Would you believe that I've never made eggplant Parmesan? It's literally one of my favorite meals, and probably my go-to splurge meal at an Italian restaurant. So yesterday I decided that today was the day.
I had randomly bought an eggplant at Whole Foods with literally no idea or intentions for what I was going to do with it. I thought about roasting it, eggplant fries, and then it hit me (and by hit me, I mean I saw eggplant parm on Instagram). The delicious, crispy crust and ooey gooey cheesy goodness of eggplant parm was calling my name. I literally thought about it all day. Nearly 12 hours dreaming about this dish that I had never made and that could ultimately be a real F-ing disaster. But I had to give it a whirl.
I don't know how, I guess the food gods were on my side with this one, but it was seriously BOMB. Part of me just cringed at using that word, but there's no other way to describe it. It was crispy, it was cheesy, you can still taste the eggplant, AND it's wayyyyyy better for you than the restaurant version. So let's get right on into it.
Here's What You'll Need:
-1 eggplant, sliced into 1/4-1/2" slices depending on preference (I went with about 1/2", making 10 slices)
-1/2 cup almond flour (I used this one)
-1 cup panko bread crumbs
-3 tbsp shredded parm, separated
-2 eggs, whisked
-2 tbsp olive oil, separated (into 1/2 tbsp increments)
-12 oz marinara sauce or more if desired
-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (I used this one)
-Sea salt and black pepper
1) Season both sides of each piece of eggplant with sea salt and black pepper.
2) Set up your dipping station (near your stove) - (a semi-large, shallow bowl of each) almond flour, 2 whisked eggs, and the panko bread crumbs mixed with 2 tbsp parmesan.
3) In a large oven-friendly pan, heat up 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat.
4) Dip one eggplant slice at a time into the almond flour followed by the eggs followed by the bread crumb Parmesan mixture, coating all sides and edges), and place the eggplant directly into the heated pan.
5) Repeat until the pan is full, cover, and cook for about 3-5 minutes until one side is browned. Flip and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
6) Remove the eggplant pieces onto a cutting board or plate. Add in another 1/2 tbsp olive oil, and repeat until all of the eggplant slices are coated and cooked. This took me about 4 rotations (hence the 2 tbsp of olive oil).
7) Remove the pan from the heat, and pour in enough marinara to cover the bottom.
8) Add in a layer of the coated and cooked eggplant, topping each with a small spoonful of marinara, a sprinkle of mozzarella, and a sprinkle of the remaining parm.
9) Add in another layer of eggplant and repeat.
10) Add any remaining sauce or cheese over the top of the eggplant pieces.
11) Put the entire pan into the oven on broil for about 5-8 minutes until the cheese is melted and starts to turn a slight golden brown.
12) Remove the pan, serve, and enjoy!
I served mine over some cooked garlic zucchini noodles, and it was the perfect pair. Let me know what you think in the comments below! I'd love to hear from you.