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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

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Get a taste of Italy with this easy vegan eggplant parmesan dish. This delicious recipe only requires about an hour of your time, making it the perfect weeknight meal. Layers of tasty plant based cheese, marinara, oven fried eggplant, and fresh basil come together for an easy and healthy dinner. There is nothing to be missed in this eggplant parm without breadcrumbs!

Slice of vegan eggplant parmesan served on a white plate with a fork.

Eggplant parmesan, or parmigiana di melanzane, is an Italian classic casserole dish native to southern Italy. This vegan version has all the delicious flavors and Italian herbs, but is more inclusive to any dietary restrictions. This dairy free eggplant parm is an easy meal that the whole family will love! 

I love Italian food, and I have always wanted to try a vegan gluten free eggplant parmesan. However, when looking up a recipe for vegan eggplant parmesan online they all seemed complicated and hard to follow. I decided to try out my own version, with no eggs and no breadcrumbs. It is easy, straight forward, and cuts down on steps!

The best part? This tastes just like restaurant eggplant parmesan but is low carb, lightened up and much better for you! Traditional eggplant parm will run you upwards of 800 calories and 35 grams of fat per serving. But one giant serving of this recipe has only about 300 calories and 19 grams of fat per serving!

That’s because instead of breading and frying the eggplant slices, we bake them in the oven to make them nice and crispy. That way, you get all of the great texture while still keeping this eggplant parm with no egg good for you, without compromising on flavor!

As far as side dishes, you can serve this vegan air fryer garlic bread, this roasted cauliflower salad, or this roasted broccoli and potatoes!

If you love this healthy eggplant parmesan without breadcrumbs, you might want to check out my other eggplant recipes like this aubergine curry and thai basil eggplant too!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Vegan and gluten-free
  • The perfect non breaded eggplant parm
  • Delicious Italian flavors
  • No egg and no frying needed
  • Easy to make
  • Perfect for leftovers
  • Best vegan eggplant parmesan recipe!

Latest Recipe Video!

🥘 Ingredients

This easy eggplant parmesan without breadcrumbs only requires a few simple ingredients. Grab everything from your local grocery store!

Ingredients for healthy vegan eggplant parmesan recipe with no breadcrumbs on a white background.
  • Eggplant: You will want to use 2 large eggplants or 3 medium eggplants for this vegan eggplant parm recipe. Choose an eggplant that has shiny and smooth skin, and is a bright, vibrant purple color. If the eggplant has wrinkled or dull skin, it’s probably too old. Pick an eggplant that’s slightly firm to the touch – not one that feels mushy or soft.
  • Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is the best choice for this vegan aubergine parmigiana. You’ll use it to help get your eggplant slices nice and crispy in the oven, without needing to deep fry them.
  • Salt & Pepper: Essential for flavor! Black pepper and sea salt will enhance the flavors in this vegan eggplant parmesan with no breadcrumbs. You can also use himalayan pink salt or kosher salt.
  • Vegan Cheese: Use vegan mozzarella cheese and vegan parmesan cheese on top of the layers of tomato sauce and eggplant. Try to find a brand that melts well, like Daiya or Follow Your Heart. For extra creaminess you can add in a vegan cheese sauce too. Blend soaked cashews with nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon salt, onion powder, garlic powder, almond milk, and a dash of lemon juice.
  • Marinara Sauce: Using a good quality marinara sauce is important in this vegan baked eggplant parmesan recipe. Make sure the sauce is thicker and not too runny, as that will result in a watery casserole.
  • Fresh Parsley Or Basil: Fresh herbs add so much dimension to a dish like this dairy free eggplant parmesan. You can top the dish with chopped or whole leaves – or mix the herbs into the sauce.

🔪 Instructions

You might think that making crispy baked eggplant parmesan is a lot of work, but when you break it up step by step it is much easier than you think!

Preheat The Oven, Season Eggplant: Set the oven to 390 degrees F / 200 C. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. If you are using a block of cheese, grate the cheese and set aside in a small bowl. Lightly brush the eggplant slices with oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. 

Eggplant slices brushed with olive oil on a baking sheet.

Let Eggplant Cool: Remove the eggplant slices from the oven and allow to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 338 degrees F / 170 C.

Roasted eggplant slices on a baking sheet.

Assemble The Vegan Eggplant Parmesan: Using a large baking dish, spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of the dish, cover with a single layer of cooked eggplant. Cover the eggplant layer with a light coating of marinara sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Eggplant slices and marinara sauce layered in a baking dish.

Repeat: Continue these steps until all pasta sauce, eggplant and parmesan cheese has been used up with the last layer on top being marinara sauce. Cover the top layer of marinara sauce with remaining parmesan and mozzarella cheese. 

Eggplant slices and marinara sauce layered in a baking dish.

