Aubergine parmigiana is the dish that I am most excited about eating when I am in Italy this summer. The aubergines are layered in-between cheese and a rich tomato sauce. It’s the perfect balance of cheese, tomatoes and vegetables. I love making this dish and always wonder why we don’t have it more often when eating it.
Italian food is really good for vegetarians, they have so many options and I absolutely love the food. I have been known to eat pizza four times in one week in the past! This was on holiday once where they didn’t have many vegetarian options but always had pizza. I secretly didn’t mind too much as I love pizza. Italy is the number two vegetarian and vegan country in the world according to an article on a website called collectively. This makes sense as they have amazing vegetarian options that go beyond pizza and pasta like risotto, grilled vegetables, breads, salads and aubergine parmigiana.
This dish originates from Italy and traditionally includes aubergine, cheese and basil. The aubergine is normally covered in flour or bread crumbs and fried in hot oil. I am using ground almonds instead of flour or bread crumbs to make this dish gluten free. To make this dish vegan-friendly, use or make your own vegan mozzarella. I have never made vegan cheese before but a lot of people do and the results look great.
Start this recipe by making the tomato sauce. It takes about 15 minutes to cook. While the sauce is simmering away cook the aubergine. The slices of aubergine are cooked in oil for a few minutes on each side. I don’t fry them as I prefer to use less oil in my cooking. To save time the grounded almonds are mixed with the parmesan, this gives the dish a nice crispy crunch. The aubergines are then layered in a baking dish, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, almonds and basil. The layers are repeated until you run out of ingredients and the whole thing is baked in the oven.
The result is a delicious aubergine, tomato and cheesy bake. The aubergine melts in your mouth as it’s been cooked twice and all the flavours and ingredients combined make a wonderful dinner. Serve aubergine parmigiana with a side salad or fennel butter bread.
Did you like this cheesy dish? Leave me a comment and rate this recipe if you like it. Share your pictures on Instagram with #prettyvegetarian.
Aubergine parmigiana – Gluten free recipe
Yield 2 people
Aubergine parmigiana is a delicious Italian dish. The aubergine is layered in-between cheese and a rich tomato sauce. It’s the perfect balance of cheese, tomatoes and vegetables.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 fresh chilli, finely chopped
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 2 small aubergines, thinly sliced lengthways
- 50g (½ cup) parmesan
- 50g (¾ cup) ground almonds
- 125g (1 cup) mozzarella cheese, sliced
- Handful of fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to 220°c or 425°f.
- Heat olive oil in a medium pan and add the garlic and chilli. Sauté for a few minutes until they start to soften.
- Add the thyme, tomatoes, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover the pan and leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Heat a pan over a high heat and add a tablespoon of sunflower oil. Add the aubergine slices and try to cover with oil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook on both sides for a few minutes. You want the aubergine to soften. Place on kitchen paper and set aside.
- To assemble the bake, add a few tablespoons of the tomato mixture to an oven proof dish and spread evenly.
- Now add a layer of aubergine slices, followed by some mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan, ground almonds, basil leaves and salt and pepper.
- Repeat the layers and finish with a layer of tomato sauce and parmesan and ground almonds.
- Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
- Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving, garnish with basil leaves.
- Serve with a salad and Italian bread
- Can be made beforehand and kept refrigerated overnight.