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Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana

 

Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana

There are some meals that take you back to special memories or places in your life and this Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana just so happens to be one of those meals for me.

Since I was a teenager, Olive Garden has been my favorite chain restaurant, probably because I loved Italian food and my little hometown in Oklahoma didn’t have an Olive Garden or anything comparable so I didn’t get to eat there very often.

I don’t remember at what point I discovered their Eggplant Parmigiana, but from that moment forward, I fell in love with the dish and ordered it nearly every time we ate at Olive Garden.


It was also at Olive Garden that I discovered my love for eggplant since I had never even tried one (I’m not sure I even knew what an eggplant looked like!) before discovering it on their menu.

(Side note, if you want to kick this recipe up a few notches, make my Homemade Marinara Sauce and use it for the topping on this Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana!)

 

A white plate with Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana on it, covered in marinara sauce, with an Olive Garden style salad beside it. A white and gray striped towel is around the plate and everything sits on a wood backdrop.

 

 

Easy Eggplant Parmigiana

Every birthday I celebrated since the age of probably 13-14 was always at my favorite restaurant, (Olive Garden) so as you can probably imagine, I have many wonderful memories spent in one Olive Garden or another.

Maybe that’s why I associate warm, comforting memories with Italian food and this Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana in particular, but whatever the case, I can assure you that you will love this Eggplant Parmigiana just as much as we do.

I created this recipe with my favorite Eggplant Parmigiana dish from Olive Garden in mind, but I also suspect they fry their eggplant and I wanted a healthier alternative.

For my Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana, we will be baking it and also making our own Homemade Marinara Sauce to top it with which is low carb, Keto friendly, and completely sugar and sweetener free!

 

 

A white plate with Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana on it, covered in marinara sauce, with a white and gray towel around the plate and a gold fork to the right side of the plate. Everything is sitting on a wooden backdrop.

 

 

Eggplant Parmigiana is perfect for a dinner party

I invited my parents over for dinner the day I made this Eggplant Parmigiana so I was cooking for four of us instead of two so I used two large eggplants which ended up creating six servings.

My eggplants were VERY large so if you’re cooking for less adults, I would suggest using just one large eggplant instead of two, but hey, if you end up having leftovers that’s always a good thing, right?! 😉

 

 

A white plate with black stripes and two very large eggplants on the plate.

 

 

How to cook an eggplant

Cut off both ends of the eggplant (the stem and the bottom) and then use a sharp knife to carefully peel the eggplant.

The peeling on eggplants are very tough so be careful while peeling it that your knife doesn’t slip and get your finger!

 

 

A white plate with black stripes and a large, half peeled egg plant on the plate.

 

 

Preparing Eggplant for Parmigiana

Once your eggplants are completely peeled, place them on a cutting board and begin slicing them into rounds.

 

 

A white plate with black stripes and two very large, peeled, eggplants on the plate.

 

 

I sliced my eggplant into about 1/4 inch thick rounds and set them aside.

 

 

A white plate with black stripes and sliced, peeled, eggplant on the plate. The eggplant is sliced into rounds.

 

 

How to remove the bitterness from eggplant

Lightly salt both sides of all of your eggplant slices.

Salting your eggplant not only gives it a little extra flavor but it also helps to draw some of the moisture out of the eggplant, which in turn draws some of the bitterness out of it.

I have personally never tasted eggplant when I thought it tasted bitter but some people experience a bitter taste when eating it (just depending on how your taste buds operate!) so salting it beforehand will take care of that.

 

 

A white plate with black stripes and peeled, sliced, eggplant that's been sliced into rounds. a Morton's salt container is hovered over the sliced eggplant.

 

 

Key ingredients to Healthy Eggplant Parmigiana

After the eggplant is salted and ready to go, grab two small bowls and fill one with 2 cups of Italian Panko Breadcrumbs and the other with 3 eggs that have been beaten.

When your dipping bowls are ready, grab a 9×13 inch casserole pan or a large baking sheet (baking sheet preferred if you have one) and spray it with nonstick cooking spray, placing it right in front of the bowls for easy access.

Just a little side note, depending on how large your eggplant is, you may need a little more or less breadcrumbs and eggs, so keep that in mind when preparing this Eggplant Parmigiana.

 

 

A 9x13 casserole dish, a white and black striped bowl of Panko Italian seasoned bread crumbs, and a white and black striped bowl with beaten egg.

 

 

How to get the Best Eggplant Parmigiana

Let’s go ahead right here and preheat our oven at 375F.

Start off my dipping one slice of eggplant at a time into the egg bath first.

When dipping the eggplant into the beaten egg, make sure that both sides of the eggplant are completely coated in the egg.

 

 

A sliced round of eggplant being dipped by hand into the beaten egg.

 

The Perfect, Crispy, Baked Eggplant

After dipping the eggplant into the egg wash, dip it into the Panko breadcrumbs and roll it so that both sides are completely covered in the breadcrumbs.

