Crispy Baked Eggplant Cutlets

crispy eggplant

Throughout the years I’ve pretty much made eggplant every way you can think of. It’s one of my top favorite vegetables and my whole family loves it too.

Eggplant is so versatile, you can do so much with it. One delicious way to eat it is in the form of a cutlet, which is a slice of eggplant dipped in egg and breadcrumbs, usually fried, and yes I have fried them many times throughout the years.

Eggplant can soak up oil like a sponge when frying, not to mention your stove will get totaled, plus it’s a long process of standing there while they’re frying, a labor of love especially if your making a bunch.

prepped eggplant

You can get the same crispy effect when baking them where the eggplant flavor really shines threw, they won’t soak up the oil like a sponge, they’re easier to make and much, much healthier.

I have to warn you though, you need to make a generous amount, because once they come out of the oven they can disappear quickly right off the baking sheet. I will confess, I’ am so guilty of that!

crispy baked eggplant

You can serve these crispy gems as a side dish, an appetizer, for lunch or just a snack you can grab out of the fridge, you can eat them hot or cold. If you like to dip, warm up some marinara or make a lemon aioli. It’s all good and you can’t go wrong any which way.

plated eggplant

You can also use them as your base for making eggplant Parmesan. The other day I made some simple spaghetti with marinara and plopped a few of these cutlets right on top, so delicious!

crispy and baked

I hope you try my crispy, baked version next time you’re thinking about cooking up some eggplant.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Crispy Baked Eggplant Cutlets
 
Eliminate the oil and mess on your stove and make these delicious crispy baked eggplant cutlets!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 slender eggplants, the fatter ones have too many seeds ,peel the eggplants in a zebra pattern, basically alternating about one inch sections that are peeled and not peeled, then slice into half inch rounds
  • 5 eggs, whisked
  • I don't have exact amount of breadcrumbs, you be the judge, you may need to add more or less depending on the size of your eggplant slices
  • olive oil
  • grated pecorino romano cheese
  • granulated garlic, parsley, salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. No need to salt the eggplant and let it sweat, I don't see the need to do that anymore.
  2. You can use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs or plain, but for both I like to dress it up and add a cup of grated pecorino romano, some granulated garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 425. Line your baking sheets with parchment, this is important, then drizzle with olive oil and brush it all over.
  4. Dip your eggplant slice into the egg then into the breadcrumb mixture then place on the baking sheet.
  5. When the pan is filled do a quick drizzle of olive oil on each slice.
  6. Place into the oven, after 5 or so, maybe 10 minutes check them and flip to the other side only if they’re golden brown, if not let them cook a little more then flip.
  7. You want each side to be nice and golden brown.
  8. Place them on a clean tray and sprinkle with salt.
  9. Enjoy!

 

Signature

Roasted Eggplant Artichoke and White Bean Dip

creamy dip

If you’re looking for an easy and delicious appetizer or snack to serve up this summer, I have just the thing! My roasted eggplant, artichoke and white bean dip.

This wonderful dip is like an Italian version of hummus.

It’s full of flavor and quite healthy and comes together quickly using canned cannellini beans and a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, with no tahini required! ( I never was a fan).

 

pricked eggplant

The only cooking you’ll be doing is roasting your eggplant, this can be done a day ahead of time, just pierce the skin and roast it whole.

roasted eggplant

The eggplant will eventually collapse and become soft, when it cools down you’ll be able to slice and scoop out the nice creamy flesh inside, which is a key component in your dip along with the artichoke hearts, white beans.

dip

Perfect for entertaining with a beverage of your choice. Serve it swiped on crusty bread, crackers or even veggies.

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week.