Bake: Bake the vegan eggplant parmigiana for 20 minutes or until the top layer of cheese is a lovely golden brown. If you find the cheese is browning too quickly, cover with a sheet of foil.

Vegan aubergine parmigiana topped with vegan mozzarella ready to be baked.

Cool and Serve: Allow this no breading eggplant parmesan to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, chives or torn basil leaves. Slice and serve as your main dish with a favorite salad, steamed vegetables or garlic bread.

Vegan eggplant parmesan without breadcrumbs served in a baking dish garnished with fresh basil.

💭 Expert Tips

  • For best eggplant results, slice the eggplants evenly into ¼ inch slices to help with consistency when cooking. Also, don’t forget to salt the eggplant before roasting it! This will cut down on bitterness and will help make the eggplant more crispy when you bake it (since salting the eggplant removes a lot of the water content).
  • To make this extra cheesy you can add additional mozzarella cheese in between each layer. However, this will increase the calories and fat content per serving.
  • Baking the eggplant before assembling the dish is important so be sure to not skip this step! 
  • Allow this healthy baked eggplant parmesan to rest after cooking to prevent it from being watery and too sloppy when slicing and serving.
  • For a vegetarian eggplant parmesan, make sure to use low moisture mozzarella cheese and not fresh mozzarella as the water content is too high for this dish. 
  • Ensure the marinara sauce isn’t too watery as this will result in a less enjoyable, watery vegan eggplant parmesan bake. 
  • Make in small batches. If you are making this eggless eggplant parmesan for a smaller household, you can cut the recipe in half.

📖 Variations

  • Substitutes For Eggplant: For a light eggplant parm style dish, you can swap the eggplant for other veggies like zucchini or yellow squash. To avoid excess water, salt the squash first and let sit for 15-30 minutes in a colander. You can then use a paper towel to absorb any remaining moisture before following the rest of the directions in this recipe.
  • Vegan Breaded Eggplant Parmesan: It can be hard to find a breaded eggplant parmesan without eggs in restaurants. By making it from scratch you’ll get the perfect vegan breading for eggplant. Use a flax egg or tapioca starch for your egg substitute. Dip eggplant slices into whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour blend, coat with vegan egg, and follow with breadcrumbs. You can use panko breadcrumbs or whatever breadcrumb mixture you’d like. This will be the best vegan panko eggplant ever!
  • Gluten Free Vegan Eggplant Parmesan: This recipe is already naturally gluten free, but if you’re looking for a gluten-free breaded version it is easy to do! Swap the white flour for almond flour, chickpea flour, or another gluten-free flour option. Use gluten-free bread crumbs. 
  • Spicy Eggplant Parm: Spice things up with your vegan eggplant dish by adding red pepper flakes, cayenne, or calabrian chili peppers. If you are using breadcrumbs, add spice to the mixture for a spicy crumbed eggplant parmigiana vegan version. 
  • Pesto Eggplant Parm: Instead of using marinara, try this vegan parmigiana with pesto sauce! Make sure that the pesto you use is vegan, or make your own homemade sauce if you have extra fresh basil on hand.
  • Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich: Try this tasty vegan aubergine parmesan in sandwich form! Toast the bread over medium heat on the stove top for the ultimate sub!

🧊 How To Store

Let the vegan parmesan eggplant cool to room temperature and transfer to an airtight container. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

You can reheat leftovers in the microwave or the oven. To heat in the microwave – place in a microwave safe dish and warm for 1-2 minutes until heated through. If microwaving from frozen, use your microwave’s defrost setting to heat up the dish. To reheat in the oven, place the vegan eggplant parmesan in an oven safe dish, cover it with foil, and bake for 10 minutes at 340 degrees F / 170 C until hot.

Note: You can wrap any unused eggplant in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge, as well. Keep extra marinara in the jar and use next time a recipe calls for sauce!

❓Recipe FAQs

Is eggplant parm vegan?

Eggplant parmesan is not traditionally a vegan dish. It is typically made with grated parmesan and fresh mozzarella, and a bread crumb mixture that requires milk and eggs. This vegan eggplant recipe uses vegan mozzarella cheese and vegan parmesan cheese.

What can I substitute for eggs in eggplant parmesan?

You can skip the eggs entirely for an unbreaded eggplant parmesan. If you do want breaded eggplant, use a flax egg by combining 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp water. Let sit for a few minutes to form a thicker, gooey consistency. Other substitute options include tapioca starch, a light coat of vegan mayo, or plant-based milk.

Why do you soak eggplant before cooking?

Soaking the slices in water with salt does two things: 1) it removes some of the natural bitterness of the eggplant, and 2) it helps in the cooking process to make your eggplant less greasy. Use a paper towel to remove excess water after soaking.

