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4.74 from 26 votes

Easy Eggplant Parmesan (30 minutes)

This easy Eggplant Parmesan recipe has no breading, no frying and no pre-salting. It's unfussy, healthy and simply delicious. Good shortcuts cut the time down to 30 minutes.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
resting time5 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Vegetarian dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings (change as needed): 4
Author: Cheryl


  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant (1 medium-large or two medium-small ones)
  • 1 1/2 pounds Plum or Roma tomatoes (about 4-5 tomatoes) Note 1
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil, divided (or 1 tbsp plus oil spray)
  • 1/3 cup Basil Pesto Note 2
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch sugar
  • 6 ounces Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced (or 1 1/2 cups shredded)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garnish: chopped fresh basil about 2 tbsp


  • HEAT BBQ GRILL to 450-500 F/232-260c. This will be Medium-High heat on larger grills and High on smaller grills. See Note 3 for oven instructions.
  • GRILL EGGPLANT: Slice off both ends of eggplant. Cut of purple skin if you like, but not necessary. Cut 1/4 inch slices. Brush (don't drizzle) both sides of each slice with olive oil. Alternatively, spray both sides with an oil like Pam. This will use less oil. Lightly sprinkle with salt. Grill for 3 minutes per side or until eggplant is browned and tender.
  • SAUTE TOMATOES: While eggplant is grilling, roughly chop tomatoes. Heat a sauce pan to medium high and add 1 tablespoon oil. Squeeze some of the juice and seeds from tomatoes, then add to sauce pan. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper (about 1/4 tsp). Add a pinch of sugar to enhance the flavor if desired. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates, about 6-8 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in Pesto.
  • ASSEMBLE EGGPLANT PARMESAN: You will make 2 layers. Line a pan (that can go on a grill) with foil sprayed with oil, or parchment (Note 4) - for easy cleanup. I use a 9 x 13" baking pan (it will only cover the middle - about half - or a 10" cast iron skillet.
    Layer 1: Place 2 tablespoons tomato mixture on the bottom (covering about 10 inches by 8 inches). Start with a layer of eggplant (use half the slices, slightly overlapping), top with half the tomato mixture, then half the Mozzarella.
    Layer 2: Repeat for 2nd layer. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
  • GRILL EGGPLANT PARMESAN: Place pan on grill. Close lid. l lower the heat to low or medium on the grill under the pan. Grill, uncovered for 10-12 minutes until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown on top. Sprinkle with chopped basil. Let sit 5 minutes to set, then serve immediately.


  1. To use canned tomatoes instead of fresh: Drain a 28 oz can of whole tomatoes (use San Marzano if possible). Squeeze tomatoes over sink or bowl to get rid of some of the water and seeds. Sauté as per recipe instructions. 
  2. To make homemade Pesto: Use a store bought basil pesto or make our 5 minute Classic Basil Pesto: Process in food processor until smooth: 1 cup packed Basil leaves, 1/4 grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1/4 olive oil. (makes 1/2 cup).
  3. To bake Eggplant Parmesan (instead of grilling):
    • Bake eggplant slices: Place oiled/sprayed eggplant slices on a large pan and bake them for 20 minutes in a 450F oven, turning once half way through. 
    • Bake assembled Eggplant Parmesan: After assembling, bake uncovered in oven heated to 450F for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and started to brown. Let sit for 5 minutes to set. 
  4. Parchment Paper: Most is good up to temperatures of 425-450F, but Cooks Illustrated use it at temperatures up to 500F. Don't let it overhang too much over the pan (it it turns brown on edges, though, don't worry).
  5. Make Ahead: Make and assemble the Eggplant Parmesan ahead. This can be done a day ahead and refrigerated.  Grill (or bake) just before serving. 
Nutrition values contain full fat cheese. You can reduce fat and calories by using lower fat cheeses. 
Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 568mg | Potassium: 825mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 2214IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 350mg | Iron: 1mg