Eggplant parmigiana (parmigiana di melanzane) is the ultimate comfort food. In the US, the eggplant disks are usually coated in breadcrumbs or flour, but this lighter version more closely resembles the original "alla parmigiana" which hails from Sicily. This Sicilian-style version omits the breadcrumbs, egg, and flour for a lighter, rustic dish that is big on eggplant flavor.
I love eggplant parm no matter which way it is made. Sometimes I'll make the Neapolitan style with a dusting of flour, egg, and Pecorino Romano cheese. Other times I opt for the Italian-American version with a thicker breadcrumb batter. But when I'm in the mood for something simple with fewer ingredients, this no breadcrumb eggplant parmigiana is my go-to.
This version does not contain any flour or breadcrumbs so it is also the version I recommend for those who are gluten-free. It's every bit as delicious as the other versions, and if you happen to be a lover of eggplant, this version may turn out to be your favorite.
Since there are no eggs, breadcrumbs, or flour to mask the flavor, the eggplant is free to shine on its own, and that it does. Paired only with a light marinara, mozzarella, and fresh basil, the complexity and depth of the eggplant really comes through as the predominant flavor.
Besides being the most flavorful of the eggplant parm dishes, I have also found that the no breadcrumb eggplant parm is simply the easiest way to make eggplant parm. It's easier to make because there are fewer ingredients, and easier to clean up because there is no flour/breadcrumb and egg station to clean up. This makes for a wonderful weeknight dish.
Another simple eggplant dish you'll love is this roasted eggplant with tomato sauce and Ricotta Salata recipe. It's even simpler than this Sicilian-style eggplant parm, but let's get back to what you're here for!
How to make eggplant parmigiana, Sicilian style
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Cut the eggplant into ½"disks and lay them out on a baking tray. Salt the disks aggressively.
- Place another tray on top of the eggplant and weigh it down with weights such as extra tomato cans. This will help the eggplant release its water.
- Grate the mozzarella cheese. You can also slice it if desired. Pro tip: freezing the mozzarella a bit will help make it easier to grate.
- In a saucepan, heat up the prepared marinara sauce.
- After 90 minutes, rinse the salt off the disks, or remove with wet paper towels. Using clean kitchen towels, or paper towels, dry the eggplant well after removing the salt.
- Over medium heat, fry the eggplant disks in olive oil (about ¼" deep) until crisp on both sides. About 3-5 minutes per side. Place the fried eggplant disks on paper towels or a wire rack. Blot the disks with paper towels to remove excess oil.
- Add a thick layer of marinara sauce to the bottom of a large baking dish. Add 1 layer of eggplant, followed by more sauce, torn basil leaves, shredded mozzarella, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Repeat in layers to the top of the baking dish.
- Place remaining mozzarella on top and bake at 325f for 50-60 minutes. If desired, broil for 2 minutes right at the end. Alternatively, bake without mozzarella on top at 400f for 30 minutes.
Once done, remove the no breadcrumb eggplant parmigiana from the oven and allow to settle for about 20-30 minutes before serving. This is really important!
What to serve with it
The cheese can certainly make this a heavy dish, and while eggplant is technically a vegetable, I always err on the side of serving an additional vegetable alongside eggplant parm.
You can also use the extra marinara sauce and toss with some spaghetti or any other pasta of your choice.
If you want to go for a full Sicilian-style meal, you can also serve this alongside swordfish with olives and capers.
A tall glass of Chianti, Sangiovese, or Primitivo would pair perfectly with eggplant parm.
Love eggplant? Make these!
It is no secret that Italians love their eggplant dishes. And it's easy to see why. Its unique flavor adds a Mediterranean flair to any dish, and it's a pretty versatile ingredient.
For example, if you want a meatless "meatball", these polpette di melanza aka eggplant meatballs are perfection.
If you want to make an authentic, classic Sicilian pasta, look no further than Pasta alla Norma, which combines roasted eggplant, sweet marinara, fresh basil and salty ricotta salata.
If you're looking for a dish that will complement any antipasto spread, Caponata is the way to go. Sweet raisins, crunchy pine nuts, salty olives and capers marry with the eggplant in a sweet tomato sauce. Slather it all over toasted slices of Italian bread for a crostini appetizer.
These are just a few of the eggplant recipes here on Sip and Feast. If you'd like to see more, simply type "eggplant" into the search bar for more. Or check out this 11 recipe and counting playlist over on our YouTube channel.
If you’ve enjoyed this no breadcrumb, Sicilian-style eggplant parmigiana recipe or any recipe on this site please let us know in the comments. We would love to hear how you did and it’s nice to show others as well. Thanks!
The full YouTube video for this recipe is directly below in the recipe card.
- 2 large eggplant sliced into ¼" disks
- 3 cups marinara sauce marinara sauce
- ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated
- 1 pound mozzarella cheese shredded
- ¼ cup basil
- 1 cup olive oil divided
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Cut eggplant into ¼"disks, layout on a baking tray, and salt aggressively.
- After 90 minutes discard eggplant water. Wash off the remaining salt or remove with wet paper towels from the eggplant. Dry eggplant well after removing salt.
- Fry eggplant in olive oil over medium heat (about ¼" deep) until crisp on both sides. About 3-5 minutes per side. Alternatively - oil eggplants and roast in a parchment paper-lined baking tray at 400f for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Blot eggplants of excess oil with paper towels and begin assembling parmigiana.
- Place a thick layer of marinara sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish. Add 1 layer of eggplant, more sauce, torn basil leaves, shredded mozzarella, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Repeat in layers to the top of the baking dish.
- Place remaining mozzarella on top and bake at 325f for 50-60 minutes. If desired broil for 2 minutes right at the end. Alternatively, bake without mozzarella on top at 400f for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let the eggplant parm rest for 20-30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- Make sure to remove all of the salt before frying. The salt removes excess water from the eggplant.
- After frying be sure to let drain on a wire rack or paper towels. In addition, make sure to blot all excess oil off the eggplant before assembling the parmigiana.
- Let the eggplant parmigiana rest for at least 20-30 minutes before serving. The sauce and excess oil will absorb into the eggplant and prevent the dish from becoming too runny.