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.
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.