches, dip the eggplant slices in the egg white mixture so that they’re evenly coated, then add to the bowl with the crumbs, tossing around to make sure the crumbs adhere.
  • Put the empty sheet pan in the oven for 7 minutes (it will start smoking). Remove from the oven (with oven mitts) and pour enough oil in the pan to a depth of 1/4-inch, about 1/2 cup of oil.
  • Immediately arrange the eggplant on the hot pan. Bake for 7 minutes, then turn the pieces over and bake another 5 minutes or until they’re nicely golden on the other side. 
  • Reduce oven temperature to 375 (190 C) degrees. Put the marinara sauce in a large baking dish, then add the eggplant to the dish. Distribute both cheeses over the eggplant and bake 15 minutes.
  • Toss the cherry tomatoes with 1 tablespoon extra olive oil, the vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Tear the basil leaves into strips and gently toss with the tomatoes. Spoon the tomatoes over the baked eggplant and serve.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • Choose small, firm eggplants if possible. I love the striated purple and white Graffitti variety — they’re meaty and sweet with little to no seeds.
  • Put your fresh mozzarella in the freezer for about 30 minutes before prepping to ensure nice, even slices.
  • Egg whites help the seasoning and crumbs adhere, eliminating a heavier, flour-and-egg batter.
  • Preheat the sheet pan. It will keep the eggplant from absorbing too much oil and helps brown and crisp the coating.

Nutrition

Calories: 231kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 745mg | Potassium: 711mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 965IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 272mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest
Recipe developer Karen Tedesco of the popular website Familystyle Food in her kitchen making a kale salad.

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

5 from 7 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Karen!I just happened upon your site and I love your content. Very inspiring! I have a question about baking the eggplant. Do you think instead of pouring the olive oil into the preheated baking dish, I could spritz the slices with an olive oil mister or cooking spray and then place them on the preheated pan?

    1. Kiki – Thanks for your question! Yes, you can try that method, although keep in mind the coating may not turn out as crisp and brown. I recommend using an olive oil mister rather than cooking spray, and giving each slice a generous coating. Arrange them on a sheet pan lined with foil or parchment so they don’t stick. Let us know how it turns out!