Roasted Eggplant Artichoke and White Bean Dip
 
An easy to make summer dip, snack or appetizer!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 medium/ small eggplant left whole, roasted with flesh scooped out
  • 1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 can of cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 or 2 small garlic cloves
  • small handful each of basil and parsley
  • ¼ cup olive oil, extra for top garnish
  • lemon zest
  • a small pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Small jar of roasted red peppers drained, which you will use for garnish only
  • TO GARNISH THE TOP
  • a few olives
  • a swipe of roasted red pepper paste easily made by draining a jar of roasted red peppers and swirling them in a food processor into a thick consistency.
  • olive oil
  • extra chopped herbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  3. Poke fork holes all around the whole eggplant skin, then roast until eggplant is soft and collapsed.
  4. Let the eggplant cool down and then scoop out the flesh.
  5. In a food processor add the artichoke hearts, the beans, the eggplant pulp, olive oil, basil, parsley, garlic cloves, lemon zest and pulse slowly to desired consistency. ( I like to see some of the artichoke bits). Taste for salt and pepper.
  6. Place dip into a serving bowl and make a swirl on top with a small spoon, drizzle in some olive oil into the swirl, add the red color of the roasted red pepper.
  7. Sprinkle with herbs.
  8. Serve with toasted bread, crackers or veggies

 

Signature

Eggplant Parmesan Veggie “Meatballs”

eggplant veggie balls

Who says meatballs all have to be made with meat? Here’s a great veggie alternative that’s made with eggplant. They’re lighter in texture but full of flavor!

These eggplant balls have a little chunk of mozzarella stashed into the center so they totally take on the eggplant parmesan taste through and through.

eggplant

It’s simple to make with just a few steps like cubing the eggplant then sautéing it with a bit of olive oil and water. You want to  make sure that the consistency is nice and soft.

smashed eggplant

Then you’re going to mash all that eggplant up just to make sure it gets nice and smooth, that’s going to make it really easy to mix with all the other ingredients.

eggplant balls ingredients

When I make traditional Italian meatballs I always add egg, garlic, breadcrumbs, fresh parsley, pecorino and a bit of red pepper flakes, it’s the same with these eggplant parmesan veggie balls, it takes on those Italian flavors perfectly but without the meat!

 

stuffed eggplant balls

Make sure you poke a hole into the center when forming your balls and place a cube of mozzarella inside, this will ensure that the cheese will ooze out just perfectly when you take a bite.

eggplant balls

So delicious covered in a pool of warm marinara sauce, the smells and taste of eggplant parmesan is in every bite.

eggplant balls

Eggplant parmesan that’s all rolled up into a meatball, what’s better than that?  You can eat them with pasta or alone with just a salad and a hunk of bread, or you can make yourself a meatless “meatball” sandwich, it’s all good!

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Eggplant Parmesan Veggie "Meatballs"
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Eggplant, 2 or 3, depending on how large they are. Slice the tops and bottoms off, remove the skin peeling it off in a striped manner, keeping some on and some off, then cut the eggplant into small cubes
  • 1 cup or more of toasted breadcrumbs
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup or so grated pecorino romano
  • a small handful, chopped parsley
  • a few tablespoons, chopped basil
  • ¼ cup water
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • small cubes of fresh mozzarella to stuff inside
  • marinara sauce, 1 quart or less
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375, spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
  2. Drizzle the bottom of a heated skillet with olive oil and place the cubes of eggplant inside.
  3. Season with salt and pepper on the eggplant then pour in the ¼ cup of water tossing until the eggplant is cooked and very soft and tender.
  4. Mash the eggplant mix with a potato masher until you get a nice smooth consistency, then let it cool down.
  5. Grab a large bowl and add the cooled down eggplant, breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, pecorino, garlic, salt and pepper to taste and red pepper flakes, mix well.
  6. If mixture seems too wet and more breadcrumbs.
  7. Roll into balls then poke a whole in the center and add your cubed mozzarella making sure it's well inside and gets covered with eggplant mixture.
  8. When all is rolled out place on oiled baking sheet then into the oven for around 20-25 minutes.
  9. Plop the eggplant balls into warmed up marinara when done baking.
  10. They're ready to serve!

 

Signature

Baby Eggplant with Italian Style Salsa

baby eggplant

Beautiful baby eggplant, have you tried them? These beauties are small and petite but yet their flesh is rich, creamy and mildly sweet.

