Crispy baked eggplant layered with your favorite marinara sauce and vegan mozzarella cheese, this Vegan Eggplant Parmesan is the BEST way to eat eggplant! It's a delicious dinner that will turn eggplant skeptics into fans, and it makes for a delicious meatless dinner recipe.
Fact: vegan eggplant parmesan is the BEST way to eat eggplant! The eggplant is perfectly crispy, the mozzarella is made out of cashews and you can use your favorite brand of dairy free marinara sauce (love love love Lucini and Rao's).
I'll be the first to admit that this recipe takes a little longer to prepare than most of my recipes. But, I really wanted to find a way for myself (and maybe you too?!) to enjoy eggplant, and this recipe is IT.
It's also really easy to prepare, just slightly more time consuming. But, the whole recipe will be done in about an hour, and it's a healthy and delicious meatless meal.
If you're wanting a couple other Italian-inspired vegan dinners, you must check out my Lentil Bolognese and Lentil Meatballs.
Why you'll love this recipe
- The eggplant is coated in a Panko mixture then baked until it's nice and crispy
- It's filled with your favorite marinara sauce and vegan mozzarella cheese (see below for tips)
- It'll turn eggplant skeptics into fans (like myself!)
- It's an easy vegan dinner recipe to add to your weekly rotation
Eggplant - Small-medium sized. The eggplant has to fit into a casserole dish, so you don't want the slices of eggplant to be too large.
Breadcrumbs - Preferably Panko, either regular or gluten free.
Almond milk - Or any kind of dairy free milk.
Cashews - Cashews are the main ingredient in the homemade vegan mozzarella cheese. If you're looking for a substitution, you can try using store-bought vegan cheese (parmesan would be delicious!) instead.
Yogurt - Make sure to use PLAIN dairy free yogurt.
I'll admit, making eggplant parmesan requires a little more effort than my other recipes, but it's well worth it! Let's walk through how to make this recipe, step-by-step.
Step 1: Prep the eggplant. First, slice the eggplant then salt it on both sides and place it in a strainer for 10 minutes or so, which will help to absorb some of the moisture. This step is very important in ensuring the eggplant doesn't get mushy.
Then, lay the eggplant out onto a baking sheet and use a towel or paper towels to press down on it. Again, this will eliminate some moisture.
Step 2: Coat the eggplant. Set up an assembly line using two bowls, one filled with the milk and flour and the other filled with the Panko breadcrumbs and spices. Dip each eggplant slice into the milk mixture, then directly into the breadcrumbs until it's completely coated.
Step 3: Bake. Place the eggplant onto a baking sheet and bake it until it's crispy, approximately 20 minutes.
Step 4: Make the mozzarella cheese. While the eggplant is baking, you can make the mozzarella cheese (tips below!).
Step 5: Layer everything. Now comes the fun part! Spread marinara sauce onto the bottom of a baking dish. Then, place eggplant into the bottom of the dish, and layer it with more marinara sauce and then mozzarella cheese.
Repeat this process one more time, then place the entire baking dish into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
How to make vegan mozzarella cheese
First, you'll add all of the ingredients to a blender and then pulse until it's smooth. At this point, while the mixture will be smooth, it won't be super thick.
So next, pour everything into a small saucepan and heat it up for a few minutes, stirring pretty consistently until it thickens.
FAQs and tips
- If the eggplant is too large, you can slice the individual slices in half to make them fit into your baking dish a little bit better.
- I used an 8x8 dish since this recipe was just for Miguel and myself, but if you want this to serve more people, use a 9x13 baking dish.
- Many people have commented that they used store-bought vegan parmesan instead of the homemade mozzarella, and that it turned out great, so that's another option too.
- Storage: In my opinion, eggplant parmesan is best when eaten right away. Otherwise, the eggplant does eventually get soggy.
Can I make this gluten free?
Yes! Simply use gluten free Panko breadcrumbs (or any kind) instead. Everything else in this recipe is already naturally gluten free.
Can this be made without breadcrumbs?
Yes, though I haven't tried it myself. You'd follow the recipe as is, but simply omit the breadcrumbs step. You'll still have to salt and bake the eggplant on a baking sheet before adding it to your casserole dish though. Then, layer it with the marinara and vegan cheese.
