This vegan eggplant parmesan is so rich and creamy that you won’t believe it contains no cheese or dairy and is oil-free, too!
I haven’t had eggplant parmesan in so many years that I’ve literally forgotten what it tastes like, so I can’t promise that this tastes like the “real thing,” but I can promise that it is delicious–rich and creamy inside and a little crunchy outside.
The method I used is taken from a recipe by Bryanna Clark Grogan that I found online. Actually, I messed up the layering a little, but I think I like the results. When putting the dish together, I forgot to add the second layer of bread crumbs and wound up putting them on top, where they browned nicely and got a little crunchy. Try it my mistaken way or put most of the bread crumbs inside and save a few for the top.
If you don’t have vegan parmesan, feel free to leave it off. The cheese sauce provides most of the flavor anyway. Or instead of parmesan, try finely ground almonds; just put a quarter cup of almonds in your food processor and pulse to finely chop.
If you can’t eat soy, be sure to try my Soy-Free Vegan Eggplant Parmesan. And check out my 50 other eggplant recipes!
Vegan Eggplant “Parmesan”
- 1 large eggplant sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 2 pieces of whole grain bread toasted and made into breadcrumbs
- 2-3 tablespoons soy parmesan or 2 tbsp. ground almonds mixed with 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- fresh basil leaves chopped or torn
- olive oil spray optional
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup extra-firm silken tofu
- 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons cashew butter or tahini
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt optional
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 teaspoon corn starch
- Salt the eggplant slices and put them in a colander to drain.
- Prepare the tomato sauce by sautéing the onion in a non-stick saucepan until it becomes translucent (you may use a little water if you like). Add the garlic and sauté for one more minute. Add the remaining tomato sauce ingredients, and cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Prepare the cheese sauce: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Blend again right before using to make sure that the ingredients haven’t separated.
- Rinse the eggplant slices and pat them dry with paper towels. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the slices on it (you may have to do this in two batches). Place under the broiler. Watch carefully, and remove when the slices start to brown, about 3 minutes.
- Assemble the casserole: Preheat the oven to 350. Spray or wipe an 8×8-inch non-metal baking dish with a small bit of olive oil or line it with parchment paper.
- Place half of the eggplant slices on the bottom of the dish, edges overlapping. Sprinkle with half the breadcrumbs. Spoon half the tomato sauce and pour half the cheese sauce over the breadcrumbs and sprinkle lightly with soy parmesan. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients (reserving some bread crumbs for on top, as mentioned above).
- Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes, until slightly browned on top. Sprinkle with fresh basil just before serving.
Nutritional info is approximate.
Thanks to Bryanna for helping me figure out how to put together a dish I haven’t eaten in so long!
JessicaJune 14, 2011 at 9:52 pm
“Rinse the eggplant slices and pat them dry with paper towels. Spray a baking sheet lightly with olive oil and place the slices on it (you may have to do this in two batches). Spray the tops lightly and place under the broiler. Watch carefully, and remove when the slices start to brown, about 3 minutes.”
ACK! I rinsed the eggplant, but forgot to brown the slices first before assembling the casserole… It’s in the oven now. I’ll leave it in another 10 minutes to try and compensate. I followed the recipe to the letter, using fresh-picked eggplants from my garden! Hope it turns out ok….
JessicaJune 14, 2011 at 10:53 pm
Turned out great! I ended up baking it for 40 mins at 350º uncovered.
I did add a roasted red bell pepper to the tomato sauce. And I baked it in a 9×13 inch casserole dish instead of the square one.
TamaraJuly 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm
In order to boost the carb content, I added whole-wheat lasagne noodles between the layers. Delish!!
AmandaJuly 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm
just made this. absolutely amazing! the cheesey sauce tasted just like ricotta cheese after cooking. I had to cook mine much longer than listed though.
BiancaAugust 2, 2011 at 7:22 pm
I am pretty sure that this is the most delicious vegan eggplant parm I have ever eaten. That cheese sauce is to die for. I added a bunch of veggies to my sauce and put lemon zest and fresh herbs in my bread crumb mix.
Thanks for another wonderful recipe. You always come through.
Angela ChanAugust 17, 2011 at 3:03 pm
Susan … can you tell me how many ounces 1/2 cup extra-firm silken tofu is?
ps. made your peanut butter cups last night. Heaven! I’m hooked.
SusanVAugust 17, 2011 at 10:39 pm
Angela, I would guess that 1/2 cup is about 6 ounces of tofu, but I haven’t weighed it. It should work in this recipe, though.
Get Skinny Go VeganAugust 18, 2011 at 11:07 am
This was seriously my favorite dish for YEARS when I was veggie, and I too, haven’t made it since vegan. Maybe once or twice, now I can’t remember. But NOT since gluten free. Think I might have to break down and buy the brown rice or millet bread just for this.
