Do you have a small eggplant on hand that you aren’t sure what to do with? Make these delicious eggplant parmesan bites; they’re great as an appetizer or a light lunch! With this method, we’re baking the breaded eggplant before topping with the sauce and cheese and baking again. This helps prevent the breading from getting soggy, leaving you with eggplant parm perfection!
I’m kind of amazed that I have not featured an eggplant parmesan recipe on the site before now. It is pretty much one of my favorite things.
I am so enamored with the deliciousness that is eggplant parm that I have been known to snarf the microwave versions when I am short on time. Here is the ingredients list of the brand that is most readily available in my stores (via Rosina Foods):
“EGGPLANT, WATER, TOMATOES, CHEESE BLEND (MOZZARELLA CHEESE [PASTEURIZED MILK, CHEESE CULTURES, SALT, ENZYMES], ROMANO CHEESE [PASTEURIZED PART SKIM COW’S MILK, SALT, CHEESE CULTURES, ENZYMES]), SOYBEAN OIL, BREAD CRUMBS (WHEAT FLOUR, SALT, YEAST), ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), SUGAR, ONIONS, SALT, SPICES, DRIED WHOLE EGGS, BLACK PEPPER, GARLIC POWDER. ”
Yup, this product definitely counts as an ultra-processed food. By making my eggplant parmesan bites instead, you can skip the soybean oil, refined flour, and sugar. (There’s only a little sugar in the microwave eggplant parm, but there’s really no need for it here at all!)
If you have a bigger eggplant, you could make a more traditional eggplant parm versus these smaller bites. You could also substitute the wheat germ in my recipe for whole grain breadcrumbs. Feel free to experiment with what you have on hand!
Here’s why this recipe is one of my favorite ways to make eggplant parmesan
First of all, I have completely skipped the frying of classic eggplant parmesan by baking the breaded eggplant on a sheet pan. Eggplant becomes a veritable oil sponge when you fry it. Baking it is a great way to reduce the amount of added oil used and helps to lighten the recipe.
Second, sometimes the breading becomes soggy in eggplant parm recipes, particularly when it is baked in the sauce. I’ve seen some cooks sidestep this issue by skipping breading the eggplant all together. However, it doesn’t feel like true eggplant parmesan to me unless it has been breaded.
So, what we’re doing here is allowing the breaded eggplant to crisp up in the oven. Only then will we top it with a measured amount of sauce and cheese. The edges of the eggplant won’t get mushy with sauce, just how I like it.
Finally, most eggplant parmesan recipes use white flour. White flour is delicious but is typically enriched or fortified because it has been so depleted of nutrients. Since I try to limit my use of white flour, I am using a combination of wheat germ and ground flax for the breading instead.
And yes, wheat germ does count as a refined grain. However, it is essentially some of the “good stuff” that is removed from white flour.
I talked more about wheat germ in my baked popcorn chicken salad bowl recipe. If you want to stick to whole grains only, whole grain breadcrumbs should work well here. I’d try a whole grain panko for an extra crisp coating!
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The calorie information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to this post. Let’s get cooking!
Eggplant Parmesan Bites (Healthy Baked Recipe!)
- 1 small eggplant, cut into ¼"-½" slices (mine weighed 8.6 ounces and I got 16 slices)
- 1 large egg
- ½ c wheat germ
- 1 T ground flax seed
- 2 T grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ t dried oregano
- ½ t dried basil
- ¼ t garlic powder
- ¼ t onion powder
- cooking oil spray of choice
- ¾ c marinara sauce (choose one with no added sugar and no added oil, if possible)
- 2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (approximately ½ cup)
- 1 t Parmesan cheese (for topping)
- basil or oregano (fresh or dried, for optional garnish)
- Note: Some people salt and rinse their eggplant slices before cooking to help remove the bitterness. I have never done this with the eggplants I purchase, but feel free to salt and rinse if you usually do.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- After slicing your eggplant, beat the egg in a small bowl. Mix the wheat germ, flax, 2T Parmesan, oregano, basil, garlic powder, and onion powder in another bowl.
- Mist a large dark baking sheet with the oil.
- Dip each slice of eggplant in the egg and then in the wheat germ mixture. Try to coat the eggplant on all sides, then place the slices in a single layer on your baking sheet. (I used pretty much all of the egg and all of the wheat germ mixture.)
- After breading all of the eggplant slices, mist them with the oil spray. Bake the slices in the heated oven for 10 minutes. Then flip them and bake an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the eggplant slices from the oven and top each with ½-1T of the marinara sauce. Distribute the shredded mozzarella cheese evenly between each slice, then add a pinch of the remaining Parmesan to each.
- Bake the slices for an additional 5-10 minutes, giving the cheese time to melt. If you are not eating them as bites, more cheese and/or sauce can be added (if desired). Garnish with fresh or dried basil or oregano.
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). These eggplant parmesan bites make a light veggie-packed lunch. To add more volume without packing on the calories, consider serving the bites over some lightly wilted spinach or other greens. If higher protein and energy is what you’re after, add a legume-based pasta and additional tomato sauce. Bon appetit!
Do you love eggplant parmesan as much as I do? If so, I’d be tickled if you tried my version and let me know what you think of it! Drop me a comment below or tag me on social media @SummerYuleRDN. Thank you!