Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

vegan eggplant parmesan

 The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 1 casserole
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
243 Calories
11g Fat
29g Carbs
12g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 243
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 453mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 8g 28%
Protein 12g
Calcium 273mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Eggplant parmesan, or parmigiana di melanzane in Italian, is a traditional southern Italian entree that may have originated in Naples. This scrumptious vegan variation uses soy cheese for the cheesy breadcrumb-crusted topping that's a signature of the dish, but you can swap it for nutritional yeast if you like. Most panko is vegan, but make sure to check the brand you're using to confirm.

It is crispy, tender, and slathered in a delicious marinara sauce while still being completely dairy-and egg-free. Serve with pasta, crusty bread, or a green salad for a filling meal. Adults and kids alike will love this dish.

Ingredients

  • For the Eggplant:
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt (divided)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoon ground black pepper (divided)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • For the Marinara Sauce:
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (with basil)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegan Parmesan cheese

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Prepare the Eggplant

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    vegan eggplant parmesan ingredients
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  2. Cut the eggplant into thin rounds about 1/4-inch thick.

    eggplant cut into thin rounds
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  3. Place the rounds onto a cooling rack placed on top of a large baking sheet. Make sure to spread them out into one even layer. Sprinkle them generously with some of the salt. 

    eggplant rounds sprinkled with salt on a baking sheet
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney 
  4. Layer a few layers of paper towels over the top and weigh them down with another baking sheet and a large mixing bowl set on top. Let sit for 15 minutes. This will disgorge the eggplant's bitter juices and will also help them to become crispy. 

  5. Rinse the eggplant slices and let them dry on the same baking sheet lined with fresh paper towels. Weight them down with another baking sheet to speed up the drying process. 

    eggplant slices drying on a baking sheet
    The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  6. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Whisk the flour with some of the salt and pepper in a shallow dish.

    flour and salt and pepper whisked in a bowl
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  7. Whisk the almond milk, flaxseed meal, cornstarch, and some of the salt and pepper in another shallow dish.

    almond milk, corn starch, and flaxseed meal in a bowl whisked together
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney 
  8. Stir together the panko breadcrumbs, oregano, basil, and nutritional yeast in another shallow dish.

    panko bread crumbs and italian seasoning whisked in a bowl
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  9. Dip the dried eggplant slices into the flour mixture and flip to coat both sides. Shake off excess flour.

    eggplant slice dredged in flour
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  10. Then dip in the almond milk mixture and flip to coat both sides. 

    eggplant slice dredged in almond milk mixture
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  11. Finally, dip the eggplant slices into the breadcrumb mixture and flip to coat both sides.

    eggplant slice dredged in panko breadcrumbs
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney 
  12. Heat the olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet or other heavy-bottomed skillet on medium-high heat. Once hot, add a few coated eggplant slices at a time to the hot oil. Cook on each side for 2 minutes or until golden brown.

    eggplant slices fried in a cast iron pan
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney 
  13. Transfer to a cooling rack over a baking sheet and finish crisping in the oven. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices, adding them to the oven as you go.

    eggplant slices baked on a baking sheet
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

Prepare the Sauce and Assemble

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for marinara sauce
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  2. Use the same pan you used for frying. Remove any burnt breadcrumbs but leave the oil behind. Heat on medium heat and add the garlic. Fry until just fragrant.

  3. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and salt and lower the heat to low. Cook for at least 5 minutes or up to an hour.

    marinara sauce cooked in a cast iron pan
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  4. Ladle the sauce in between layers of the crispy eggplant. Top with the vegan parmesan cheese or more nutritional yeast. Enjoy immediately.

    eggplant parmesan served on a plate
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

Recipe Tips

This dish is best served immediately after preparing to keep the crispy texture of the fried eggplant, but you can freeze the fried eggplant rounds after they are initially fried:

  • Freeze them on a baking sheet and then transfer them to a plastic bag. 
  • When you want to eat them, place on a cooling rack over a baking sheet and bake at 425 F for 10 to 15 minutes or until crispy. 
  • Cover with sauce and serve. 
  • If you want to make this dish in advance, just fry the eggplant and wait to bake until right before you are ready to serve.