Vegan Baked Eggplant Parmesan, a twist on traditional baked eggplant parmesan with crispy breaded eggplant slices baked with tomato sauce, nutritional yeast, and a sprinkling of vegan mozzarella cheese.

a cut piece of vegan eggplant parmesan on a blue plate with a baking dish full of baked eggplant parmesan on a white table

Love eggplant parmesan but not sure how to make it vegan? I’ve got you covered! My husband is from Italy and his mother made her favorite eggplant parmesan and replaced the eggs and cheese with vegan alternatives to make this recipe – and it’s quickly become a staple plant-based dinner in our home.

👉 Ready to learn how to make plant-based eggplant parmesan? Let's do it!


🍅 Ingredients

  • Eggplant: You’ll need about 4 large eggplant, any variety will do
  • Bread crumbs: I’m breading the eggplant in a bread crumb mixture; I like to use plain bread crumbs and then add my own seasoning because seasoned packaged breadcrumbs are very high in sodium
  • Nuts or seeds: I love a crispy eggplant parmesan, so I’m chopping up nuts or seeds into my bread crumbs for more texture. Any nuts or seeds will do, I used sunflower seeds in these photos.
  • Tomato sauce: A healthy amount of red tomato sauce is key to eggplant parmesan
  • Cheese alternatives: Both nutritional yeast and vegan mozzarella cheese are used for flavor
  • Other ingredients: Olive oil for baking and pan frying the eggplant, dried herbs and salt for seasoning the breading, and flax seed meal and unsweetened plant-based milk to make a wet coating so the breading sticks to the eggplant.
  • Recommended tools: sheet pan, large pan or cast iron skillet, food processor, standard 9×13 inch baking dish
ingredients for eggplant parmesan on a white table, including eggplants, tomato sauce, and cheese
Ingredients: eggplant, tomato sauce, vegan cheese, breading ingredients, spices

🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)

1️⃣ Step One: Bake the eggplant slices

The first step to making the eggplant parmesan is to bake the eggplant slices to remove some of their water. To do this, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Then slice eggplant by cutting off the top part with the stem, and then slicing the eggplant either longways or into rounds (photos in this recipe show longways).

sliced eggplant on a wood cutting board
Slice eggplant lengthwise or into rounds

Then add the slices to a baking sheet, drizzle with half the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake until the slices begin to dry out and begin to brown, about 15 minutes, then remove from the oven.

eggplant slices on a baking sheet before roasting
Season and bake eggplant slices to dry them out

2️⃣ Step Two: Make breading ingredients

There are two steps to making the breading ingredients: making a breadcrumb mixture that will give the eggplant a breaded, crispy texture and also making a thick and sticky liquid that will help the breading stick to the eggplant (this replaces using egg, which is what a traditional eggplant parmesan uses).

  1. To make a flax egg mixture. In a small bowl, add ground flax seed meal and hot water and let sit for 5 minutes until the flax seed meal thickens. Then add the flax seed and water mixture to a large bowl with plant-based milk and whisk to combine.
  2. To make a crispy breadcrumb mixture: To a food processor, add the nuts or seeds, breadcrumbs, dried herbs, and a generous pinch of salt and chop until well combined. Spread the bread crumb mixture on a plate.

Then set these two plates aside until the eggplant slices are done with their initial baking.

a bowl of plant based egg mixture and a bowl of bread crumbs for eggplant parmesan
Make flax egg mixture and bread crumbs

3️⃣ Step Three: Fry breaded eggplant

Next it’s time to fry the breaded eggplant until it’s crispy.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add each slice to the bowl with the flax and milk mixture to coat. Then immediately add it to the bread crumb mixture to coat both sides.

a piece of eggplant in a bread crumb mixture on a white plate
Coat eggplant in flax egg mixture and then bread crumbs

Place in the oiled skillet and cook until the breading is browned, about 3-4 minutes each side. You may need to add a bit more oil to the pan between frying. Then remove to a plate until all of the eggplant is breaded and fried.

breaded eggplant slices in a cast iron skillet
Pan fry bread crumbs until golden brown, about 5 minutes

4️⃣ Step Four: Add ingredients to a baking dish

Once the eggplant slices have been breaded, add small amount of the tomato sauce to the bottom of a glass or ceramic baking dishes.

a white ceramic baking dish with tomato sauce
Add a layer of tomato sauce to a baking dish

Then add a single layer of breaded eggplant, and sprinkling with nutritional yeast and vegan cheese.

Keep adding layers of tomato sauce, eggplant, nutritional yeast, and vegan cheese until all of the breaded eggplant has been used in the dish (this should be about 3 layers).

eggplant parmesan ingredients in a baking dish before cooking
Layers of tomato sauce, breaded eggplant, nutritional yeast, and vegan cheese

5️⃣ Step Five: Bake vegan eggplant parmesan

Place the baking dish into the oven and bake 35 minutes, or until the tomato sauce is bubbling (but not watery) and the vegan cheese is melted.

