When I first made this recipe I was shocked to discover: Eggplant Parmesan does not have to be breaded and fried. In fact, roasted Eggplant Parmesan is easier, healthier and possibly more delicious than the deep-fried variety. When dinner comes together with ease, it tastes better than something that requires time, effort, and a vat of hot oil. Home cooks, wouldn’t you agree?
Roasted Eggplant Parmesan With Zucchini
Loaded with creamy layers of vegetables suspended in store-bought marinara sauce, Roasted Eggplant Parmesan with Zucchini is a spectacular vegetarian main. Top it off with melty cheese and crispy breadcrumbs for mouthwatering meat-free meal. This is the way I want to eat now. I want vegetables seasoned heavily and lovingly, served lavishly, and occasionally enhanced with cheese.
This recipe cuts out the difficult steps of Italian-American Eggplant Parmesan to create a lighter version that lasts for leftovers and serves a variety of diets. If you’re lactose-intolerant, swap out the mozzarella for 4 ounces of goat cheese. Parmesan and goat cheese do not have lactose in them, so the entire recipe will be safe to eat. The result is less gooey and more creamy, with that distinct goat cheese tang. It’ll be different, but it’ll be delicious.
Let’s make Roasted Eggplant Parmesan
Toss eggplant and zucchini with olive oil and salt. Roast until custardy and golden brown.
Layer the vegetables with jarred marinara sauce, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese.
Top with breadcrumbs, then roast until the inside is bubbling and the outside is golden brown and crisp.
Roasted Eggplant Parmesan With Zucchini
- 2 pounds eggplant (about 1 large), sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
- 1 pound zucchini (about 3-4 small) sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs or panko
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 28-ounce jar marinara sauce
- 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shedded or torn into teaspoon-sized pieces
- Preheat the oven to 425℉. Lay the eggplant and zucchini in one layer on 2-3 sheet pans. It's important to give them enough room so that they roast, rather than steam. Drizzle everything with olive oil, season with salt. Be sure to use plenty of olive oil on the eggplant, it can absorb a lot. Taste a zucchini and adjust seasoning as needed. Roast for 25-35 minutes until the vegetables are very tender and browned.
- Meanwhile, make the breadcrumb topping. Mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley, 1/3 cup of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Set aside.
- Spread a third of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish (anything from 2-4qt will work, I used a 9x13" roasting pan). Arrange half of the eggplant on top in one layer, followed by a third of the Parmesan. Repeat with another third of the marinara sauce, followed by the remaining eggplant and another third of Parmesan. Top with remaining third of marinara sauce.
- Top with the zucchini slices, remaining third of Parmesan and all of the mozzarella. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over everything.
- Roast uncovered for 25-35 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
- Freezer Instructions: You can make this ahead through Step 4, cover with plastic wrap and tin foil, and freeze. When ready to bake, remove tin foil and plastic wrap and transfer straight to the pre-heated oven. Cook until bubbling and golden brown, about 10 minutes longer than the suggested cooking time.
- Fresh breadcrumbs really elevate this dish and aren't hard to make. Simply pulse a couple slices of your favorite bread in a food processor until small crumbs are formed. To make this lactose-free, replace the mozzarella with goat cheese or feta cheese.
- Try a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo with dark fruit flavors and good acidity to match the marinara sauce. This type of red is light enough that it won't overpower the vegetable, but it has enough weight to stand up to the heartiness of this dish.