Here I’ve roasted and then paired them with what I call an Italian style salsa, similar to a gremolata. A zesty garlic and herb topping that permeates through the hearty flesh along with the buttery texture of pine nuts, it’s the perfect union.

baby eggplant

Imagine a platter of these set out on a buffet table, a delicious centerpiece with individual servings. They can be the perfect starter or the ideal side dish to a main course of your favorite protein or pasta, an a nice vegetarian option as well.

baby eggplant

Baby eggplant look like little jewels, they’re tiny in size usually 2 to 3 inches long, some are stout and round and some more of a tear drop shape, and the nice thing is you can find them year round.

baby eggplant

When you get them home just give them a good rinse and wipe them dry then all you do is slice them lengthwise, easy prep!

baby eggplant

You can roast or grill them, I opted for roasting since it’s not grilling weather here right now. They cook up really fast and can be roasted earlier in the day, just give them a little warm up before serving, either in a low temp oven or microwave. For ultimate flavor I recommend serving them slightly warm but definitely not hot.

baby eggplant

Just scrape out the flesh with the topping and leave the skin on your plate, sort of like eating an artichoke. These will go fast so make enough!

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week.

Baby Eggplant with Italian Style Salsa
 
No exact recipe but rather the method in which you make this, because it al depends how many eggplants you'll be using and how much sauce you'll need, which you can easily make more of if need be.
Author:
Ingredients
  • baby eggplant, rinsed and dried then cut in half lengthwise.
  • FOR THE ITALIAN SALSA
  • good olive oil
  • handful of parsley and basil, hand chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced small
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • a handful of imported pine nuts from Italy
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon zest (optional)
Instructions
  1. Make the Italian salsa first so it can sit and the flavors can meld together. Mix everything into a bowl and add enough olive oil so that the mixture is loose.
  2. Toss your cut eggplant into a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, tossing until coated.
  3. A quick drizzle of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet place the eggplant cut side down in a 425 degree oven.
  4. They cook really fast, could only be about 15 or 20 minutes tops.
  5. Check with a spatula to make sure not too brown and overcooked.
  6. Pull them out of the oven and turn them over to skin side down and let them cool off.
  7. Arrange on a platter and spoon the Italian salsa on each one, having extra for more spooning, the more the better!

 

Signature

Eggplant, Tomato and Feta Summer Side Dish

eggplant side dish

We’re still in the dog days of summer with an abundance of garden produce still available You just can’t beat the flavor of garden ripe tomatoes, there’s nothing like it, and I will dream about that taste when summer ends.

But for now, if you need to use up some of those sweet cherry tomatoes you might have, this is the perfect side dish to make.

It’s a delicious combination of eggplant with tomatoes and feta cheese.

 

roasted tomatoes

You honestly don’t need a recipe for this because you’ll never go wrong with the ingredients and amounts. All you have to do is roast some cherry tomatoes with a good amount of olive oil and shaved garlic, salt and pepper. It doesn’t matter how many tomatoes you use, just fill up a sheet pan like I did.

Place them into the oven at 400 degrees until they start to blister and their flavorful juices mingle with the olive oil.

roasted eggplant

Same thing goes for the eggplant, I like to peel the skin of my eggplant into stripes, some on, some off. Then cut your eggplant into bite size pieces, 2 or 3 eggplant  or however many you have, place on a sheet pan, douse with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roast at 425 degrees until the moisture is gone and you start to see lightly golden edges.

eggplant side dish

Now basically it’s all about combining everything. In a bowl add the blistered cherry tomatoes and every bit of that luscious garlicky juice, toss in the roasted eggplant, and crumble in the best quality Greek feta you can find.

Combine gently and arrange it all on a pretty platter garnished with chopped parsley, now watch it disappear!

I can’t tell you how good this is, you’re just going to have to make this amazing summer side dish, but hurry!

Follow Proud Italian Cook on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week.

