This eggplant parmesan has all the deliciousness of classic eggplant parmesan but it’s way healthier. It’s made with baked (not fried) eggplant, a delicious homemade tomato sauce, and a generous topping of of spinach.
Eggplant parmesan is one of the world’s most delicious comforting dishes, a vegetarian casserole of eggplant layered with tomato sauce and cheeses. This healthier baked eggplant parmesan recipe has a rich thick tomato sauce, deliciously spiced with basil, garlic, oregano and thyme. Because the eggplant is baked – not fried – feel free to go back for seconds or even thirds!
The sauce in this eggplant parmigiana is thicker than average and works beautifully to hold everything together deliciously. When possible, I recommend you use authentic San Marzano tomatoes for making tomato sauce. They are grown in a region of southern Italy that has rich volcanic soil and produces, in my opinion, the absolute best tomatoes for sauce. These tomatoes are so prized that the Italian government had to create a seal of authenticity to protect the “San Marzano” name from impostors, who try to use the name to increase sales of their tomato sauce. If you can’t find San Marzano tomatoes, organic tomatoes are the next best choice.
How to Make No Fry Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- Bread the Eggplant: Dip eggplant slices in low-fat milk, then into seasoned Panko bread crumbs
- Bake the Eggplant: Arrange the breaded eggplant on baking sheets and bake for 25-30 minutes in a 375ºF oven.
- Make The Sauce: While the eggplant is baking, make the tomato sauce: sauté chopped onions, add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, honey and spices, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add chopped garlic and simmer 10 minutes more. simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
- Assemble the casserole and Bake: ladle a thin layer of sauce into the bottom of the casserole. Arrange half the eggplant on top, then half the mozzarella cheese, then half of the remaining sauce, the rest of the eggplant, half of remaining mozzarella cheese, then the rest of the sauce. Place little piles of spinach on top of the casserole. Sprinkle on the rest of the mozzarella and all of the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 40 minutes until the casserole is steaming hot and the cheese is melted.
What to serve with Baked Eggplant Parmesan
My favorite salad to serve with this is Italy’s famous Insalta Tricolore, an all-around fantastic salad with an exciting trio of lettuces and a vibrant vinaigrette. Another delicious side dish for eggplant parmesan is Julia Child’s sautéed shredded zucchini.
Other Delicious Eggplant Recipes to Try
- Grilled Harissa Chicken Rice Bowl with Glazed Eggplant
- Eggplant Parmesan Stacks
- No Noodle Eggplant Lasagna
It is worth noting where this no fry eggplant parmesan recipe originated. I adapted it from a recipe in The Moosewood cookbook, a vegetarian cookbook that was first published in 1977 and has become an American Classic. It’s listed by the New York Times as one of the top ten best-selling cookbooks of all times. I’m usually so busy exploring new cookbooks that I don’t think to revisit the old ones. This one is going back into my kitchen bookcase!
Here’s the recipe for no fry baked eggplant parmesan. If you try this I hope you’ll come back to leave a rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you think!Print
No Fry Eggplant Parmigiana
Light and delicious no-fry eggplant parmesan with a thick rich tomato sauce, chopped spinach, and mozzarella cheese
Adapted from a recipe in The Moosewood Cookbook
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
- Yield: 8 1x
- Category: Casserole
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Italian
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheets, a 9 x 14 x 2 inch casserole
For The Eggplant
- 2 Medium eggplants, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 2 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ cup low-fat milk
- Oil for lightly coating the baking sheet
For The Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano is best)
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 16-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (I recommend Parmigiana Reggiano)
- Preheat oven to 375º F. Lightly oil baking sheets. In a medium sized bowl combine bread crumbs (2½ cups) and spices: basil (1 teaspoon), oregano (½ teaspoon), and thyme (½ teaspoon). Pour milk (¾ cup) into a small bowl. Create an assembly line where you first dip an eggplant slice into the milk, then press it into the crumbs on both sides, then set it on a baking sheet. Repeat with all the eggplant slices. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. (keep the oven hot)
- While the eggplant is baking, make the sauce. heat oil (2 tablespoons) in a large cooking pot or dutch oven oven medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook for about 8 minutes until very soft and starting to brown. Stir in dried spices: basil (2 tablespoons), oregano (1 tablespoon), thyme (1 tablespoon), and salt (1 teaspoon). Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and honey (1 tablespoon). Cook sauce at a simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Add chopped garlic and simmer 10 minutes longer. Remove from heat. The sauce will be thick.
- To assemble the casserole, ladle a thin layer of sauce into the bottom of the casserole. Arrange half the eggplant on top. Sprinkle on ⅓ of the shredded mozzarella. Add half of remaining sauce (because the sauce it thick, you might have to gently spread it with a knife, as if you are frosting a cake, to avoid smearing the cheese and crumbs around). Add the rest of the eggplant, then half of remaining mozzarella cheese, then the rest of the sauce. Place little piles of spinach, evenly spaced over the top of the casserole. Season with a little salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the rest of the mozzarella and all of the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 40 minutes until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Slice and serve and enjoy!
Keywords: lighter eggplant parmesan, healthier eggplant parmesan, baked eggplant parmesan