This cheesy eggplant bake is a really easy and non-fiddly version of a classic eggplant parmesan, with roasted aubergines, rich tomato sauce, and gooey cheese.
I could truly eat this cheesy eggplant bake every single day. It’s layered up with slices of melt-in-your-mouth roasted eggplant, rich tomato sauce, and two kinds of gooey cheese. Serve it up with a slice of garlic bread for dipping, and it’s heaven on a plate!
By the way: I use the words ‘eggplant’ and ‘aubergine’ interchangeably in this post. ‘Aubergine’ is just the British word for ‘eggplant’. Although I’d usually use the word aubergine, I do lean towards ‘eggplant’ when I’m talking about an established dish like eggplant parmesan.
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Easy eggplant parmesan
Eggplant parmesan is one of my favourite dishes of all time, but the cooking method I see most often can be a bit of a faff.
A lot of versions of eggplant parmesan involve individually breading slices of aubergine, by dipping in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Then the slices are fried or baked until they’re crispy. Then, you layer it all up with sauce and cheese, and bake again.
This cheesy eggplant bake ends up tasting almost identical, but it skips the fiddly step of breading the slices of aubergine individually.
It’s eggplant parmesan, but a very low effort version. Hurrah!
How to make cheesy eggplant bake
Step 1: Slice and roast the aubergines
Slice up a couple of eggplants, and roast them until they’re soft.
Don’t skip this step! I know it sounds tempting to just use your eggplants raw, but it’s 100% worth pre-roasting them. Raw eggplants release liquid as they cook, which will make your tomato sauce thin and watery.
Instead, roasted aubergine becomes soft, and truly melts in your mouth. It’s one of my favourite roasted vegetables of all time.
You can pan-fry the aubergine slices instead if you prefer, but I prefer roasting. It takes a little longer, but it’s entirely hands-off, so you can sit and put your feet up.
Even though the aubergine still needs pre-cooking, it’s 100% easier and less fiddly than having to dip each piece individually into flour, egg and breadcrumbs.
Step 2: Layer it up
Next, it’s time to add those slices of roasted aubergine to a baking dish, along with your favourite tomato sauce (this slow cooker tomato sauce is spectacular, but just use a shop-bought sauce if you prefer!).
Don’t forget to add plenty of cheese – both fresh, creamy mozzarella, and grated cheddar. These two give the ultimate combination of flavour, saltiness, creaminess, and gooeyness.
Layer everything up, alternating between eggplant, sauce, and cheese. You’ll get a bit of everything in every scoop.
Step 3: Add a crispy topping, and bake
Sprinkle a little extra cheese on top, along with some breadcrumbs. These will help the top of the eggplant bake to crisp up nicely.
Then just pop the whole thing in the oven for another half an hour or so, until the cheese is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling up around the edges.
How to serve cheesy eggplant bake
This eggplant bake could either be served as a main course, or a side dish.
To be honest, it’s so insanely delicious that you’ll probably want to make it the main focus of your plate, rather than merely something on the side. We just had it with some garlic bread and a bit of salad, and it was utterly perfect.
If you do want a more substantial meal, it would go really well with some spaghetti, cooked simply in tomato sauce. A cheesy tofu meatball or two would be great too! You could turn it into a real Italian feast.
Some aubergine FAQs:
Do you need to salt eggplant before use?
In years gone by, aubergines tasted quite bitter, and salting reduced that bitterness. You’d just sprinkle salt onto the slices of aubergine, leave them for a while, then rinse and cook.
However, these days aubergines just aren’t that bitter. They’re bred to be tasty, even without salting. So that’s a step that is no longer necessary – another win for lazy cooks everywhere!
Do you need to peel eggplant?
You don’t need to peel eggplant before use, especially when you’re serving it roasted, like in this cheesy eggplant bake. As it cooks, the skin softens right up, and you barely even notice it in the finished dish. In fact, it gives some support for the middle of the aubergine, which becomes even softer as it roasts.
Cheesy eggplant bake
- 2 medium aubergines (eggplants)
- Spray oil
- 350 g (~ 12 oz) good quality tomato pasta sauce
- 75 g grated cheddar cheese (~3/4 cup when grated)
- 125 g (~ 4 1/2 oz) ball of fresh mozzarella
- 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
- Cut the eggplants into 1cm slices. Lay them in a single layer on a baking tray, and spray each side lightly with oil. Roast at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F) for around 30 minutes, turning them over halfway. They should be fairly soft but not overly crispy.
- Add a spoonful of tomato sauce to the bottom of a baking dish (mine was a 6 inch circle, but anything similar will be fine), and spread it around. Layer up the slices of roasted eggplant, the grated cheddar and the fresh mozzarella with the remaining tomato sauce. I made 3 layers of each in total, but it doesn’t really matter. Top the dish with any remaining cheese, and the breadcrumbs.
- Return to the oven for a further 30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and crispy, and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/2 the recipe.