Signature

Baked Eggplant Parmigiana

baked eggplant parmigiana

Baked eggplant parmigiana is a much lighter take on the classic breaded and fried version. Don’t get me wrong, I love eggplant and have breaded and fried my own fair share of eggplant over the years many, many times.

Normally it would be a three step process, flour, egg, bread crumbs  or more often I would make it like my mother-in-law did, she whipped up a batter of flour, eggs, water to thin it, lots of romano cheese and parsley, oh it’s so good!

Then I would dip the eggplant slices into the batter and start frying, always adding more oil because eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge and there never seemed to be enough.

Most times I would have to start over and clean the pan out in between frying because the crumbs left in the pan would start to burn, so it was a long and messy process and the clean up on my stove would take a while, to say the least!

baked eggplant

Years later I’ve really come to love the baked version better, it’s lighter, healthier but even more than that I think the flavor of the eggplant really shines through. My version isn’t buried in sauce or cheese either, to me less is more, with the added bonus of a clean stove!

baked eggplant

You need a hot oven to prep your eggplant slices, and by cutting them to almost an inch thick this ensures a crispy bottom with a nice tender bite of eggplant meat in between, because they do shrink down.

baked eggplant

I also like to take my veggie peeler and and peel off strips of skin to create a zebra like pattern of skin and no-skin, I think it looks nice and gives structure to the dish, and when cooked it melts in your mouth anyway.

Years ago I would salt them down and place something heavy on top to take the bitterness out, I don’t do that anymore I think the varieties today are perfectly fine and not bitter.

baked eggplant parmigiana

Quality ingredients are always a must, fresh mozzarella,(not the dry shredded kind), good pecorino, fresh basil and homemade marinara, simple and light flavored with garlic and basil.

baked eggplant parmigiana

This takes no time at all to make, you can even roast the eggplant ahead of time and assemble it the next day, it’s easy enough to make mid week and delicious for a special dinner party.

I’ve even made it on a rimmed sheet pan for a large group, you can fit quite a few pieces of eggplant on a half size sheet pan, perfect for a party!

baked eggplant parmigiana

I promise you won’t sacrifice any flavor on this lightened up, baked version of the classic eggplant parmigiana, it’s just as delicious and you’ll feel good about eating it!

Follow me ion Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Baked Eggplant Parmigiana
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 medium sized eggplants peeled in a zebra effect with some skin on and some skin off, sliced ¾ inch thick
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, padded dry
  • pecorino romano
  • 3-4 cups of homemade marinara flavored with garlic and basil or a good quality store bought brand
  • fresh torn basil
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. PREPPING THE EGGPLANT
  2. Heat oven to 425F.
  3. Drizzle the bottom of a sheet pan with olive oil.
  4. Place sliced eggplant on top and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  5. When you see a light golden bottom, flip them over and let the other side get golden as well, if you need a little more drizzle of olive oil, go ahead, time will vary according to oven heat, just watch it.
  6. When finished set aside. If prepping for a party or a larger amount, let it cool down and refrigerate to assemble the next day.
  7. ASSEMBLING
  8. In a 13x9 casserole quick drizzle bottom with olive oil, then spread marinara all over the bottom covering the surface.
  9. Add slices of eggplant to cover, spoon about a tablespoon of sauce on each slice, rip off some fresh mozzarella and add pieces to each slice then sprinkle with romano cheese and torn basil.
  10. Repeat.
  11. Bake in the hot oven until cheese melts down and it's all heated through.
  12. Top with more fresh basil, a sprinkle of cheese and a quick drizzle of olive oil.

 

Signature

Flatbread Pizzas

flatbread pizza with eggplant

Flatbread pizzas seem to be all the rage, have you noticed? They’re popping up on restaurant menus and wine bars all over the place. Sometimes you see them as appetizers to be shared or as a light lunch or dinner served with a salad, I’ve even seen them used for breakfast, either way they’re pretty popular right now.

flatbread

Flatbreads can be made without yeast which results in a crispy, cracker like crust, the kind I like the best and the kind I seem to find in most restaurants. Another version is by using pizza dough with yeast but rolling it out really, really flat.