EllieOctober 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm
This tasted awesome, but I think I broiled the eggplant for too long and it became very soft. The texture of the cooked dish was a little too mushy for me, but I will try it again because the favor of the cheese sauce was fabulous!
islandmommyOctober 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm
I don’t like cooking with soy so I substituted 1 1/2 cups garbanzo beans for the tofu and soy milk. I used an extra teaspoon onion powder instead of the nutritional yeast. Used natural peanut butter instead of tahini and doubled the ground almonds. Tasted fantastic! I also tried it with and without added olive oil for sauteing and cooking the eggplant, it tasted good both ways. I skipped the salting and rinsing of the eggplant. Great recipe, thanks!
ColeenNovember 1, 2011 at 4:33 am
I’ve been vegan for a year now and Eggplant parm was my favorite dish, I do not miss alot of foods but I do crave this one.
So I gave this recipe a try the other day and it is AMAZING.
I can’t thank you enough for the recipe. Really enjoyed it.
MaureenNovember 16, 2011 at 7:09 am
can’t see a direct contact link so am posting this here. I was searching for vegan parmesan recipes and found this link which to me is y our recipe! http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/912103-Vegan-Eggplant-Parmesan – in case you wanted to know or maybe already do know :).
SanomaJanuary 8, 2012 at 12:28 pm
Hi! I’ve just started using the recipe box feature. However, I only see the first 4 recipes I added when I’m in my recipe box. I don’t see a way to go to another page, only to “clear all recipes”. Thinking something went wrong when I tried to add the other recipes, I’ve found them again (like this vegan eggplant parmesan, one of my favorites) and it asks me if I want to remove it from my recipe box, so it should already be in there. If it’s in my recipe box, why can’t I see it when I’m in there? What am I doing wrong?
Susan VoisinJanuary 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm
This sounds like a glitch in the program–you’re not doing anything wrong. See if clicking “remove from recipe box” and then “add to recipe box” makes any difference. Sometimes these computer things just don’t play well together, so there may be a conflict between your computer settings and the software that runs the recipe box.
Susan VoisinJanuary 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm
Oh, one more thing. Make sure you’re logged in (assuming you have a user account).
Sorry for the inconvenience!
Jen in CoJanuary 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm
This was a mega-hit with all five of us tonight! I subbed cannellini beans for the tofu and used So Delicious coconut milk. Oh, and doubled the recipe for my hungry crew; it fit nicely in a 9 x 13 pan. Thanks as always, Susan!
ChristinaFebruary 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm
Made this one too! Very good and will definitely make it again! Being an Italian and raised eating foods such as eggplant parm I will say it wasn’t quite what mom put on the table but enjoyable none the less! Susan, have you ever considered pitching a show The Food Network? They sure could use a vegan cooking show and so far your recipes are simply amazing!
Sue BairFebruary 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm
Amazing. Just amazing. Thanks!
Bobbie LeighApril 24, 2012 at 9:48 am
I have never been a fan of Eggplant, but I tried your recipe last night and it was WONDERFUL! My husband and I had to put it away before we ate the entire pan. I am very new to the Vegan Diet and I like that your recipes are simple yet filling. One of my concerns is always feeling hungry but both of us left the dinner table very satisfied!
EvelynApril 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm
I just made this dish and it’s now baking in the oven! It smells delicious…I am sooo happy I am a vegan!
carendJune 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm
Cooking this in my oven right now! It smells so very very good 🙂 I had to replace the 2 tbsp. cashew butter or tahini with raw (not roasted) organic cashews. I am using my Vitamix so I thought it would be okay! Also replaced the tomato sauce with 365’s Fat Free Pasta Sauce from Whole Foods. I will comment again after I get to taste it! Cannot wait!
RobinAugust 3, 2012 at 9:37 pm
I really loved this recipe. I also think the tomato sauce is fantastic to have with a simple pasta dish. Thank you. This is a keeper!
BethanyAugust 18, 2012 at 12:55 am
I was searching for an eggplant recipe & I’m glad I found yours! I made it tonight & it was AMAZING! Even my husband who isn’t a fan of eggplant loved it. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂
MallorySeptember 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm
love this, the second time I made it I tried using crushed up tortilla chips instead of bread crumbs to make it gluten free, and now I’ve turned into this casserole dish I make all the time, by also adding zucchini and bell peppers to the vegetable layers. I use regular firm tofu in the cheese sauce, and ground up cashews for the parmesan cheese. Sometimes I add chipotle and other chili powders to give it more of a spicy mexican flavor.
