This gluten free Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is the perfect healthy vegetarian Italian comfort food! It's made with marinara and cheese.
Eggplant Parmesan is a classic vegetarian dish consisting of crispy baked eggplant slices, marinara sauce, and Parmesan cheese. It's healthy, comforting, and downright delicious.
There are few dishes that represent late summer for me - Stuffed peppers, homemade spaghetti sauce, vegetable lasagna, and Eggplant Parmesan. Every year as soon as August rolls around I start dreaming about this stuff.
Eggplant is interesting because its so meaty in texture - Carnivores won't even miss the meat in this dish!
Normally, we pluck a few eggplants from the garden and start whipping up our favorite eggplant dishes come August but not this year.
The local deer have annihilated our garden not once, not twice, but THREE times. If it flowered in our garden this summer the deer ate it and that's WITH a deer fence. Local deer = 1. Rooney/Asche household = 0.
- Do I Need To Salt The Eggplant?
- Do I Need To Peel The Eggplant?
- How To Make Eggplant Parmesan Without Frying
- Bake The Eggplant Slices In The Oven
- How To Make Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- How Long Does Eggplant Parm Take To Bake?
- What To Serve With Eggplant Parmesan
- Can Eggplant Be Reheated?
- How Long Does It Last In The Fridge?
- Can Eggplant Parmesan Be Frozen?
- Baked Eggplant Parmesan (Gluten Free)
Luckily we were able to snag a few eggplants from the grocery store and the traditional late summer dish was prepared.
I remember being intimidated the first time I made this dish but was pleasantly surprised to learn how easy it is to make.
- The first step is to cut 2 large eggplants into slices. Try to make sure the slices are of uniform thickness so they cook evenly.
- Place the eggplant slices on a dish towel or a paper towel.
- Sprinkle the eggplant slices with some salt and let them sit for 30 minutes or so.
Do I Need To Salt The Eggplant?
Salting the eggplant draws out any excess moisture and removes any bitter flavor. The result is eggplant that is crispy instead of soggy.
You don't need a lot of salt - Just sprinkle a little on one side and let it sit for at least 15 minutes, flip them over and repeat on the other side.
Feel free to let them sit longer if you like. Once you can see the droplets of water on the surface pat them dry with a towel or paper towel.
Do I Need To Peel The Eggplant?
No, you do not need to peel the eggplant - I find that the eggplant skin provides a nice texture in this dish.
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How To Make Eggplant Parmesan Without Frying
The next step is to toss them in a breadcrumb coating. This is a 3-step process consisting of dipping the eggplant slices into flour, then eggs, and finally into a bowl of spiced breadcrumbs.
The coating becomes crisp as the eggplant bakes and gives it that characteristic texture.
- Add 1 ½ cups gluten free flour blend (use regular AP flour if not GF) in one bowl, 4 eggs in a second bowl, and 2 cups of gluten free breadcrumbs (use regular breadcrumbs if not GF) in a third along with 3 tsp. garlic powder, 3 tsp. of Italian seasoning, ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper.
- Whisk the eggs with a fork and toss the spices into the breadcrumbs.
- Dip each slice of eggplant first into the flour, then the eggs, and finally into the breadcrumbs. Each side of the eggplant should be coated.
- Repeat with the remaining eggplant. (Yes, this is a bit time-consuming but I PROMISE you its worth your time).
I use this process to make everything from Baked Walleye Fingers to Crispy Air Fryer Mushrooms to Air Fryer Shrimp and it works great every time!
Bake The Eggplant Slices In The Oven
- The next step is to place the eggplant slices on a well-oiled baking sheet.
- Simply brush 2 baking sheets with olive oil or spray them with cooking spray.
- Arrange the breaded eggplant slices on the baking sheets and place them in an oven that has been heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Roast the eggplant for 10 minutes, flip the eggplant slices over, and then roast for another 10 minutes on the other side.
- The olive oil on the baking sheet will help to crisp the breadcrumbs and release the flavor of the garlic powder and seasonings. You can fry the eggplant in a pan on the stove top or even deep fry them but I have found that baking them is faster and healthier than frying them.
- Remove the pans after 20 minutes and set aside.
How To Make Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Now the Baked Eggplant Parmesan will start to look like Eggplant Parmesan. The eggplant gets layered in a casserole dish along with some sauce and cheese.
I prepared this recipe in a 7x11 inch glass baking dish. You can use a larger baking dish if you like but I found that everything fit in this one.
- Start by pouring some marinara sauce into the bottom of the dish. Feel free to use a 24 oz. jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce.
- Place a layer of eggplant slices on top of the sauce and then sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on top of that. You can use as much or as little cheese as you like.
- Place another layer of eggplant, sauce, and cheese in the pan (the process is much like making lasagna).
- Repeat until all of the eggplant and sauce is in there. The pan will be full but that's OK.
If you're feeling very ambitious you can prepare a batch of homemade spaghetti sauce but I find that jarred marinara sauce works just fine.
How Long Does Eggplant Parm Take To Bake?
- Cover the pan with tinfoil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove the tinfoil, sprinkle a layer of Parmesan cheese on top, and place the pan in the oven for another 5 minutes.
- You can adjust the cheese levels to your liking. I don't go too crazy with the cheese because I like the flavor of the eggplant to shine through but if you want to go wild with the cheese I say go for it. It is Eggplant Parmesan after all!
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
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What To Serve With Eggplant Parmesan
I like to eat Baked Eggplant Parmesan alongside some pasta. This is entirely optional but this is how I've always done it.
Simply prepare a package of your favorite gluten free pasta noodles (use regular pasta noodles if not GF) according the package instructions.
