Not only is this eggplant Parmesan gluten-free, it’s also one of the best you’ll ever taste and easiest you’ll ever make. Why? Because there’s no coating with bread crumbs or frying. And without all the gluten gumming up the sauce, the dish has a concentrated, rich flavor.
This gluten-free eggplant Parmesan is just as rich, cheesy, and scrumptious as any gluten-full rendition we’ve had. Even better, it takes less fuss and makes less of a mess since the recipe roasts, rather than fries, the eggplant. The result is a deeply concentrated eggplant flavor that stands up to being baked with homemade marinara and two cheeses until knee-wobblingly bubbly and golden brown. It may just usurp your usual eggplant Parmesan recipe.–Angie Zoobkoff
Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan
- Quick Glance
- 1 H
- 2 H
- Serves 6 to 8
- For the tomato sauce
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
- 1 white onion, roughly chopped
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds, 3 ounces fresh cherry tomatoes or fresh tomatoes on the vine OR 2 pounds, 10 ounces (1.2 kg) canned whole plum tomatoes, undrained
- 1 sprig basil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, or more to taste (optional)
- For the gluten-free eggplant Parmesan
- 3 to 4 pounds eggplant*, preferably slender Chinese eggplants
- 3 1/2 ounces (scant 1/2 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 9 ounces fresh cow’s milk mozzarella, drained and cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) cubes
- 3 1/2 ounces (about 1 cup) Parmesan, finely grated
- 20 basil leaves
- Make the tomato sauce
- 1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Toss in the carrot, celery, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 7 to 10 minutes.
- 2. Add the tomatoes (including a few of the stalks if using fresh tomatoes), basil, salt, and pepper to the saucepan, cover, and cook over medium heat. Stir frequently, bashing the tomatoes with a potato masher, a fork, or the back of a spoon to break them up. Bring to a boil, remove the lid, and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook the tomato sauce until thickened, 20 to 40 minutes.
- 3. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary, adding a teaspoon or so of sugar if the tomato sauce tastes a touch too acidic. Remove and discard the basil and stalks, if using. If desired, use an immersion blender to blend the sauce to a smooth, velvety consistency. You should have about 4 1/4 cups tomato sauce.
- Make the eggplant casserole
- 4. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- 5. Trim the ends from the eggplants. Cut each eggplant lengthways into slices or crosswise into circles that are 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. Brush the eggplant slices with the olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper on both sides. Place them in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast until tender throughout and perhaps lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 350ºF (180ºC).
- 6. Pour 1/4 of the tomato sauce (about 1 cup) in an ovenproof 9-by-13-inch baking dish (23-by-33-cm) and layer with 1/4 of the eggplant slices. Top with 1/4 of the mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil leaves. Repeat 3 more times, finishing with the two cheeses. Bake in the oven until bubbly and golden, 45 to 50 minutes.
- 7. Let your eggplant Parmesan cool slightly before scooping it and serving it and watching it disappear rather frighteningly quickly.
*What Kind Of Eggplant To Use?
- When we make this gluten-free eggplant Parmesan, we prefer to opt for Chinese eggplants, which are paler in color and more slender rather than the typical dark purple, oblong football-size eggplant at the grocery store for several reasons. Chinese eggplants tend to have super tender skin and are slightly less bitter than typical tough-skinned eggplants. This recipe doesn’t call for you to peel the eggplant or it to draw out any bitterness, which saves you a lot of time and fuss in the kitchen. If all you can find are typical eggplants, go ahead and use them here, but keep in mind if it has a relatively thick skin you may wish to peel it. And if you keep the peel on, if you’re cutting the eggplant lengthwise, discard the end slices that are mostly eggplant peel.