Roasted Japanese Eggplant Parmesan is just as satisfying as traditional chicken parmesan, but is completely plant-based! The star of the show is one of my favorite farmer’s market finds: Japanese eggplants.
In the summer, the farmer’s market is one of the places I always visit! One of my favorite items to look out for is Japanese eggplant, though some vendors call them Japanese eggplants. I am not sure what the difference is, but they are always delicious! I love their long, thin shape and the seedless white flesh that is much sweeter than typical eggplant.
How Are Japanese Eggplants Different from Regular Eggplants?
Japanese eggplants are long and thin with light purple or dark lavender skin and yellowy-white flesh. Unlike regular eggplants, these do not contain seeds. While regular eggplants are stouter, these can appear either crooked or straight and can grow to be quite long and thin. They taste mildly sweet and hold up well when cooked, which makes them ideal for this Roasted Eggplant Parmesan!
Is Roasted Japanese Eggplant Parmesan a Filling Entrée?
Although this recipe does not call for any meat, it is certainly a hearty dinner! Eggplant is high in fiber, which makes it a filling base for this dish. This beautiful vegetable is also high in vitamin A and C. Pair Roasted Japanese Eggplant Parmesan with a simple salad like my Chick-fil-A Superfood Salad Copy Cat or my Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pecans, Pears, and Gorgonzola and you have a perfect summer dinner!
Is Roasted Eggplant Soggy?
If you are worried about your eggplant getting soggy, fear not! To begin with, Japanese eggplants are sturdier than regular eggplants. I also have a few tips for keeping them firm! Salt and seasonings draw moisture out of the eggplants, and the breadcrumbs are sure to add a crunchy texture that is irresistible!
Ingredients for Roasted Japanese Eggplant:
I have a few “special” ingredients that take this recipe over the top. However, if you can’t find these products, no worries! There are easy substitutions that will yield equally fabulous results. Here is what I use to make this yummy dish:
- Japanese eggplant (farmer’s market or the freshest you can find)
- William’s Sonoma Roasted Garlic & Parmesan Dipping Oil (may substitute EVOO)
- Trader Joe’s Brushetta (brand specific) or Rao’s Homemade Marinara (brand specific)
- Shredded mozzarella (I use whole milk)
- Freshly grated parmesan
Why I Am Brand-Specific on Certain Ingredients:
Where marinara and bruschetta are concerned, I use only two store-bought brands. For marinara, Rao’s is the ONLY jarred marinara I buy. It is as close to homemade as you can get! Similarly, Trader Joe’s bruschetta is like none I’ve ever tasted. Their bruschetta is rich, thick, and seasoned perfectly with EVOO and Italian seasonings.
Watch Me Make This Roasted Eggplant:
- 4 Japanese eggplant
- 1/4 cup EVOO (see note below)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup bruschetta or marinara (see note below)
- 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 1/2 cup shredded whole milk mozarella
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 4-5 fresh basil leaves, sliced or chopped
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat an oven or pellet grill to 400 F.
- Trim top of eggplants; slice in half lengthwise.
- Arrange on baking sheet or pizza stone.
- Make small slits in the eggplant flesh so that seasonings will penetrate the insides.
- Brush eggplant flesh with Williams' Sonoma garlic parmesan dipping oil or EVOO.
- Sprinkle with kosher salt & pepper.
- Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until tender.
- Remove from oven; spoon brushetta or marinara over each slice.
- Sprinkle mozzarella or burrata cheese over each slice.
- Mix panko crumbs, parmesan, and 2 TB extra virgin olive oil (or dipping oil) until blended.
- Sprinkle crumb mixture atop eggplant slices.
- Return eggplant to oven for 10-15 minutes or until bubbly.
If using regular eggplant, salt the slices for at least 30 minutes prior to proceeding with the recipe. Rinse salt before using.