How To Bake Eggplant (A Frugal Kitchen Staple!)

How To Bake Eggplant

Throughout the year, I see eggplant on sale at Aldi for .59 to .99 cents. That’s a killer deal considering one eggplant can substitute for a pound of meat in a main dish. My family, including my meat-loving husband, loves the taste of eggplant when I cook it up right. But, if you’ve never bought or baked an eggplant, it’s intimidating. That’s why I’m sharing how to cook an eggplant so your family will eat it and enjoy it!

My favorite way to cook eggplant is to bread it and bake it. As my 4-year-old says, it turns the eggplant into crispy “cookies” that are perfect for an eggplant parmesan bake or sandwich.

Aside from being ultra-frugal, eggplant is only 130 calories for a 1.25 lb. piece of fruit. (Did you know eggplant was a fruit? Neither did I!) This recipe bakes the eggplant so you get the same flavor as it’s calorie-bomb counterpart of a fried eggplant parmesan at a restaurant.

How To Bake Eggplant

How To Bake Eggplant 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant (1.25 to 1.5 lbs)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk (or almond milk)
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs (or 1 tsp Italian seasoning)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Wash and dry the eggplant. Cut the eggplant into round slices about a quarter inch thick. Keep the slices consistent so all the pieces cook at the same rate.

2. Mix together the eggs and milk. (I added a sprinkle of Italian seasoning to the mixture as well.) Measure out the bread crumbs and pour them into a separate bowl.

How To Bake Eggplant

3. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture and coat on both sides. Then, dip the egg-coated eggplant into the breadcrumbs and coat on both sides. Line up all the breaded eggplant slices on a greased baking sheet.

How To Bake Eggplant

4. Drizzle 1-2 TBSP of olive oil over the eggplant and bake for 40 minutes at 400. Flip the eggplant over at 20 minutes. You want the eggplant to be soft in the middle and have a slight crunch on the outside.

How To Bake Eggplant

5. Salt the eggplant to taste when you pull them out of the oven.

To Make An Eggplant Parmesan Bake…

I love the eggplant parmesan bake because you can assemble everything ahead of time and bake right before dinner. It’s not as crispy as the freshly baked eggplant, but it has the delicious taste of any great, hearty Italian bake. You won’t miss the meat! And this entire dish can be made for under $5 for the whole family.

1. Once the eggplant is cooked, kick the oven down to 350. Pull out a casserole dish and layer the bottom with marinara sauce. Add a layer of eggplant. Cover with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.

How To Bake Eggplant

2. Repeat with layers of eggplant, marinara sauce and cheese until all of the ingredients are used up. Top the dish with 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning and 1 tsp. garlic powder. Bake for 20-30 minutes in oven at 350 until cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.

How To Bake Eggplant

Enjoy this dish right away with a heaping serving of vegetables (to compliment the “fruit” dish, of course). 🙂

How To Bake Eggplant

Also, to break up the cooking time for this dish on a busy weeknight, I bake the breaded eggplant ahead of time and store in the fridge until I’m ready to bake with the cheese and sauce. I haven’t found a big difference in the texture when I break this recipe up over the course of a day or two, so don’t be afraid to make it ahead of time.

And If You Really Want To Get Fancy…

Occasionally, I use the baked eggplant for a fancy sandwich with goat cheese (or mozzarella), marinara, and mixed greens. It is delicious. Seriously, it tastes like it came right off the menu of a gourmet sandwich shop.

With a little practice, you can start taking advantage of the cheap eggplant deals and fill your stomach with delicious food. Have you ever made eggplant? Can you think of another creative way to eat baked eggplant? Let me know in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. I made this last night for dinner and it was delicious!

    • Yay! I’m glad you liked it! This is one of the only vegetarian meals I can get my bean-hating, meat-loving husband to eat and enjoy. 🙂

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