Tasty and authentic in flavor, this vegan Eggplant Parmesan has crispy layers of eggplant baked in layers of marinara and vegan cheese. It is a dish to savor, love and remember. This recipe also freezes easily, making it the perfect make-ahead dish. You can also make it gluten-free.
There's no vegetable quite as delicious as eggplant, and if you don't believe me, you have to try this vegan eggplant moussaka and this Sri Lankan eggplant curry. Vegan eggplant parmesan is yet another amazing dish I love to make with this versatile veggie.
Eggplant is truly incredible in this vegan eggplant parmigiana. If you know someone who doesn't love eggplant, this is the recipe to make them change their mind.
One of the things I love about this vegan eggplant parmesan recipe is that it is eminently freezable, so it's a great meal to make ahead and stash away for another day.
My recipe doesn't veer too far from a traditional Italian eggplant parmigiana but because I wanted to make this more nutritious, I added more veggies and some veggie meat crumbles to the marinara. You can also just make this with my easy, five-ingredient vegan marinara, cut out the veggies and meatless crumbles, and it would be even easier and differently delicious. To keep this really, really healthy, I also don't fry the eggplant slices--instead I bake them into crispy, golden deliciousness.
How to make the best vegan eggplant parmesan
- You need about 1.75 pounds of Italian eggplants for this vegan eggplant parmigiana recipe. The kind you buy will decide how much work you have to do. A bigger eggplant and bigger slices will mean less slicing and dredging, but the skin on these is usually tough and you might want to peel them first. On the other hand, smaller eggplants, which you don't have to peel, will yield many more slices and since you have to pay individual attention to each, it will mean more time. Eggplant skin has valuable anthocyanins, compounds that have potent disease-fighting capabilities, so keep that in mind when you decide what eggplant to buy and whether to peel or not.
- You don't need to fry the eggplant slices for this recipe. Instead, after dredging with flaxmeal and breadcrumbs, you bake them, oil-free, on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat sheet. This keeps the recipe really healthy.
- The marinara I used in this recipe is a little more dressed-up than my usual marinara, because I wanted to pack in more veggies and the meat crumbles. But like I said above, you can definitely skip the extras and just use the basic marinara. Your recipe will still be extremely healthy.
- I used two kinds of vegan cheeses in this recipe: one is my own cashew parm, which is really tasty and really healthy. I also used vegan mozzarella. You can skip storebought and go with a cashew sauce like I use in this vegan manicotti recipe. It's made with beans and will make you recipe even healthier.
- You can freeze this dish after you assemble it and before you bake. Cover tightly with cling wrap. Bring back to room temperature and bake.
Serving suggestions for vegan eggplant parmesan
This is a complete meal by itself, but a crusty Italian or French bread drizzled with olive oil works great for a side.
If you really want to dress it up, serve it with a fresh side salad.
Looking for more vegan Italian recipes?
- Vegan Manicotti with Spinach and Bean Ricotta
- Vegan Pumpkin Spinach Lasagna
- Vegan Alfredo Sauce with Mushrooms
- Vegan Asparagus Risotto
- Classic Vegan Lasagna
Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
- 1.75 pounds Italian eggplants (around 3-4 medium, cut into ¼th inch slices)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 7 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 small onion (finely chopped)
- 2 stalks celery (finely chopped)
- 1 large carrot (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 8 oz meatless crumbles (or use any vegan sausage)
- ¼ cup red wine (optional)
- 28 oz canned tomatoes (roma or San Marzano are great, but use any you have on hand)
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 12 oz vegan mozzarella shreds
- 1 cup vegan parmesan cheese
For dredging the eggplant slices:
- 2 tablespoon flaxmeal
- 1 teaspoon tapioca starch
- ¾ cup water
- 2 cups breadcrumbs (panko are great, but use any you have. For a gluten-free version, use gf breadcrumbs)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Place the sliced eggplants in a colander, sprinkle on a little salt, mix and let the eggplants stand about 15 minutes until they express some of their moisture. Rinse and pat dry with towels.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the breadcrumbs in a dish or baking pan. Season with oregano, salt and pepper.
- In another baking pan or dish, mix the flaxmeal, tapioca starch and water. Mix well and let it stand a few minutes to thicken.
- Prepare two or three baking sheets (depending on how many slices you have) by lining them with parchment paper or silpat sheets.
- Dip each eggplant slice in the flaxmeal mixture, then dredge with breadcrumbs, shake to remove any excess, and place on the baking sheet. Repeat for all slices.
- Bake on the lowest shelf of a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, flipping the slices over halfway through baking.
- While the eggplant is baking, make the marinara. Heat the oil in a wide skillet or saucepan, add the garlic and the onions, season with salt and pepper, and saute until the onions are soft.
- Add the celery and carrots and oregano and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are semi-tender. Add the meatless crumbles, stir to mix, then add the wine, if using.
- Once the wine cooks out, in about a couple of minutes, add the tomatoes along with a cup of water. Mix well, bring to a boil, and let the sauce cook another 15 minutes.
Assemble the parmigiana:
- Lower oven heat to 350 degrees.
- Take a 13 by 9 inch baking dish. Place one-fourth of the marinara in it and spread to cover. Layer on one third of the baked eggplant slices, followed by one third of the vegan parm and one-third of the vegan mozzarella. Continue layering, ending with the parm and mozzarella.
- Place in the oven and bake 30-35 minutes until the cheese has melted and is golden and the sides are bubbling.
- Let stand a few minutes before serving.