Skillet Eggplant Parmesan

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Easy Skillet Eggplant Parmesan

Skillet Eggplant Parmesan comes together in under an hour in a single pan for an easy, modified take on the classic Italian meal.  Crunchy whole wheat panko is toasted and layered on top of pan-seared eggplant, then simmered in a fragrant tomato-basil sauce and topped with gooey mozzarella and fresh herbs in this skillet eggplant parmesan recipe. 

Easier to make than the original and so much better because the breading stays crisp and does not get soggy.  The ultimate meatless comfort food!

I was watching food videos on Instagram and a skillet eggplant parmesan recipe popped up that showed the eggplant cooked separately from the breading.  In fact, the breadcrumbs were toasted and layered over the eggplant, sauce and cheese.   

Let me be the first to say this is a brilliant, game-changing technique as far as eggplant parm is concerned!   It’s truly EPIC. 

As much as I like eggplant parm, the original is time-consuming to make with dredging the eggplant in egg, then bread, then pan-fry, assembling in a casserole dish and baking.  It’s an hour and a half plus operation! 

This skillet eggplant parm technique allows for the eggplant to be pan-seared, which I do in two skillets to make it go faster, the breadcrumbs are toasted, then everything is layered in the skillet.  So easy and you don’t miss any of the flavors – in fact – it’s better than the original because of the crisp breadcrumbs!

Trust me – if you like eggplant parm – you have to try this recipe and let me know how you like it in the comments below!

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Ingredients in Skillet Eggplant Parm

1 cup whole wheat panko

6-8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 large eggplant or 2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1/4 inch rings

salt and pepper to taste

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

24 oz jar of pasta sauce

8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

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To salt or not to salt the eggplant

There is so much debate about whether or not you need to salt eggplant before cooking.  Food scientists and chefs at Bon Appetit, Epicurious, Food Network and other well-renowned publications all agree that you DO NOT need to salt the eggplant.  Back in the day eggplant was considered bitter and it was thought that salting the eggplant removed the bitterness. 

In fact, salting the eggplant simply removes the liquid and makes the eggplant softer and more pliable.  It also gives the eggplant flavor – masking any bitterness.  Modern-day eggplants are not bitter.  It’s been suggested that they have been modified to remove the bitterness.  Not sure about this, but I have never salted eggplant and it has never tasted bitter to me. 

How to Make Skillet Eggplant Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400° F. 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the panko and toast for 5-7 minutes, stirring often until golden brown and crisp.  

Remove the breadcrumbs from the skillet to a bowl.  Add the grated parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs and toss to mix.  Set aside. 

Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil on both sides.  Increase the heat to medium-high and place the eggplant into the hot skillet and cook for 5 – 7 minutes on each side until golden and caramelized.  Don’t crowd the skillet, otherwise, the eggplant will steam and not get properly caramelized.  If desired, you can use two skillets at one time to cook all the eggplant to save time. 

Remove the eggplant from the skillet and season with salt and pepper to taste.  

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Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet and add the diced onion.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent.  Add the minced garlic to the pan and cook for another minute until fragrant. 

Pour 11/3 of the pasta sauce into the skillet and stir to mix with the onions and garlic. 

Layer one row of eggplant, then toasted breadcrumbs, mozzarella cheese, and repeat with additional sauce, eggplant, breadcrumbs and mozzarella until all of the eggplant and breadcrumbs are used up.  The final layer is mozzarella cheese. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until the cheese is gooey and melted. 

Top with fresh parsley and fresh basil. 

Enjoy with a side salad, like a Caesar for a complete dinner that is sure to become a family favorite. 

Additional Eggplant Recipes

Caponata Eggplant Meatballs

Korean-Style Tofu Bulgogi Bowls With Eggplant & Peppers

Sicilian Eggplant Caponata Over Grilled Swordfish

Creamy Eggplant Dip With Caramelized Onion and Roasted Chickpea Flatbreads

Pasta alla Norma (Eggplant Pasta)

Grilled Eggplant With Romesco, Basil & Feta Cheese

Easy Eggplant Pizza

skillet_eggplant_parmesan_recipe 3

Skillet Eggplant Parm

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Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Easy Eggplant Parmesan, Skillet Eggplant Parmesan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories:
Author: Eva Fry

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat panko
  • 6-8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 large eggplant or 2 medium eggplants sliced into 1/4 inch rings
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 24 oz jar of pasta sauce
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the panko and toast for 5-7 minutes, stirring often until golden brown and crisp.
  • Remove the breadcrumbs from the skillet to a bowl.  Add the grated parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs and toss to mix.  Set aside.
  • Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil on both sides.  Increase the heat to medium-high and place the eggplant into the hot skillet and cook for 5 - 7 minutes on each side until golden and caramelized.  Don't crowd the skillet, otherwise, the eggplant will steam and not get properly caramelized.  If desired, you can use two skillets at one time to cook all the eggplant to save time.
  • Remove the eggplant from the skillet and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet and add the diced onion.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent.  Add the minced garlic to the pan and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  • Pour 11/3 of the pasta sauce into the skillet and stir to mix with the onions and garlic.
  • Layer one row of eggplant, then toasted breadcrumbs, mozzarella cheese, and repeat with additional sauce, eggplant, breadcrumbs and mozzarella until all of the eggplant and breadcrumbs are used up.  The final layer is mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until the cheese is gooey and melted.
  • Top with fresh parsley and fresh basil.

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Just look at those crispy breadcrumbs – and they are whole wheat, so you can feel better about eating this!

For a lower carb/keto version – I would suggest buying keto bread, drying it out, and pulsing in a food processor to make breadcrumbs, then proceeding with the recipe as written.  I believe that Rao’s Marinara has the least sugar of all pasta sauces on the market. 


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You can get all the ingredients for this recipe at your local Safeway, which also offers curbside pick up and Safeway Home Delivery!

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