TerrySeptember 29, 2012 at 4:55 pm
first i must say i have made many of your recipes and love them. I am not a full fledged vegan but being allergic to many foods i have come to really enjoy eating this way. My question is I used to love foods that had a bread crumb coating but i cannot have eggs. have you ever used silken tofu as an egg replacer and then dip into panko bread crumbs and bake it? I would love any suggestions that you may have on using this method. thanks again for all the great recipe ideas
CarolOctober 15, 2012 at 7:46 pm
I made this last night for dinner and it was delicious! I made a few substitutions and it came out great. Thanks for the recipe!
Melissa LangOctober 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm
We loved this recipe! If I could find this kind of delicious foods in restaurants it would be a snap to eat plant-based all the time. The cheese sauce was delicious, as was the marinara, in their own right. The combo was ultimate comfort food. I would it longer than the recipe suggested until the cheese-sauce set up. Will make this again!
RachelNovember 11, 2012 at 8:34 pm
I’ve never had good luck with cooking eggplant, but I went ahead and tried this – it turned out awesome!! Thanks for the great recipe!
(followed link from: http://www.vegheadfamily.com/)
BarbaraDecember 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm
I made this tonight and thought it was good. My only problem is the question of whether to peel the eggplant or not. I don’t normally peel eggplant, but the skin seemed to be an issue for me in this recipe. I’m wondering if I did something wrong or if I but I just messed up by not peeling it. Your thoughts would be appreciated! And thanks for coming up with a great vegan alternative!
Esther JMarch 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm
No, peeling is not required. In fact, I made eggplant parm loads of times before becoming vegan and never peeled the eggplant once (and actually have never had it peeled in this dish).
And thanks, Susan! Very, very good. I sub’d cannellini beans and coconut milk for the tofu and soy milk, respectively (both what I had on hand). Also, I used 1/4 cup of cashews for the cashew butter. It turned out splendid.
(And I thought I couldn’t have my beloved eggplant parm again. Leave it to you to show me how. :))
Mary @ Fit and FedJanuary 9, 2013 at 1:04 am
Looks great! I have both soft and firm silken tofu in my cupboard but not extra-firm, it’s not at my grocery stores. Sounds like a good thing to have for this kind of recipe, though, but I’d be interested to know what other kind of tofu would be the best substitute. I might try it with the firm silken tofu and omit the soy milk to make the recipe a little firmer.
Susan VoisinJanuary 9, 2013 at 8:35 am
The firm silken should work fine without any changes. I use firm and extra-firm interchangeably in all recipes.
LynneMay 3, 2013 at 11:44 pm
My daughter’s only complaint was, “What did you put in this. It tastes like cheese!” I think that means it’s a repeat.
DebbieKatMay 4, 2013 at 8:50 pm
For those who are trying to eat gluten free, I have substituted almond meal for bread crumbs (Trader Joe’s carries it). 🙂
EileenMay 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm
I made the eggplant for dinner the other night. It didn’t taste like eggplant Parmesan but my hubby and I really enjoyed it. Will definitely make again. Thanks for another great recipe!
TalitaSeptember 19, 2013 at 4:31 am
Greetings from South Africa
I am making this dish for the third time tonight. It is my favourite vegan supper by far! My vegetarian husband loves it too:) I followed the recipe exactly as is and it is perfect.
SarahOctober 13, 2013 at 11:53 am
I was really skeptical about this one, but I have loved so many of your recipes, and I had extra eggplant, so I decided to give it a try. I used my favorite jarred tomato sauce, and for the “cheese” sauce instead of the first 3 ingredients I used an entire box of silken soft tofu and a tsp or so of vegetable bouillion because that is what i had on hand. And I left the “soy” parmesan because I didn’t have any. Other than that– I followed the recipe exactly. When I tasted the “cheese” sauce before it cooked, I was even more skeptical. I have been a vegetarian most of my life, and an aspiring vegan, but I still make the real-deal eggplant parmesean on a regular basis and did not think I would like it. But I went ahead and baked it- and WOW! I am seriously impressed! My 15 year old carnivore and I both really think the “cheese” sauce once baked tastes and feels exactly like ricotta cheese, which earned this a “thumbs up” from him — and he doesn’t even like eggplant! This recipe is definitely a keeper. 🙂
Helen HOctober 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm
Just made this twice in two days! I modified slightly, adding firm tofu, broccoli, red peppers, and kalamata olives to the tomato sauce. Divine! The eggplant was still a little uncooked, though — maybe I need to broil it a bit longer next time.
caitlin parysApril 7, 2014 at 10:12 pm
I’m a huge fan of your site! This is hands down the best Italian casserole I’ve ever had! Usually vegan attempts at cheese are not good but the way this tofu cooks up it tastes just like ricotta.
JenJune 23, 2014 at 7:17 pm
This was soooo good! Thanks!