Eggplant is like a sponge so when you apply oil to unsoaked eggplant it will absorb it and you will need much more oil. By soaking the eggplant before cooking you cut down on oil and will have less greasy eggplant pieces. This is especially important if you choose to do fried eggplant slices. If you want an even crispier eggplant and “deep fried” feel, I recommend using an air fryer to cut down on grease and give you a crispy eggplant.

Should eggplant be peeled for eggplant parmesan?

No! You do not need to peel the eggplant for this plant based eggplant parm. The skin softens as it bakes and is a very delicious part of the vegetable. It also adds even more nutrients to this healthy eggplant dish! Save yourself the time and effort, and leave the skin on!

Why is my eggplant parm mushy?

Your eggplant can get mushy for a few reasons. Be sure to not use too much oil, and make sure to salt your eggplant to help draw out its natural moisture. Each slice of eggplant only needs a little bit of oil on both sides. If you do not bake your eggplant before assembling, or if you do not bake for long enough, there might still be moisture in the eggplant. This can result in a mushy vegan eggplant parmesan.

Vegan eggplant parmesan without breadcrumbs served on a white plate garnished with fresh herbs.

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🎥 Watch How to Make It

https://youtu.be/kkKeSUYZzzo
Slice of vegan eggplant parmesan served on a white plate with a fork.
Print Recipe
5 from 17 votes

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

Get a taste of Italy with this vegan eggplant parmesan dish. This delicious recipe only requires about an hour of your time, making it the perfect weeknight meal. Layers of tasty plant based cheese, marinara, baked eggplant, and fresh basil come together for an easy and healthy dinner. There is nothing to be missed in this eggplant parm without breadcrumbs!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Cooling Time10 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 273kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplant sliced
  • cup olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup vegan mozzarella cheese grated (can also use regular mozzarella if you don't need this to be vegan)
  • 1 cup vegan parmesan cheese grated (can also use regular parmesan if you don't need this to be vegan)
  • 4 cups marinara sauce
  • Fresh parsley or basil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 390 degrees F / 200 C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Lightly brush the eggplant slices with oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the eggplant slices from the oven and allow to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 338 degrees F / 170 C.
  • To assemble the eggplant parmesan: Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce over the base of a deep 8×8 inch baking dish, cover with a layer of cooked eggplant.
  • Cover the eggplant layer with a light coating of marinara sauce and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese.
  • Repeat until all marinara sauce, eggplant and parmesan cheese has been used up with the final layer on top being marinara sauce.
  • Cover the top layer of marinara sauce with remaining parmesan and vegan mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the top layer of cheese is a lovely golden brown. If you find the cheese is browning too quickly cover with a sheet of foil.
  • Allow the eggplant parmesan to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, chives or torn basil leaves.
  • Slice and serve with your favorite salad, steamed vegetables or garlic bread.

Notes

  • For best eggplant results, slice the eggplants evenly into ¼ inch slices to help with consistency when cooking. Also, don’t forget to salt the eggplant before roasting it! This will cut down on bitterness and will help make the eggplant more crispy when you bake it (since salting the eggplant removes a lot of the water content).
  • To make this extra cheesy you can add additional mozzarella cheese in between each layer. However, this will increase the calories and fat content per serving.
  • Baking the eggplant before assembling the dish is important so be sure to not skip this step!
  • Allow the eggplant parmesan to rest after cooking to prevent it from being watery and too sloppy when slicing and serving.
  • For a vegetarian eggplant parmesan, make sure to use low moisture mozzarella cheese and not fresh mozzarella as the water content is too high for this dish.
  • Ensure the marinara sauce isn’t too watery as this will result in a less enjoyable, liquidy vegan eggplant parmesan bake.
  • Make in small batches. If you are making this eggless eggplant parmesan for a smaller household, you can cut the recipe in half.

Nutrition

Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 1154mg | Potassium: 835mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 11g
This low-carb, healthy eggplant parmesan is a lightened up version of the classic Italian dish. Made without breadcrumbs, each slice is low in calories and low in fat, without compromising on flavor.
This low-carb, healthy eggplant parmesan is a lightened up version of the classic Italian dish. Made without breadcrumbs, each slice is low in calories and low in fat, without compromising on flavor.

43 responses to “Vegan Eggplant Parmesan”

    • Hi Phil! I haven’t tried freezing it before cooking, only after – but it’s worth a shot! What I’d do is assemble everything in the baking dish, cover it tightly so you don’t get any freezer burn, and freeze it. When you’re ready to eat it, remove it from the freezer and place it in the fridge overnight to thaw. Then bake it the next day. You will probably have to adjust the baking time slightly, so I would just start checking for doneness once the top layer of the cheese has melted. Hope that helps!

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