Skillet Eggplant Marinara

A tasty and easy vegetarian dinner, this skillet eggplant marinara brings big flavor using just a handful of simple ingredients.

Skillet Eggplant Marinara | A Couple Cooks

This post was created in partnership with Newman’s Own. All opinions are our own.

“We’ve had two generations of college bred people now who have really been indoctrinated with the idea that every big problem has a big solution. And I just don’t believe it! The big problems we have now will be solved by hundreds of people accepting local responsibilities for small problems.” -Wendell Berry   

I grew up in the 90’s when being a “world changer” was the ultimate goal of the American suburban kid. Love the Earth and love all humans were messages that stuck with me. How to do it—well, that is quite another thing. We humans can be good-hearted and try to “help” solve big problems, but sometimes our egos get in the way. We think we know the right way to do things, so we don’t listen to the people we’re trying to help. Sometimes our selfishness gets in the way and we’re only willing to go so far. And sometimes the problems are just too big to really make a dent, so we get paralyzed and don’t do anything. Keep reading for how this relates to this delicious skillet eggplant marinara recipe!

Related: Easy Dinner Recipes for Family

Making the world better

I love Wendell Berry’s quote above because it gives me hope to start small in a world with some really big problems. For starters: our food system and connecting people with nourishing, life-giving food. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I’m realizing that baby steps, like inspiring one person to make one meal with a new nutritious ingredient, are steps forward.

Skillet Eggplant Marinara

How about you: What are you passionate about? Where do you dream to use your influence for good? Where are you doing it already?

How to make skillet eggplant marinara

And now, for this skillet eggplant marinara, a collaboration with a business doing good in the world. The Newman’s Own foundation started in 2005 to continue Paul Newman’s legacy of giving back. The foundation supports organizations in four focus areas: Philanthropy, Children, Nutrition, and Empowerment, and 100% of the proceeds from products go to charity, a mission we can get behind.

For this eggplant marinara, we’ve used a marinara sauce from the Newman’s Own Organics line, which fits with our passion for the highest quality ingredients, organic when possible. While we typically make our own marinara sauce, on quick weeknights we opt for a high quality marinara. This one is top notch in flavor, and also has no sugar added (only the sugar in the tomatoes). It makes for a truly simple meal with just 7 ingredients, save the salt and pepper. It does contain a bit of cheese, but it’s more nourishing than the typical Eggplant Parmesan since there’s no breading and frying involved. Serve with a green salad and it makes for a satisfying dinner.

Sprinkling cheese

In a world that’s becoming more and more connected, it’s even easier to find innovative ways to make a difference. We’d love to hear about your current passion projects. Let us know in the comments below!

Pouring tomato sauce

Looking for Italian recipes?

Our forte here at A Couple Cooks are Italian recipes (and eggplant recipes)! Outside of this skillet eggplant marinara, here are a few of our favorites:

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Skillet Eggplant Marinara

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (52 votes, average: 3.98 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


A tasty and easy vegetarian dinner, this skillet eggplant marinara brings big flavor using just a handful of simple ingredients.


  • 2 large eggplants (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 24 ounces Newman’s Own Organics Marinara sauce or our Easy Marinara Sauce
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Slice the eggplant into 3/8 to 1/2-inch slices. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and paprika. Place the eggplant slices on the baking sheets, splitting them evenly between the two sheets. Brush each side of the eggplant slices lightly with the paprika oil (if you need more oil at the end, add a another drizzle and stir in the remaining paprika). Season all of the eggplant liberally with kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper.
  3. Slide the trays into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the eggplant slices, then reverse the trays and finish baking for 5 minutes or until tender.
  4. In a large, ovenproof skillet, spoon a bit of the marinara sauce and spread in an even layer. Add an even layer of half of the eggplant slices, a bit of sauce, then half of the mozzarella and feta cheese. Add another layer of eggplant, then more sauce, then the remaining mozzarella cheese. Top with the remaining feta.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Garnish with parsley and serve.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Eggplant Marinara, Eggplant Recipes, Eggplant Parmesan, Easy Eggplant Recipe, Easy Dinner Ideas, Dinner Recipes, Easy Dinner Recipes

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Allyson (Considering The Radish)
    February 20, 2017 at 9:54 am

    I love that Wendell Berry quote. We can affect so much more change than we realize by working in our daily life. I like to think that by cooking dinner for friends and using more produce I’m slowly nudging them towards cooking more themselves. For at least one case it’s been working.