When finished, remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

baked vegan eggplant parmesan in a white baking dish
Bake 35 minutes

❓ Recipe questions + quick tips

Can I grill the eggplant instead of baking for eggplant parmesan

Yes! You can grill the eggplant instead of baking in step 1 if your weather permits. The point of pre-baking the eggplant slices is to help them release their water before frying and then baking the eggplant parmesan dish.

Why use a flax seed meal and plant-based milk mixture to coat the eggplant?

The flax seed meal and plant-based milk mixture replaces the need for an egg and milk mixture to coat the eggplant so that the breading mixture sticks to the eggplant before pan frying.

Do I have to use nuts or seeds in the breading mixture?

No, you can omit the nuts or seeds in the breading mixture. I added them to make the breading texture crunchier, and because I wanted to add a boost of plant based protein to the recipe. But you can still just use the bread crumbs on their own.

Can I serve eggplant parmesan over pasta?

Absolutely! This baked vegan eggplant parmesan is just one way of making the traditional dish, many people simply pan fry and then serve with red sauce over pasta. Both work!

a square piece of vegan eggplant parmesan on a blue plate on a white table

🧊 How to store and reheat

  1. Refrigerator storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
  2. Freezer storage (if applicable): To freeze, cut the eggplant parmesan into squares and bake in an airtight container or freezer-friendly bag. To thaw, simply remove it to the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
  3. To reheat: Reheat in the oven at 400 degrees F, in the microwave, or in a pan on the stovetop.
a square piece of vegan eggplant parmesan on a blue plate with a gold fork

🍆 More eggplant recipes

Want more eggplant recipes? We've got you covered:

Vegan Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Vegan Baked Eggplant Parmesan, a twist on traditional baked eggplant parmesan with crispy breaded eggplant slices baked with tomato sauce, nutritional yeast, and a sprinkling of vegan mozzarella cheese.
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Ingredients

  • 4 large eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 generous pinch salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened plant-based milk
  • ½ cup nuts or seeds
  • 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs, plain
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbs, oregano, thyme, basil, etc.
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast, divided
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • ½ cup vegan mozzarella cheese

Instructions 

  • Bake eggplant slices: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Slice eggplant by cutting off the top part with the stem, and then slicing the eggplant either longways or into rounds (photos in this recipe show longways). Then add the slices to a baking sheet, drizzle with half the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake until the slices begin to dry out and begin to brown, about 15 minutes, then remove from the oven. Keep the oven heated for baking the final bake (step 4).
  • Make breading ingredients: In a small bowl, add ground flax seed meal and hot water and let sit for 5 minutes until the flax seed meal thickens. Then add the flax seed and water mixture to a large bowl with plant-based milk and whisk to combine. To a food processor, add the nuts or seeds, breadcrumbs, dried herbs, and a generous pinch of salt and chop until well combined. Spread the bread crumb mixture on a plate.
  • Fry breaded eggplant: Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the eggplant is done baking, add each slice to the bowl with the flax and milk mixture to coat. Then immediately add it to the bread crumb mixture to coat both sides, then place in the oiled skillet and cook until the breading is browned, about 3-4 minutes each side. Then remove to a plate.
  • Add ingredients to baking dish: Once the eggplant slices have been breaded, add small amount of the tomato sauce to the bottom of a glass or ceramic baking dishes. Then add a single layer of breaded eggplant, and sprinkling with nutritional yeast and vegan cheese. Keep adding layers of tomato sauce, eggplant, nutritional yeast, and vegan cheese until all of the breaded eggplant has been used in the dish (this should be about 3 layers).
  • Bake eggplant parmesan: Place the baking dish into the oven and bake 35 minutes, or until the tomato sauce is bubbling (but not watery) and the vegan cheese is melted. When finished, remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

Notes

  • Prep ahead: Prep the eggplant ahead of time by baking and breading it (steps 1-3) up to two days ahead of time, then assemble the ingredients before the final bake.
  • Leftovers and storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat in pan or in the microwave.
  • Freezing instructions: To freeze, cut the eggplant parmesan into squares and bake in an airtight container or freezer-friendly bag. To thaw, simply remove it to the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and then reheat in the oven or on the stovetop.
  • Nutrition notes: This recipe is vegan and is a good source of fiber, potassium, and other nutrients. To make it gluten free, use gluten free bread crumbs. To make it nut free, use sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds in the breadcrumb mixture.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 299kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 585mg, Potassium: 896mg, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 433IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 157mg, Iron: 4mg