This authentic Italian Baked Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe is like no other. It’s full of flavor because it’s made with a tasty homemade meat sauce, Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses and delicious freshly homemade fried eggplant. It’s an old family specialty recipe passed down through the generations…right down to me!
When I say “authentic Italian” recipe, I mean straight from Italy. This recipe has not been “Americanized.” You know what I mean, right? So many Americanized Italian recipes are made with sugary tomato sauces, processed meatballs, etc. Well, this recipe is the real deal!
It’s from-scratch and it’s damn good! My mother, God rest her soul, would be so proud of me. She was an excellent cook and thankfully, I inherited her cooking skills.
This recipe is tried and true. Anyone who’s had it, loves it! It is one of my husband’s favorite dishes. He looks forward to coming home to this Eggplant Parmigiana casserole.
Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe
To make this incredible tasting Eggplant Parmesan you need to:
- Make the meat sauce from my Spinach and Beef No Boil Lasagna recipe.
- Make fried eggplant.
- Layer fried eggplant with cheese and meat sauce.
- Bake the casserole.
This Eggplant Parmesan recipe took me two hours from beginning to end and it is so worth the time and effort! This is the kind of dish you make on the weekends, double the batch and freeze one of the casseroles.
Can you use jarred sauce to make this eggplant parm recipe? Sure! But, I highly suggest you make this meat sauce instead. It’ll give this Eggplant Parmesan casserole the flavor it rightfully deserves!
To make the meat sauce, you just cut up onion, mince garlic and throw it in a pot with canned tomato sauce, oil, parsley and ground beef. Cook it for one hour. It’s so easy to make! Try it! You won’t be disappointed.
Note: there will be more than enough sauce to make this casserole which is intended for those that like a lot of sauce. If you want extra sauce than mentioned in the recipe, you’ll need a bigger casserole dish for baking or it’ll likely overflow in your oven.
Can you use a marinara sauce in this recipe? Sure but, the meat sauce really defines it. You’re the cook so if you want to make it vegetarian, I’m not going to talk you out of it.
Can you use bread crumbs instead of flour to make this recipe? I use flour because it helps the egg to adhere to the eggplant so, I although it can be done, it’s easier to use flour.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means, if you make a purchase, I’ll receive a very small commission which helps with blog expenses so you can continue to receive FREE recipes but, the price you pay is the same.
Do you have to peel eggplant before you cook it?
No, the peel doesn’t detract from the flavor of the eggplant nor does it remove itself from the vegetable flesh as do peppers need to be removed unless you don’t like it. It’s faster and easier clean up not to peel the eggplant.
Should I salt eggplant before frying?
Although you don’t HAVE to, it is better to salt eggplant. Salting eggplant and letting it sit for 10-15 minutes will allow the bitter juices to “sweat” out.
How do you get the bitterness out of eggplant?
Salting the eggplant will remove the bitter juices from the eggplant. The steps to do this are below.
How do you cure eggplant before cooking?
As mentioned above, cut the eggplant into 1/4″ thickness round pieces, salt it and let it sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the bitter juices to “sweat” out. You’ll see little puddles of brown water form on top of the eggplant as pictured below. You don’t need to wipe it off.
Can Eggplant Parmesan be frozen?
Yes, Eggplant Parmesan can be frozen. It’ll still taste good too. Just make sure to cover it tightly. Use it as quickly as you can because it will lose flavor the longer it is frozen. Using it within three months of freezing it is best.
What do I serve with Eggplant Parmesan?
- garden salad
- garlic bread
- bread rolls
- broccoli, green beans or asparagus
Are you ready to start cooking yet? You can make this delicious from-scratch Eggplant Parm in just two hours! It’s a wonderful casserole to make for holiday dinners and special occasions. It freezes well so, it’s a good dish to make ahead for parties.
I took this recipe to Meal Plan Monday and Weekend Potluck.
Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe
- 6 oz shredded Parmesan cheese
- 16 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 54 oz canned tomato sauce or puree
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup cup of chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
Italian Fried Eggplant
- 2 Italian eggplants or 1 large eggplant
- 4 eggs, beaten You may need up to 6 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- First, make meat sauce. In a large sauce pan, add extra virgin olive oil, chopped onion and garlic and cook for a minute.
- Then, add ground beef and cook until the beef is browned. Add canned tomato sauce or puree. Add fresh parsley. Stir it and let it cook for about an hour. Stir it every 10 minutes so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile, make the fried eggplant. First, wash the eggplant and dry them. Then, cut eggplant into 1/4 inch thick round pieces with a serrated knife.
- Next, salt one side of the eggplant to sweat out the brown, bitter juice. It will take 10-15 minutes. Note: You don't have to remove the brown juice before frying.
- Then, set up the dredging station: Dip the eggplant in flour, followed by beaten eggs.
- Next, fry the dipped eggplant in canola, corn or olive oil heated to about 365 degrees. Drain on paper towel-lined platter.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Next, add about 3/4 cup of meat sauce to the bottom of a 13"x 9"x 3" casserole dish.
- Then, add fried eggplant to cover the casserole dish allowing them to overlap on the edges. You should have about 9 pieces or so.
- Next, add half each of the shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
- Then, add about one cup of meat sauce. Use a slotted spoon so that most of the sauce drains into the pot before adding it to the casserole. (NOTE: if you like a lot of sauce, don't use a slotted spoon and you may need a bigger casserole dish.)
- Repeat steps 9-11 for the next and final layer.
- Next, bake the casserole uncovered in oven at 350F for 30 minutes. Once removed from oven, allow the casserole to sit 10 minutes before cutting.
Joanne Schweitzer says
No. You can just use a paper towel to pat them.
Should eggplant slices be rinsed after sweating?
Joanne Schweitzer says
Ah the nostalgia! Thanks for the 5 star rating!
Ronald Leone says
Just like my grandmother made.
I peal the skin off eggplant.