    This eggplant looks fantastic- a lighter, easier eggplant parm (which I adore). It looks so bright and tasty and also hearty- just what I need during this winter-that-is-no-longer-winter.

    • Reply
      March 30, 2017 at 9:28 pm

      There’s nothing like Wendell Berry! I’m absolutely certain you’re making a difference for your friends — friends like you are what got Alex and I cooking in the first place! Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

  • Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Hi guys, great post! I made this dish for dinner tonight. Have to admit the kids are not crazy about eggplant but since they had a late snack, decided to cook something special for just the hubby and I. I loved the simplicity of the recipe. It was good, I would make it again. All that cheesy goodness might fool our girls to try it too. Paired it with a yummy mixed greens salad with apples, beets, avo, nuts and cranberries and warmed up some whole wheat naan to soak up some of the cheesy sauce and add a little carb. I love your approach to helping others. I also believe in helping one person/family at a time. I focus on working with mainly teenaged girls feel comfortable in their own skin. Teaching them how to make the best food choices given the choices available and how to prepare healthy snacks and meals is something they can take with them into their adult lives. Having two teenaged daughters fuels my passion to help girls overcome what it means to be beautiful and healthy in our culture. Thank you for this great recipe and for asking about my passion!

    • Reply
      March 30, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      Wow, I love hearing about your work with teenage girls — it is SO necessary! Myself at that age would have absolutely loved this. Do you teach classes, or mainly work with teenagers of friends and family? Either way, kudos on your work! It’s so needed. And glad you liked this recipe!

  • Reply
    Tiffany S.
    February 21, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    That looks delicious. I love just about anything Italian with eggplant. I think this would be great served alongside some homemade stuffed mushrooms?

    • Reply
      March 30, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      Stuffed mushrooms is a great idea for an accompaniment here — I never would have thought of it! Thanks for the idea!

  • Reply
    Kevin |
    February 25, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    I haven’t had eggplant in so long! This looks like it would be great over pasta, and I am tempted to add some sausage in there too… Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
      March 30, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      Sausage would be a great natural pairing here! And yes, over pasta would be perfect :)

  • Reply
    February 26, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I love eggplant so can’t wait to try this yummy looking recipe. But what I really want to say is: Congratulations!!!!! What a beautiful baby boy you have…you must be over the moon. So very happy for both of you!!!

    • Reply
      March 30, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      Ahhhhh thank you! We are having a ball. Let us know if you give the recipe a try!

  • Reply
    May 2, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Made this tonight, after I flagged it when you posted it. Yum yum yum!! Served it with pasta (so easy!). My husband said “omg, this is so good” at least 3 times. I added panko bread crumbs on top for a little crunch and finished it under the broiler for some good color.

    • Reply
      May 5, 2017 at 9:17 am

      This makes me so happy to hear! I’m so glad it was a hit! And adding panko is a perfect idea. Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    June 27, 2017 at 10:09 am

    I made this a while back and it was AMAZING. I will be making it again for guests this weekend :-)

    • Reply
      July 26, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      Thank you so much for this feedback! We’re so, so glad to hear it was a hit!

  • Reply
    August 3, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Made this last night. It was even better than it looked! The paprika oil really sets this apart from other eggplant marinara recipes. Thanks so much! Will definitely make again.

    • Reply
      August 3, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      Ohh I’m so glad you enjoyed it! And that the paprika oil made it pop. THANK YOU for making it!

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