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This vegan eggplant Parmesan is dairy free but delivers on flavor, starring crispy breaded eggplant slices smothered in a tangy marinara sauce! A plant-based dinner win.

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
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Eggplant Parmesan is one of the world’s best meatless comfort foods: so why not try a dairy-free rendition? Try this vegan Eggplant Parmesan, with all the flavor of the real deal but totally plant-based! Tender eggplant slices are dipped and breaded, then baked until crispy and smothered in a tangy marinara sauce. Top with dairy-free cheese to make a stunning vegan dinner everyone will love!

Ingredients in vegan eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan (aka eggplant Parmigiana) is a classic Italian dish made with layers of breaded eggplant, cheese, and tomato sauce. It’s known as parmigiana di melanzane in Italian, and comes from the Southern regions of Calabria and Sicily. To make vegan eggplant Parmesan, you’ll need to replace eggs, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese to vegan versions. Here’s what you’ll need for vegan eggplant Parmesan:

  • Eggplant
  • All-purpose flour
  • Oat milk
  • Cornstarch
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese
  • Plain panko
  • Oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • Fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • Garlic cloves
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Vegan shredded mozzarella cheese
Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

Vegan cheese brands vs homemade

For this vegan eggplant Parmesan recipe, we used purchased Violife vegan Parmesan and Violife vegan shredded mozzarella cheese. Feel free to use dairy-free cheese alternatives you love!

You can also make homemade vegan cheese substitutes. This recipe would also work well with homemade vegan Parmesan. We have not tested it with homemade vegan mozzarella, but that would work as well. You can also substitute dollops of cashew cream for the vegan mozzarella if desired!

Notes on fire roasted tomatoes

Fire roasted tomatoes make the best flavor in this eggplant Parmesan. This type of canned tomatoes tastes sweet and smoky right out of the can. If you can’t find them, substitute best quality tomatoes with 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika. Or, use 1 ½ cups best quality marinara sauce.

Eggplant Parmesan with no cheese

Tips for making vegan Eggplant Parmesan

This vegan Eggplant Parmesan recipe is baked, not fried. It takes about 1 hour to make and bake, so keep this in mind in your meal prepping (and review the notes below on make ahead tips). Here are a few notes to keep in mind about the process:

  • Look for medium eggplants. Size matters here: massive eggplant rounds don’t look quite as nice in the dish because the rounds are so large. The key is using 2 pounds of eggplant, and you’ll get about 18 to 20 sliced rounds.
  • Place salt on the eggplant for just 10 minutesMany recipes require you to salt the eggplant for 1 hour, but this is not necessary. In the past, people would do this to remove a bitter flavor, but today’s eggplants are bred to be less bitter. Salting also allows the eggplant to release moisture, but that’s not as important with this baked method as with frying!
  • Dredge the eggplant in flour, oat milk with cornstarch, and breadcrumbs. Oat milk with cornstarch replaces the eggs that are in standard eggplant Parmesan.
  • Bake the eggplant for 20 minutes at 425°F, flipping once. The hot oven makes them crispy and golden brown: like frying but with no extra oil!
  • Then layer the eggplant with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese in a baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.
Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

Leftover storage and make ahead tips

This vegan Eggplant Parmesan takes about 1 hour to make, making it difficult to whip up for a quick weeknight dinner. Make it when you have plenty of time, like on a weekend or day off. There are also a few things you can do in advance. Here are a few ideas for make ahead and storage:

  • Bake the eggplant slices in advance. This saves about 40 minutes off the timing of the recipe. Refrigerate the slices, then layer the dish and bake the day of making.
  • Leftovers store refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can make the entire dish in advance and refrigerate, but it’s so good freshly baked that we recommend the above option for make-ahead. Leftovers store well.
  • You can also freeze leftovers in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Place on the counter or in the refrigerator to thaw, or you can place it right into a 375 degree oven and reheat until warmed through and the cheese is melted. (If it’s room temperature, you can reheat at a higher temperature, like 425°F.)

More vegan recipes

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan is one of our favorite vegan dinner ideas! Here are few more vegan recipes to put in your arsenal:

This vegan eggplant Parmesan recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 to 8 1x

Description

This vegan eggplant Parmesan is dairy free but delivers on flavor, starring crispy breaded eggplant slices smothered in a tangy marinara sauce!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds eggplant (about 2 medium large)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup oat milk
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup purchased grated vegan Parmesan cheese, divided*
  • 1 cup plain panko (or purchased or homemade breadcrumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, divided
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 28 ounces fire roasted crushed tomatoes**
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped, plus more to garnish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups (6 ounces) purchased vegan shredded mozzarella cheese*

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut off the ends of the eggplant and cut it into 1/2-inch slices (to make approximately 18 slices).  Sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon salt divided between the slices, and allow them to sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the breading ingredients. (Don’t wipe off any salt or extra moisture.)
  3. Place the flour on a plate. Whisk the oat milk and cornstarch in a shallow bowl and set it aside. In another shallow bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, panko, 2 teaspoons oregano, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and set it aside. 
  4. Dip both sides of each eggplant slice into the flour, then the oat milk mixture, then the Parmesan cheese mixture. Place each slice onto the prepared baking sheets. (Note: This gets messy; you may need to wash or wipe your fingers off after every few slices.) Discard any leftover breading ingredients. 
  5. Place the trays in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then flip the eggplant and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until tender and golden brown. 
  6. Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a medium bowl, mix the fire roasted tomatoes, grated garlic, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, chopped fresh basil, and olive oil. Mix well until all the olive oil is incorporated. 
  7. Remove the eggplant from the oven. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13″ pan. Add half the baked eggplant in a layer (about 9 slices), then top with 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 cup vegan shredded mozzarella cheese. Add the second layer of eggplant (we like to add them right on top of the first layer to make 9 stacks). Top with another 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 cup vegan shredded mozzarella on each stack. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons grated vegan Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and browned (or more, depending on the cheese brand). Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then top with additional chopped basil and serve. Store leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days (or frozen for 3 months); reheat in the oven until warm.

Notes

*We used purchased Violife vegan Parmesan and Violife vegan shredded mozzarella. If desired, this would also work with homemade vegan Parmesan. We have not tested this recipe with homemade vegan mozzarella, but it should work other recipes. You can also substitute dollops of cashew cream for the vegan mozzarella if desired!

**Fire roasted tomatoes make the best flavor: they taste sweet and smoky right out of the can. If you can’t find them, substitute best quality tomatoes with 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika. Or, use 1 ½ cups best quality marinara sauce.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Vegan
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!