To be completely honest, this is my second time EVER making (or attempting to make) eggplant parmigiana. When I was thinking of how I wanted to make it, I initially had ideas of adding some masalas here and there but as I started to make it, I realized I wanted to keep it a bit more traditional with just a TEENY bit of the chutneylife flare.
If you’re ordering eggplant parmigiana at a restaurant it is usually breaded and fried but I really wanted to avoid all of that extra work (yes I wanted to avoid the messy dredging in eggs/flour etc- NOT avoiding the calories, I promise) and so I decided I would make a BAKED version that would taste JUST as good as the fried version ( I succeeded, FYI).
I use my FAVE jarred arrabbiata (spicy marinara basically) sauce made by Rao’s and it can be found in most grocery stores or on amazon. It is the only sauce I have ever used that requires NO extra tweaking and it has no preservatives- all fresh ingredients! Legit, it is good right out of the bottle! Also, don’t hate me for not shredding my own block of cheese for this recipe. I had this 6 cheese Italian blend by Sargento sitting in the fridge and it was too tempting to not take a short cut, so I did it. If I wasn’t being lazy, I would shred some parmesan, asiago, fontina, and mozzarella and it would be SO DREAMY!! So as I always say, don’t be lazy like me…shred your cheeses folks…or be lazy..whatever makes you happy 🙂
I also am NOT a fan of ricotta so on the off chance it sneaks into one of my recipes ( like it did in this one), I make it as flavorful as possible. I love scallions and serrano peppers in my homemade red sauce pastas so I decided it would be a safe bet to add these two ingredients into the ricotta. I also would highly suggest adding some cilantro to give it a little desi flavor! Have fun with it and try whatever you like!
As always, if you share on social media please tag @thechutneylife because I seriously enjoy drooling over all of your pics!! Lots of Love & Happy Eating 🙂
Spicy Eggplant Parm
Yield 4-6 Servings
1 lb. eggplant, sliced to 1/4 inch slices
3 Cups bottled red sauce ( I use my favorite, Rao's Arrabbiata Sauce (24 oz. Jar))
2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend ( I used Sargento 6 cheese Italian) Asiago, Mozzarella, Parmesan would be fine
1 -2 Jalepeños sliced
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp evoo
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 crushed garlic clove
Chili Garlic Olive Oil:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves sliced garlic
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp oregano
salt & pepper
Combine the following in a food processor until smooth:
1.5 cups ricotta
2 serranos, diced and seeded
1/2 cup scallions sliced
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
- Preheat oven to 375 Degrees.
- Heat a small saucepan on low heat and all of the ingredients listed under chili garlic oil and heat until garlic has become lightly golden in color (5-10 minutes). Remove from heat.
- Lay eggplant slices evenly spread apart on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Take the chili garlic oil and using a brush, coat all of the eggplant slices liberally on both sides.
- Bake eggplant for 30-40 minutes until cooked. Rotate pan once. ( I cook mine 3/4 of the way as it will finish cooking later when it is assembled)
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat and add the panko bread crumbs, chili flakes and garlic clove and heat until the panko crumbs begin to get toasty (2-3 minutes). Set aside.
Assemble in the following order:
- Lay down 1 cup arrabbiata sauce
- Top with sliced eggplant in an even layer
- spread about 1/2 cup of ricotta mixture on top of the eggplant slices (or enough to cover eggplant)
- Top with layer of shredded italian cheeses
- Top with 1 cup Sauce, sliced eggplant & Repeat layers.
- Top off with sliced jalapenos, and bake covered for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. (stick a fork in the eggplant to make sure it is cooked all the way)
- Remove from oven, top with bread crumb mixture. and reheat for few more minutes un-covered.
- Serve HOT out of the oven and enjoy 🙂