Hearty and comforting Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan is coated in crispy gluten free breadcrumbs and baked with marinara sauce and cheese. This light and healthy spin on a classic Italian dish makes for a filling and delicious weeknight dinner!
There’s no questioning that eggplant parmesan is a classic Italian meal. Tender eggplant slices are breaded and fried before they’re drenched in layers of fresh marinara sauce and loads of cheese. All baked together in one dish, the finished result is crispy, creamy, and so comforting!
This Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan is just as good, if not better than the classic. It’s made with simple vegetarian ingredients and gluten free breadcrumbs so you can serve it as a healthy and light weeknight dinner or for date night.
While I’m a huge fan of the gluten free version, transforming this eggplant parmesan recipe into a keto or vegan version isn’t at all difficult! With a few simple substitutions and including delicious sides next to each serving (Creamy Polenta is my favorite), you end up with the most cheesy and comforting dinner.
Eggplant parmesan ingredients
- Eggplant - Look for an eggplant that’s vibrant in color and slightly firm to the touch.
- Eggs - You’ll need these to dredge the eggplant slices so the breadcrumbs stick.
- Gluten free breadcrumbs - Make your own by toasting gluten free bread and crushing them into fine crumbs. Storebought work just as well and will make the recipe extra easy!
- Marinara sauce - Use your favorite recipe or buy a jar from the grocery store if you’re in a hurry.
- Cheese - I made this with dairy free vegan shredded cheese to lighten it up but you’re welcome to use mozzarella cheese, parmesan, or a mix of the two.
- Oregano - For a classic Italian kick. Basil, garlic salt, thyme, and rosemary can also be added if desired.
How to make gluten and dairy free eggplant parmesan
Step 1: Slice the eggplant into equal size rounds and season with salt and ground black pepper.
Step 2: Beat the eggs together in a shallow dish. Pour the gluten free breadcrumbs into another bowl.
Step 3: Bread each eggplant slice by first coating it in the beaten egg and then the gluten free breadcrumbs. Set aside.
Step 4: Fry the breaded eggplant rounds one at a time in a skillet with oil.
Step 5: Add a layer of fried eggplant slices to a casserole dish coated in olive oil and a bit of marinara sauce. Top this layer with additional marinara, a handful of shredded cheese, and a pinch of oregano. Repeat until you run out of eggplant.
Step 6: Bake the gluten free eggplant parm until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with fresh parsley, serve, and enjoy!
Tips and substitutions
- Avoid buying eggplants that are too mushy or too hard. The best eggplant will be slightly firm to the touch.
- Try turning your plain breadcrumbs into Italian-style breadcrumbs by seasoning them with dried parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
- If you feel like your breading isn’t sticking very well, pat the eggplant slices dry with paper towels before dipping them in the eggs and breadcrumbs.
Eggplant parmesan is traditionally served on its own or with a side of pasta and extra marinara sauce. For an Italian-inspired gluten free dinner, serve the slices of gluten free baked eggplant over brown rice pasta, spaghetti squash, quinoa, polenta, or bean pasta noodles. A vegetable salad and balsamic roasted beets would be so delicious on the side!
Frequently asked questions
How do you prepare eggplant for eggplant parmesan?
Give your eggplant a good wash before slicing it into half-inch thick rounds with a sharp knife. If you don’t like the texture of cooked eggplant skin, feel free to peel it before slicing.
Raw eggplant is also quite bitter. To improve the flavor, let the slices “sweat” by sprinkling each round with salt, let them sit for an hour, then dry them really well with paper towels. This step is optional but will help the eggplant parm taste its best!
Is this keto-friendly?
To make keto eggplant parmesan, simply swap the breadcrumbs for grated parmesan cheese or storebought keto breadcrumbs. In addition, you’ll want to make sure that your marinara sauce has no added sugar.
Can this be made vegan?
Easily! Instead of dredging the slices in eggs, replace them with soy milk or another plant milk. Top it off with your favorite vegan cheese shreds and enjoy!
Can eggplant parm be made ahead of time?
Yes! Simply prepare your eggplant parm as normal. Bread, fry, and layer the eggplant between marinara, cheese, and oregano. Cover the assembled eggplant parm with foil and refrigerate for up to 1 day before baking. Add 10 minutes to the cook time if baking straight out of the fridge.
How do you store eggplant parmesan?
You can store leftover eggplant parmesan in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a preheated oven.
Looking for more comforting weeknight dinners?
- Oven Roasted Beef Brisket
- Mushroom Wild Rice Soup
- Creamy Keto Tuscan Salmon Skillet
- Lazy Day Beef Pot Pie
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan
- 1 large eggplant
- 6 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
- 32 oz marinara sauce
- ⅓ cup shedded vegan cheese* for dairy-free
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Start by slicing the eggplant into equal size rounds. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
- Beat the eggs and transfer to a shallow dish. Also pour the gluten-free breadcrumbs onto a shalllow dish. Set aside.
- Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet.
- Dip eggplant slices one by one in egg and then breadcrumbs, dip both sides, then fry in skillet until light brown. As you move through the slices of eggplant add more oil to the skillet, as the oil will dry up quickly. You will use up to 2-3 tablespoon of olive oil in the process.
- Prepare a baking dish by adding 2 tablespoon olive oil and about ¼ of the marinara sauce to the bottom of the dish. This will prevent the eggplant from stick to the bottom of baking dish.
- As the eggplant slices are lightly browned, transfer them to prepared baking dish. After each layer of eggplant add more marinara sauce, a handful of shredded cheese* (use vegan cheese for vegetarian) and a pinch of dried oregano. Do this until you have used all the eggplant slices.
- Baking eggplant parmesan at 400F for 30 minutes. Garnish wth fresh parsley and serve.