You can also serve it with some zoodles (zucchini noodles) or any type of veggie noodles if you'd like to keep it lighter.
Feel free to garnish the dish with extra Parmesan cheese and minced basil.
A fresh salad like this Minty Pea Salad, Marinated Tomato Salad, Balsamic Green Bean Salad, or Pickled Beet Salad is always a great side dish to serve with Italian dishes.
A light crunchy salad is a nice complement to the rich marinara sauce.
Love vegetarian dishes? Check out these recipes!
- Lemon Pea Risotto
- Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake
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- Mushroom Olive Pasta
- Cauliflower Tomato Pasta
- Spinach Basil Spaghetti Sauce
- Gluten Free Stuffed Peppers
Can Eggplant Be Reheated?
This dish makes for great leftovers! Simply cover the pan with foil and keep in the fridge for a few days if reheating.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees, add a little water to the bottom of the pan, cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes or so or until the dish is warm.
How Long Does It Last In The Fridge?
Leftovers should last 2-3 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Be sure to allow the eggplant parmesan to cool completely before transferring to the fridge for storage.
Can Eggplant Parmesan Be Frozen?
How To Freeze
- Prepare the recipe as directed and assemble but do not bake it.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap, followed by foil.
- Label with the date and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How To Reheat
- When ready to bake, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator.
- Remove plastic wrap and bake according to recipe instructions.
I find myself going back for another plate, then another, then another. It can get painful (in a good way).
If you like Eggplant Parmesan you'll love this Skillet Chicken Parmesan!
For more vegetarian meals check out these BBQ Sweet Potatoes and Kohlrabi Schnitzel!
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Baked Eggplant Parmesan (Gluten Free)
- 2 large eggplants
- 1 ½ cups gluten free flour blend or regular AP flour if not GF
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups gluten free breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs if not GF
- 3 tsp. garlic powder
- 3 tsp. Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 24 oz. jar marinara sauce
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese adjust to taste
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese adjust to taste
- ½ cup fresh basil
- 1 package gluten free pasta noodles optional
- Cut 2 large eggplants into slices. Make sure the slices are of uniform thickness to ensure that they cook evenly.
- Place the eggplant slices on a towel or on paper towels. Sprinkle one side with a little salt and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes. Flip the eggplant slices over, sprinkle with more salt, and allow to sit for at least another 15 minutes. Pat the eggplant dry with a towel after 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place 1 ½ cups gluten free flour blend (or regular AP flour if not GF) in one bowl, 4 eggs in a second bowl, and 2 cups of gluten free breadcrumbs (or regular breadcrumbs if not GF) along with 3 tsp. garlic powder, 3 tsp. Italian seasoning, ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper in a third bowl. Whisk the eggs with a fork and stir the spices into the breadcrumbs.
- Dip each eggplant slice into the flour, then the egg, and then the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat until all the eggplant is coated.
- Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray or brush them with generously with olive oil. Arrange the coated eggplant slices onto the baking sheets.
- Place the baking sheets in the oven and roast the eggplant for 10 minutes on one side. Flip the eggplant slices over and roast for another 10 minutes on the other side. Remove the pans from the oven and set aside.
- Pour a small amount of marinara sauce into the bottom of a 7x11 inch baking dish. Place a layer of eggplant slices and desired amount of mozzarella cheese on top. Repeat with another layer of eggplant, sauce, and cheese. Repeat until all of the eggplant and sauce is layered in the pan.
- Cover the pan with tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, sprinkle with desired amount of Parmesan cheese, and bake for another 5 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Prepare 1 package of pasta noodles according to package instructions and drain (optional).
- Mince ½ cup (or more) fresh basil and sprinkle over the top of the Eggplant Parmesan.
- Serve the Eggplant Parmesan alongside noodles (if desired).
oooo... too many deer! It always sucks when they get the good stuff. We had too many tomatoes taken this year, but we got lot's of eggplant from our CSA, so we have been making a similar dish all summer. I will try your take on it next! Thanks for sharing Christine!
Nice that you have a CSA as a backup! The deer have been just ruthless this summer - Hopefully we can build a better fence next year. Enjoy the Eggplant Parmesan!
I was eyeballing an eggplant at the produce store the other day and thinking eggplant Parmesan. The problem is as a single I try to find foods that will freeze well and put them in single serving freezer bags.. Then they have to thaw and bake up again well. Otherwise I'd be eating the same dish for lunch and dinner several days running! I'm not sure eggplant can reheat again nicely. But this looks like a great recipe!
This recipe is so good! Other eggplant parmesan dishes that I have had tend to be greasy and heavy but this one is perfect! I made my own marinara sauce and would recommend using about 36 oz of sauce. My husband loves this dish so much!
Hi Jackie - I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it! I've made eggplant parmesan baked and in a skillet and the baked version is definitely lighter. I love that you used homemade marinara sauce - I'm going to try that out next summer!
Can this be made ahead Do you rated for a few hours prior to baking?
Hi Bonnie - This dish has a two-step baking process: The eggplant slices are coated in egg and breadcrumbs and baked and then layered in a casserole dish with marinara and cheese and then baked again. I would recommend baking the eggplant slices once they are coated but once they're baked and layered in the dish it should be fine in the fridge before baking again. So, I would say you wanted to halfway prepare it before work, keep it in the fridge, and then come home and finish baking that should be fine. 🙂
Hello, if I make a big batch, do you think it would be ok to portion and freeze leftovers?
Hi Anna - Freezing should be just fine! I would prepare the recipe as directed and assemble but do not bake it. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, followed by foil. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator. Remove plastic wrap and bake according to recipe instructions. Let me know if you try it! 🙂