Garden Fresh Eggplant Parmesan

I am a huge fan of really well prepared eggplant parmesan, but unfortunately much of the time when I order it out, it is quite dreadful. Many times this traditional Italian dish is heavy, very greasy, over sauced, and overburdened with cheese. Personally, I like my eggplant parmesan to be light, fresh tasting, and with just enough cheese to hold it together.

I prefer to simply grill or broil my eggplant slices instead of breading them and frying them in oil which really allows the flavor of the eggplant to shine and keeps the dish nice and light. To me this dish is exactly what Italian food should be….simple, fresh, seasonal ingredients put together in a way that brings everything together.

This is my summer version that I call Garden Fresh Eggplant Parmesan because I layer grilled eggplant slices picked that morning from my garden with a fresh tasting tomato sauce. The sauce is made from ripe garden tomatoes also just picked that morning along with fresh basil from my herb garden.

I use just a little of both grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheese to help bring everything together, then just bake it long enough for the sauce to bubble between the layers of tender eggplant and blend the flavors. This dish freezes well so I often make an extra one to enjoy later in the season, and it reheats beautifully the next day.

I do not feel the need to peel my eggplant, but feel free to do so if you prefer. If I know my eggplant is fresh, I also skip the step of salting it as well. If concerned that your eggplant may be bitter, simply layer the slices with some salt, place in a colander and top with a plate and heavy can to weigh it down. Allow the eggplant to drain for 30 minutes, then pat dry.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Garden Fresh Eggplant Parmesan

Garden Fresh Eggplant Parmesan

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

A quick cooked, fresh tasting eggplant Parmesan dish.


  • 3 Cups Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce or Tomato Quick Sauce
  • 4 Medium Eggplants
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. Trim the tops off your eggplant, and cut into slices 1/3 of an inch thick.
  2. Lightly brush the eggplant slices with olive oil.
  3. Either grill your eggplant slices until tender, or place on a baking sheet under a hot broiler and cook on both sides until lightly browned and soft.
  4. In a 9 inch square oven-proof casserole dish, layer eggplant slices just barely overlapping to cover the bottom.
  5. Spoon on a cup of the tomato sauce, half the mozzarella, and some of the Parmesan cheese.
  6. Add another layer of the eggplant, sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan.
  7. Add one final layer of the eggplant, rest of the sauce, and remainder of the Parmesan cheese.
  8. Cover with foil.
  9. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or until the dish is bubbly and lightly browned on top.
  11. Cool 10 minutes, then slice and serve!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 573Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 1649mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 18gSugar: 27gProtein: 21g

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  1. Looks amazing Deborah…can almost taste it by just looking at it! Thank you for your website it is such a pleasure and you are a fabulous cook!

    Ciao, Rosetta

  2. You have so inspired me with these scrumptuous dishes, so simple to make and can almost taste them just getting these recipes on paper.
    Please continue with many more.

  3. Hi Deborah,
    Is the final 20 minutes in the oven of the assembled eggplant parmesan covered with foil, and the subsequent 15 minutes without foil to be done in a 400 degree oven, just as was the browning of the eggplant? The recipe doesn’t say…. Many thanks!

  4. I don’t peel my eggplant either, nor do I bread it for eggplant parmigiana. My entire family comes from Naples . Great recipe !

  5. Do you salt the eggplant and let it sweat for a while? I realize this is probably not necessary when the eggplant is picked fresh from the garden but how about it is from the store? I never know if I should salt or not.

    1. I think it is debatable. I do salt if I buy the eggplants at the store and I am just not sure how fresh they are. If I pick the eggplant from our garden or buy them at our local farmer’s market and I know that they are very fresh, I often do not salt.

  6. This was a wonderful recipe. I always hated breaded and fried eggplant because the oil masked the taste. I made your recipe last night. All ingredients fresh from the garden that morning. I even used my homegrown garlic and basil. I made my own fresh sauce as well. I have to say that this was delicious. After reading other recipes that were heavy on the cheese, I found  this recipe to be exactly what I wanted. I did not salt my eggplant and I put my slices under the broiler. Thank you for sharing. This is going to be made again before my eggplants are done for the season and I might just make a second one to freeze. 

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