You can make your own, there are plenty of recipes on the web, or you can buy a brand you like. Let me just say I have no affiliation with these brands what so ever, I just happened to come upon them while shopping.

The one shown above is a basic Lavash bread, you can find them all over, they work perfectly, they get really crispy and cook up fast.

But just recently I’ve bought a pre-made pizza dough, that’s what they call it at Trader Joes, they’re shaped into long rectangles, 2 in a package and usually in the bread isle, in my opinion it’s a flatbread and they are super good as well.

I think they’re great to have handy when company stops by, I always keep some in my freezer, they take minutes to defrost and they take 10 minutes to crisp up in the oven.

The toppings are endless! Just Google flatbread pizzas and you’ll see what I mean.flatbread pizza with eggplant

First brush each side of the flatbread with olive oil, straight from the package then place on a sheet pan and start layering your toppings.

For the above eggplant version I used shredded mozzarella then placed thin sautéed eggplant slices on top along with red onion, then into the oven it went for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, when it came out I brushed it with basil pesto, it’s fabulous and so easy and it’s wonderful served with a glass of wine!

flatbread pizza with eggplantflatbread pizza with eggplant

Serve with a salad and you have a completely satisfying meal!

flatbread pizza

This is another version that comes together really fast.

Saute up some shrimp in a pan with olive oil and garlic, set aside. Brush the top and bottom of the flatbread with olive oil, then brush top with basil pesto.

Add fresh mozzarella that has been torn all around, arrange shrimp on top then add dollops of roasted red pepper sauce.

Bake at 4oo until cheese melts and bread is crispy.

 

These flatbread pizzas are so good that I decided to make a breakfast version, sunny side up eggs plopped on top of the crispy  bread, and I have to say, this was super delicious!

So delicious that I decided to make this for breakfast to serve some overnight guests that were visiting, and they loved it and started making it when they got home.

 

sunny side up egg flatbread

Again the flatbread is brushed on both sides with olive oil, then swiped with basil pesto. Crack your eggs in little ramekins then gently pour it out onto the flatbread. I like to take torn, fresh mozzarella and place right near the edges of the egg whites, it keeps it from running all over and holds it together to form a little barrier.

I added a few cherry tomatoes and grated parmigiano cheese then baked in the oven 375 – 400 until the eggs are set, garnish with fresh basil.

Flatbread pizzas are a nice alternative to a heavier dough pizza, nice and light and perfect for entertaining this summer!

 

Signature

Veggie Napoleon

This is a savory version of a napoleon, layers and layers of your favorite vegetables all perched on top of a sturdy portobello base. These pretty bundles are the perfect side dish to any protein you make or a straight up main course served together with a salad.
This dish was inspired by something my sister in law ordered while on vacation, her portobello was filled with Yukon gold potatoes, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers and parmesan cheese.

I wanted to incorporate some autumn vegetables on mine so I added sliced sweet potatoes, kale and some nice fresh green beans I found.
Everything is precooked before you layer, I steamed the green beans and sauteed the kale but roasted everything else you see here, the eggplant, red and yellow peppers, the sweet potatoes and the onion slices all tossed with a little olive oil and placed in a 400 degree oven until golden and tender.

The portobellos, (I bought large ones) were scraped of their gills ( to give you lots of room for layering) and roasted for only 10 minutes along with everything else just to get them a little tender.

Then just start layering! In between the layers you want add some grated cheese that melts good like fontina or mozzarella, it sort of “glues” the veggies together so that when you cut into bundle, ( with a serrated knife please) they won’t fall apart.
Place them back in the oven for a couple of minutes just to let the cheese melt in between.
I think I was getting  a little over zealous here stacking them too high with too many layers in the beginning, I tend to over due it, just ask my kids!
 So I ended up making mine a little more compact with not quite as many layers as above but always ending with the sweet potato slices on top.
 Place your finished veggie napoleon in a nice big puddle of marinara and sprinkle with more cheese, delish!
Get creative here, the various veggie combinations are endless!! 

Signature