Just a word to the wise, I highly suggest using Panko breadcrumbs because they will be crispy after being cooked, giving the eggplant a crispy, fried texture even though this Eggplant Parmigiana is baked.

 

 

A sliced round of eggplant that has been dipped in beaten egg and is being rolled in Italian Panko Breadcrumbs.

 

 

Cooking tips for Perfect Eggplant Parmesan

Repeat the egg bath and breadcrumb process until all of your eggplant has been coated in egg and rolled in breadcrumbs, then place the slices into your casserole dish or on your large baking sheet.

Depending on how many eggplant slices you have, you may have to cook it in two separate batches or use two different pans because you don’t want to stack or overlap the eggplant slices.

If you do stack or overlap the slices, the part that isn’t exposed will not get brown and crispy like it should.

 

 

A glass 9x13 casserole dish with eggplants sliced into rounds that have been dipped in beaten egg and rolled in Panko Italian Breadcrumbs, lined up in the casserole dish.

 

 

Healthy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Place the Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana into the preheated oven and bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until the eggplant slices are golden brown, crispy, and the eggplant is fork tender.

 

 

A glass 9x13 casserole dish with eggplants sliced into rounds that have been dipped in beaten egg and rolled in Panko Italian Breadcrumbs, lined up in the casserole dish. The casserole dish has been placed into the oven.

 

Now that the eggplant is cooked, remove it from the oven and sprinkle lightly with mozzarella cheese and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, then place it back into the oven for 2-3 minutes or just long enough for the cheese to melt.

 

 

A glass 9x13 casserole dish with eggplants sliced into rounds that have been dipped in beaten egg and rolled in Panko Italian Breadcrumbs, lined up in the casserole dish. The eggplant has been baked and is topped with shredded mozzarella cheese.

 

 

Once the cheese is melted on the Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana, serve it up with my Homemade Marinara Sauce over the top and an Olive Garden salad on the side.

 

 

A white plate with Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana on it, covered in marinara sauce, with an Olive Garden style salad beside it. A white and gray striped towel is around the plate and everything sits on a wood backdrop.

 

 

Just to give you guys a little behind the scenes sneak peek when I was photographing this Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana, my little man came out to watch the process and was completely fascinated by it all.

Yes, I do take the majority of my photos on my front porch due to lighting being unfavorable for photos in our house (we don’t have many windows).

 

 

A front porch with a yellow rocking chair, some plants, and a board backdrop with a white plate, white and gray striped towel around the plate, and a gold fork by the plate. Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana is on the white plate and covered in marinara sauce.

 

 

Hopefully you all have enjoyed your time in my kitchen learning how to make this Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana and Homemade Marinara Sauce.

Come back soon for more wonderful recipes!

Happy end of summer!

-Amy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 from 1 vote
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Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana

A healthier, baked, copy cat version of Olive Garden's delicious Eggplant Parmigiana. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Baked Eggplant Parmigiana, Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Amy - The Speedy Spatula

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants peeled
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 2 cups Italian Seasoned Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups Marinara Sauce recipe linked in blog post
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut the ends off of two egg plants, then remove all peeling.

  2. Slice each egg plant into 1/4 inch thick rounds and lightly salt both sides of the egg plant rounds.

  3. Spray a 9x13 casserole pan with nonstick cooking spray and pre-heat the oven to 375F. 

  4. Pour the breadcrumbs into one bowl, then beat three eggs into a separate bowl. 

  5. Submerge each piece of egg plant individually into the beat egg, then roll it in the bread crumbs until coated. Place the breaded eggplant into the casserole dish and repeat the process until all eggplant rounds are prepared.

  6. NOTE: You may need to use more than one casserole dish since they will not cook evenly if they are overlapped or layered. If you have a large baking sheet, that would work well too.

  7. Spray the prepared eggplant with nonstick cooking spray - this will help it to become crispy and browned in the oven. 

  8. Once the eggplant is prepared, place it in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the eggplant is fork tender and the breadcrumb coating is golden brown and crispy. 

  9. Carefully remove the eggplant from the oven, sprinkle evenly with the shredded mozzarella & Parmesan cheese, and place back in the oven just until the cheese is melted (about 2-3 minutes). 

  10. Remove from the oven again, top with marinara sauce (recipe linked in the blog post) and enjoy! 

Shared at Full Plate Thursday

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Shared at Foodie Friday Link Party

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Homemade Marinara Sauce - The Speedy Spatula
    August 14, 2018 at 10:40 am

    […] you love Italian food, check out my Copy Cat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmigiana recipe that features this Homemade Marinara […]

  • Reply
    Miz Helen
    August 20, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    I must make your Eggplant Parmigiana for my husband he will just love this recipe! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

    • Reply
      Amy - The Speedy Spatula
      August 20, 2018 at 11:24 pm

      I made this Eggplant Parmigiana for some visiting family a couple weeks back and it was a big hit! I loved how simple and easy it was to make and they loved it as well. Hope you all enjoy it as much as we did!

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