This is the absolute best Vegan Eggplant Parmesan! Layers of breaded eggplant are smothered in marinara and vegan cheese before being baked to perfection.
So cheesy and delicious, this Vegan Eggplant Parmesan is my take on an Italian classic. The slices of baked eggplant slices are covered in marinara sauce and vegan parmesan before everything is baked to perfection. Can it get any more comforting than that?
Dredging eggplant slices in a mixture of crushed cornflakes (crazy, right!?), cashews, and Italian seasonings takes this normally rather bland vegetable way up a notch to make each bite extra crunchy and savory. The slices tenderize and soften on the inside and crisp up on the outside as they bake. The layers of tomato sauce and vegan cheese don’t hurt either!
This better-than-average weeknight dinner is even more delicious with Caesar salad and garlic bread on the side. On those extra cold days, layer the baked eggplant over a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce and vegan ricotta. You’ll warm right up with this cozy meal!
How to make vegan eggplant parmesan
First, we have to coat and bake the sliced eggplant. Just like my Crispy Tofu Nuggets, the cornflake coating will crisp up the outside as the eggplant tenderizes on the inside.
- Add all of the dry mixture ingredients to a food processor or blender.
- Pulse until you end up with very fine crumbs. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
- Whisk the soy milk and flour together in a bowl, then dip each slice of eggplant inside.
- Finish the dredge by dipping the milk-coated eggplant into the dry crumbs.
Place them on a prepared baking sheet, then bake.
Ready to assemble? Great! First, spread some marinara sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish. Add half of your baked eggplant slices. Pour more marinara sauce on top, then a layer of shredded vegan mozzarella cheese. Repeat until you run out of eggplant, marinara, and cheese.
Bake the casserole uncovered until the cheese melts. Serve with a hefty sprinkle of vegan parmesan and fresh basil and enjoy!
Tips and substitutions
- Is eggplant too bitter for your taste? You can draw out the bitter-tasting liquid by lining the slices of eggplant on paper towels and sprinkling each one with a teaspoon of salt. Let them sit for 1 hour, then rinse the slices under some water and pat them dry. I truly didn’t find it necessary though.
- Nut free – Instead of using cashews in the dry mixture, replace them with sunflower seeds.
- Gluten free – Simply swap the all purpose flour for your favorite gluten free flour.
- Don’t want to use cornflakes? The cornflake crumbs are truly the best option, but you can use panko breadcrumbs if that’s all you have at home.
- Peeling the eggplant – You can leave the peel on or remove it. Eggplant peel is completely edible, so the choice is up to you!
Looking for more comforting vegan mains?
Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
Bake the Eggplant
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 2 large baking sheets with oil and set aside.
- In a food processor or high powered blender, pulse all the dry mixture ingredients together until they resemble fine crumbs. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy milk and flour until smooth. Set aside.
- Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices. No need to peel the eggplant unless you want to.
- Dip each piece of eggplant in the milk/flour mixture, then the crumb mixture and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then flip each piece and bake for 15 more minutes.
Assemble Eggplant Parmesan
- Get out a 9×13 inch casserole dish and spread 1/2 cup of marinara sauce over the bottom.
- Add 1/2 the baked eggplant, overlapping a little bit if needed to fit. Top with 1/2 marinara sauce and 1/2 the vegan mozzarella cheese. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant, marinara and cheese. Bake, uncovered (still at 400), for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melty and warm.
- Sprinkle vegan parmesan, if using, and fresh basil. Serve and enjoy!
Make sure to use quality eggplant that is fresh for best results.
Serves about 6-8 depending on if it’s a side or main dish, but it can go further if serving with pasta.
Don’t want to use cornflakes? Substitute panko breadcrumbs, instead. But cornflake crumbs are the best here!
- For gluten free, use gluten free all purpose flour.
- For nut free, substitute sunflower seeds for the cashews.