How to Make Eggplant Parmigiana

Eggplant parmigiana is an old fashioned feel good meal. It makes a great side dish but can also be served as the main course for vegetarians, along with a side dish such as rice, garlic bread & salad or pasta. Garnished with extra basil leaves, parmesan or maybe a little lemon wedge, this dish is ideal at any time of year. Serves 4 as a main dish or 5 or 6 as a side dish.


  • 4 small eggplant (about 15cm in length). Choose smaller ones that have a purple blush to them as they will be less seedy and bitter. Black ones have passed optimal ripeness and tend to have more seeds.
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic.
  • 2T combined of mixed chopped herbs (basil, parsley, thyme and oregano are good choices) 1 t dried mixed herbs is an OK substitute.
  • 1/2 onion very finely chopped.
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper & 1 t table sugar.
  • 150g grated fresh parmesan
  • 150g sliced mozzarella or bocconcini
  • 1 T extra chopped fresh basil.
  • Optional extra: 2 cups bechamel sauce


  1. Image titled Make Eggplant Parmigiana Step 1
    Make your tomato sauce. Fry your chopped onion and garlic in a little olive oil, when soft add the tinned tomato and 1 tablespoon of the chopped mixed herbs. Season with salt and pepper and the 1 teaspoon sugar. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until no longer watery. You can always cook it longer if you want a thick sauce. Taste for seasoning with salt and pepper and adjust as required.
  2. Image titled Make Eggplant Parmigiana Step 2
    Preheat your griller / broiler or BBQ and thinly slice your eggplant in about 12 centimeter (0.2 in) or less slices. Lay on a biscuit tray lined with baking paper and brush lightly with a little oil.
  3. Image titled Make Eggplant Parmigiana Step 3
    Grill each side of the eggplant for 2-3 minutes or until golden. You can fry these in a pan or a BBQ, but that can be add to the workload and takes time. If your griller is part of the oven keep it hot to 200C, or preheat oven to the same.
  4. Image titled Make Eggplant Parmigiana Step 4
    In a casserole dish, spoon a little of the sauce at the bottom. Only about 2-3 tablespoons is needed, just to prevent the base from drying out and to add flavour consistently through the dish.
  5. Image titled Make Eggplant Parmigiana Step 5
    Layer 1/3 of the eggplant along the base. Top with 1/3 of the sauce, 1/3rd chopped extra basil and 1/3rd of the cheeses. Add 1/3rd of the optional bechamel if you made it. Bechamel makes it creamier and slightly cheesier in flavour, but as some recipes have it and some don't its not a traditional "must have" ingredient.
    • You can do this in three main ways, firstly layer the eggplant as you would lasagne sheets to make even layers, secondly to build small columns of eggplant slices and thirdly to make a single layer with all slices on a 45 degree angle. The first method is the easiest, where the second and third methods are nicer for presentation. It doesn't really affect cooking time or flavour, so the method is very flexible.
  6. Image titled Make Eggplant Parmigiana Step 6
    Keep building layers of eggplant, sauces, herbs, cheese until you get to the top layer ingredient, which should be cheese.
  7. Image titled Make Eggplant Parmigiana Step 7
    Bake for approx 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
  8. Image titled Make Eggplant Parmigiana Step 8
    Serve right away.


  • You can cheat and use premade pasta sauces, it doesn't taste quite as good but it does make it a lot easier.
  • This is more an adult type meal as the bitter flavour of eggplant is an acquired taste that adults seem to favour more than children.
  • Extra ingredients can be grilled capsicum / bell pepper, spinach leaves and olives, or even pasta as a big eggplant lasagne but these are not traditional in eggplant parmigiana.
  • Use a sharp knife or clean kitchen scissors to cut through the eggplant for easier portioning and serving. Eggplant dishes can be tricky to serve if you want that nice golden cheese to stay on top.

Things You'll Need

  • Chopping board & knife.
  • 1 medium saucepan
  • Baking tray, lined with baking paper.
  • Basting brush
  • Casserole dish - approx 20 x 25cm and 6 centimeter (2.4 in) deep is a good size.
  • Serving utensils.

Article Info

Categories: Vegetarian