Traditional eggplant parmigiana - the way a true Tuscan makes! Seriously, this recipe is the one that we made in a cooking class in Tuscany last year and I am so excited to share this recipe with you! Unlike the American version of Eggplant Parmesan, the authentic version is actually a healthy, low-carb option, with no bread crumbs or frying! And coming from an Italian family, this is honestly the BEST eggplant parmesan I have ever had!
Last year we had the AMAZING first time opportunity to travel to Italy. Specifically Venice, Tuscany, and Rome. I will say that Tuscany ended up being my new favorite place on Earth. Breath-takingly gorgeous views of endless rolling hills. You honestly couldn't tell where the earth stopped and Heaven began. Drop-dead-gorgeous. Then in addition to the beauty of this place, there was the FOOD. So tasty and so unbelievably simple. No fancy equipment needed. Just high quality ingredients and a love to be in the kitchen.
We took a cooking class with our agriturismo's family's son Marcello (who is a chef and wine sommelier) and it was one of the BEST experiences. We made a four course meal consisting of: tiramisu, eggplant parmesan, Italian Pot Roast with roasted pumpkin, homemade fettucine, and bolgonese. Marcello has kindly allowed me to use his recipes on the blog! So without further ado, I give you the BEST Eggplant Parmigiana!
Follow my tips to make the BEST Eggplant Parm of your life! Also see my other Italian inspired recipes at the bottom of this post! Plus my Venice Travel Blog Post!
Why You Will Love this Eggplant Parmesan
🖤 It's Authentic - Made in a Tuscan style of thinly sliced eggplant slices, a small amount of sauce, no bread crumbs, and a lot of parmesan cheese. This literally is the best eggplant parm I have ever had!
🖤 It's HEALTHY - the American version of this dish got it all wrong. Ours is greasy and covered in bread crumbs. Fried Eggplant Tasty? Yes. But IMO too much fried-ness to it. I love that this recipe is pretty much layers of fresh eggplant, herbs, and cheese. Plus less oil.
🖤 So SIMPLE - With literally only 4 ingredients why not make this traditional Italian dish loved by millions?!?!
🖤 Feeds the Family - This is such a wholesome (and filling) dish feeds a crowd and I love to serve with a simple house salad makes this a perfect meal!
Authentic Baked Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe Ingredients
- eggplant - try to find smaller ripe eggplants. The bigger the eggplant (the larger the seeds are) which retains too much moisture. We want less seeds to have the driest eggplant slices possible. Also, bigger eggplants can yield a more bitter taste. (We actually got to PICK our own italian eggplants in Tuscany for this dish).
- parmesan cheese - Don't you DARE buy the pre-shredded kind! I am telling you that the 2 minutes it takes to grate your own parmigiano cheese is SO worth it! The nutty sharp flavor is KEY to this dish. Also, you can save the rind to add to soups like my Pasta e Fagioli soup!
- pasta sauce - Use your favorite homemade or store bought sauce here. If I don't have my homemade sauce on hand, I LOVE Rao's sauce.
- extra virgin olive oil - just a drizzle in between every THIRD layer of eggplant plus a small amount to gently pan fry the eggplant slices.
How to make the BEST Eggplant Parmigiana
Ok, so here's is the deal. This is a layering game. Once you get into the flow, it becomes second nature. But TRUST ME. This is so so worth it!
First, slice the eggplant THIN. Like as thin and even as possible.
Lay the eggplant slices in a single layer on paper towels and sprinkle each side with a pinch of salt. This helps extract water in the eggplant. The drier we get this eggplant the less mushy texture we will have in the end! DRY EGGPLANT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING HERE. We do not want too much liquid to form as the eggplant layers cook.
Once you see water droplets form on top of the eggplant, dab the excess water with the paper towels. Cook the eggplant slices in batches in a little olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. They should be very lightly browned.
Let's Build the Eggplant Parmigiana:
Start by pouring a few tablespoons of marinara sauce (or your favorite pasta sauce) in the bottom of a baking dish.
Then form the layers: lay the eggplant slices in a single layer, pour a SMALL AMOUNT of pasta sauce on each eggplant slice,sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and some basil leaves.
Proceed by adding one layer after the other placing ingredients in this order. With every THIRD layer adding a little olive oil.
Go on like this until you reach the last layer of eggplant, which you are going to season, once again, with the sauce and more parmesan cheese (as much as you like, for it to form a crust during the cooking).
Bake the Parmigiana at 200°C or 400 degrees f in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes.
Once cooked, let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
I truly hope you know this is a recipe of LOVE. And know that you will be obsessed with it and make it over and over (like we have). 💜
Made this classic italian dish and loved it? I would SO appreciate a star rating and review in the comments section below! I also love feedback and any variations you try with my recipes! THANK YOU so much for stopping by to my little corner of the internet! I SO APPRECIATE YOU!
Other Recipes You Might Like
- Sheet Pan Italian Meatballs
- Italian Caprese Salad with Crispy Prosciutto
- Whole30 Plant Based Bolognese
- The BEST Gluten Free Pepperoni Pizza
- Meat Lover's Pizza Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
The BEST Authentic Eggplant Parmigiana
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
- 2 small eggplants, sliced very thin
- ½-¾ cup of Pasta Sauce
- ½ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Basil to taste
- Extra-virgin olive oil to taste ( I used 1 tbs in the layering process and about 2 tbs in the browning process)
- Black pepper to taste
- Dried Oregano to taste
- Fine salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Start by slicing the eggplant into ¼ inch thickness.
- Salt the eggplant slices and let them rest until they have released all the water, then dry them off with a cloth or paper towel and cook them by pan-frying them with a drizzle of oil in batches until all slices have been browned.
- Let’s build the parmigiana: Start by pouring a few tablespoons of the sauce into a baking dish.
- Then form the layers: lay the eggplant slices, pour in the pasta sauce, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and some basil leaves and a pinch of dried oregano. Proceed by adding one layer after the other placing ingredients in this order. Go on like this until you reach the last layer of eggplant, which you are going to season, once again, with the sauce and more parmesan cheese (as much as you like, for it to form a crust during the cooking)
- Bake the Parmigiana at 200°C or 400 degrees F in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Once cooked, let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: traditional eggplant parmigiana, eggplant parmesan, healthy eggplant parmesan, low carb
I love the authentic approach to this recipe! This recipe is a new favorite at my house!
Made this tonight! The whole family LOVED this recipe! Will be making again.
Will never make eggplant Parmesan the same way again after this recipe. It was INCREDIBLE. Will be making again forever