I LOVE Eggplant Parmesan. One of the benefits of growing up in Northeast PA is that there are a ton of great Italian restaurants (and also a lot of great home cooks!), so I would eat Eggplant Parmesan pretty regularly. Going gluten-free certainly put a damper on that though, so now I am forced to make my own when I get the craving.
It is a little bit time consuming, since the eggplant has to be prepped by salting the slices, then adding a weight (I usually just use a bowl of water) on top to press them to draw some of the moisture out, but it is well worth the effort. I have found that gluten free flour mixed with Italian herbs is a pretty decent substitute for bread crumbs, at least in this case. Also, I bake the floured eggplant slices instead of frying them, simply because I do not enjoy frying. However, I know some people would insist that frying is better, and if you agree, fry away!
As always, this recipe is more of a suggestion than strict instructions, and the measurements are all approximate, since I cook by sight and by taste more than by exact numbers.
Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/4 in. thick slices
- 1 cup rice flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups ricotta, I got a 15 oz. container from the store and it was fine.
- 1 1/2 cup mozzarella
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
- marinara sauce
- Canola oil
- Layer the eggplant slices in a large colander, sprinkling salt on top of each layer before adding the next layer. When all the slices are layered, place a bowl on top and fill it with water to press the eggplant slices. I usually let it rest in the sink for about an hour, then dump the bowl of water over the eggplant slices to remove the salt. Pat dry.
- While the eggplant is pressing, mix the herbs and spices with the flour.
- Mix the ricotta with 1 beaten egg, about 1 cup mozzarella, about a tablespoon of parsley, and a little bit of salt and pepper (to taste.)
- After eggplant is pressed at patted dry, preheat the oven to 375F. Prepare a baking sheet by adding a layer of canola oil.
- Beat egg in bowl.
- Bread the eggplant by dragging each slice through the egg, then placing in the flour and covering both sides. Place the breaded slices on the oiled baking sheet.
- Bake eggplant for about 20 minutes or until crispy, flipping the slices halfway through. After removing from oven, place slices on paper towel to remove any excess oil.
- Add a layer of marinara sauce to the bottom of a baking dish. (I used my favorite Le Creuset of course!)
- Add a layer of eggplant slices to the bottom of the baking dish, covering it entirely.
- Add the ricotta mixture and spread to cover the eggplant.
- Sprinkle with some Parmesan.
- Add a layer of marinara sauce.
- Add another layer of eggplant to cover the top.
- Add more marinara sauce over the top.
- Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella over the top.
- Cover with foil, place in oven, and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the cheese.
- Remove from oven and let set for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!