More delicious vegan recipes
- Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- Tofu Enchiladas
- Vegan Tomato Soup
- Butternut Squash Chickpea Chili
- The Best Vegan Lasagna
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
- 1 eggplant thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup almond milk
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- fresh basil as garnish
for the mozzarella cheese:
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ½ cup almond milk
- ½ cup plain dairy free yogurt
- 2 ½ tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Slice the eggplant into ½" slices, then salt them and place then in a strainer for 10 minutes, which will help to absorb some of the liquid. Transfer eggplant onto a baking sheet or large plate, then use a towel or paper towels to press down on the eggplant to release leftover moisture.
- Set up two bowls: in one bowl, whisk milk and flour together and in the other bowl, combine breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, and oregano. Dip the eggplant one at a time into the milk mixture, then into the breadcrumbs and place it onto a baking sheet. Repeat this process until all the eggplant slices are coated in breadcrumbs, then bake the eggplant for 20 minutes.
- While the eggplant is baking, make the vegan mozzarella: place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer "cheese" into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously until the cheese thickens; remove from heat.
- Assemble the eggplant parmesan: Spread ½ cup marinara sauce into the bottom of an 8x8 or 9x13 baking dish*. Then, add a layer of eggplant, top it with more marinara and then spoon half of the vegan mozzarella on top. Repeat this process one more time, then place foil over the baking dish and bake the eggplant parmesan for 20 minutes.
- Top it off with fresh basil and enjoy!
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in September 2019. It was updated with new photos in September 2020.
The Transplanted Vegan says
I followed the recipe just to make air fried eggplant and it was delicious! Nice and crunchy!
YUM, that sounds so good! Thanks for the positive review 🙂
I see the comments on freezing this, but can you freeze the Mozzarella Cheese mixture and then just add on top when you go to bake it? Ty
Yes I think that should work!
I made this recipe vegan and gluten free. It was so good my best friend licked her bowl clean. I added extra sauce but otherwise didn’t divert much from the recipe. Great job!
I'm so happy you + your friend like it so much -- thanks for the comment!
Monica Robinson says
I am thinking of trying this for Thanksgiving. Can it be prepared ahead and baked a day later? Would it be better to bake it and reheat it?
I think either would work fine -- you can prep it the day before, cover the dish with foil and store it in the refrigerator overnight. Or, prep and and bake it, then microwave to reheat.
I never post comments on recipes like this, but this was very tasty!
I really appreciate the comment, Hannah! Glad you liked the recipe 🙂
No parm in this eggplant parm. I found vegan parmesan at the store and used instead of mozzarella to make a little quicker!
How are you calculating your numbers? To say that one serving os 3097mg of sodium is 2x the recommended daily allowance. I’m trying to figure out what I’m the recipe is so high in sodium that 1 serving has that much in it, especially when all together there is only 2 servings.
Hi Jen! You're right -- that's probably NOT accurate. I use a nutrition calculator tool that automatically calculates the nutrition info. While the calorie count is fairly accurate, that amount of sodium doesn't seem correct. You may want to input the ingredients into a different app (like my fitness pal). Apologies for that!
Guys, Thanks For sharing this Great Recipe. My Family Loved it. I am definitely sharing this recipe and this website with my friend. Hope they also love it. Thank you again for sharing such a great recipe.
wow, the fake mozz is delish. the whole shebang is in the oven now, i cant wait to eat it. it smells awesome. thanks for the recipe!
That's great -- thanks for the comment!
Lori T says
It is so good that I planned on making it for our Christmas dinner, but I couldn’t even wait one week...I made it last night!! And it was so delicious once again!! Thank you!!
That's incredible!! So happy you enjoy it 🙂
Krissa Slack says
Can this be done in the crockpot? If so how long?
I haven't tried it
The best and easy vegan eggplant parmesan I have ever made! Love it! Very delicious - Will be a keeper!
This was soooo good!! The breading and “cheese” just made it so good!
The cashew mozz is the best part of this. I would eat it on anything.
OMG!!!!! SERIOUSLY, the most delicious eggplant parm i've made and tasted. I cannot wait to try your recipes as this was my first time on your site. THANK YOU for such a delicious dish.
Woohoooo!! So glad you liked it 🙂 Thanks for the comment.
Loved this recipe!!! Followed exactly as is. So simple and delicious. I’m usually hesitant about vegan “cheese” fillings, dips, etc. but this vegan cheese topping was awesome.
I am curious if this would freeze well and then be baked? I have a retreat coming up and this sounds absolutely decadent. What are your thoughts?
Yes, I think so. Just prep the dish as you normally would but don't bake it until you're ready to serve it.
Hi Sandy! How did freezing this work out? I am thinking about prepping it and freezing it for an occasion myself. Thanks!
Looks awesome! Will be making this soon, thanks.