This deliciously simple recipe for Naples Eggplant Parmesan pairs perfectly baked eggplant rounds with a rich tomato sauce, crispy Panko breadcrumbs, creamy mozzarella cheese and of course plenty of parmesan for a simple Italian dish that is perfect served over pasta. This lighter version of a traditional eggplant parmigiana is perfect for the summer months when tomatoes and eggplant are at their best.
Eggplant Parmesan is a classic Italian casserole dish with disputed origins yet collectively attributed to southern Italy, most especially… Naples, although the dish is widely popular all over the country, not to mention… the world! I love making it at the height of summer when eggplants are plentiful – it is delicious served over pasta or with a side of bread.
While preparation varies and recipes are many, most often it’s prepared by successively layering slices of eggplant in a casserole dish drizzled with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese before baking. Regardless of how you make it, it will always be delicious!
The History of Eggplant Parmesan
A little history with your dish? It always enhances the flavors for me!
Eggplant Parmesan, parmigiana di melanzane, is dominant in Naples but also is popular in the Campanian countryside, Calabria and Sicily.
While we’ll never know specifically where or when the dish originated, we do know, its first mention was from poet Simone Prudenzani (1387-1440) and appeared in chef Vincenzo Corrado’s cookbook published in 1786 where he instructs, “Eggplant can be cooked alla Parmigiana, meaning the eggplant was seasoned with butter, herbs, cinnamon and other spices and grated Parmigiano cheese and covered with a cream sauce made with egg yolks before being oven-baked.”
It wasn’t until 1837 that a dish very similar to what we know today as Eggplant Parmesan was published in Ippolito Cavalcanti’s Cucina Teorico-practica cookbook in Naples, 1837. (Use the provided link to view the original cookbook — in Italian!)
Speaking of attribution. This recipe is my mom’s. It’s a lighter, healthier version than most, but completely filling — even for a teenage guy.
It’s also easy and quick!
Serve over pasta drizzled with olive oil. It’s a special and tasty dish that’s on regular rotation in our house.
Frequently Asked Questions
I use jarred for speed, but of course! I like this one which only needs 3 ingredients.
I like Panko as they keep things nice and crispy and I always have them on hand, but homemade dried breadcrumbs, and Italian-style breadcrumbs will also work well.
For the best results to keep the breadcrumbs nice and crispy assemble this just before you plan to bake it – the leftovers are rather good, though!
If you enjoyed this recipe on 31 Daily, you might also enjoy:
- No Noodle Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna
- Italian Sheet Pan Pork Chops
- Easy Slow Cooker Lasagna with Ricotta
- World’s Best Pasta Sauce (3-ingredient Pasta Sauce)
- Classic Oven Baked Ratatouille
Save this and pin it for later!
Make sure you don’t lose track of this recipe by pinning it for later! If you are not already you can follow me on Pinterest, as well as keep up with me on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. If you make this recipe I would also love it if you’d tag me in your photos and leave a star rating below!Print