Many years ago I made eggplant Parmesan for the first time and I remember it being really good. Fast forward a few years and I own some 6 ounce ramekins, what better use for them but to make individual Eggplant Parmesans! I tried both pan frying and air frying the eggplant and both came out fantastic and it was really hard to tell which was which once you dug in. My other half isn’t a fan of eggplant, but he really enjoyed this. It has a simple quick marinara sauce and then once you’ve get the eggplant prepped it’s time to bake all the goodness together in the oven. This just uses the common dark purple eggplant and a decent medium to large will give you plenty.
This picture shows the difference between the air fryer version (left) and pan fried version (right). Both were really good options. Since I was experimenting with the recipe I have a few more slices of eggplant then I needed. I ended up using 4 slices from each batch to make a total of 4 individual servings. The eggplants I used the slices fit perfectly into the ramekins without having to cut them to fit, if you have to feel free to cut them as needed to fit. This definitely doesn’t have to look perfect because the taste is where it’s at.
After assembly and before baking….then after baking. Lets just say this whole process made the kitchen smell amazing!
Garden Sprout Individual Eggplant Parmesans
Servings – 4
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 sprig of fresh basil
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1.5 Tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 tsp salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper (10-15 cranks)
For context of sprigs and garlic, this is what my ingredients looked like for making the marinara.
- 1 recipe of marinara (see above)
- 1 medium to large eggplant (the dark purple ones) cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 2 cups shredded mozzerella
- Grated parmesan
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil if pan frying or olive oil spray if using air fryer
- In a colander in the sink place the eggplant slices and sprinkle salt so that all slices and both sides have a light coating and let rest in the sink for 1 hour
- Saute the onions in the olive in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until soft and translucent. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on low with the lid on for 20 minutes and another 10-15 minutes with the lid off or sightly off to the side. I have a splatter screen that I used which allowed the lid to be off completely which allowed the marinara to thicken up slightly.
- Once the 1 hour has passed for the eggplant slices, rinse thoroughly with water to remove an excess salt.
- For breading (either pan fried or air fryer versions) you’ll need three seperate containers. 1 for the flour, 1 for the eggs, and 1 for the bread crumbs. The order of operation for breading is flour, egg, then bread crumbs.
- PAN FRYING OPTION: Over medium heat in a frying pan, place have the olive oil for the first batch until shimmering. Add eggplant and fry on both sides until golden brown. Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Repeat with other half of oil and eggplant slices.
- AIR FRYER OPTION: Pre-heat air fryer to 400F. Spray both sides of breaded eggplant slices with olive oil spray. Cook in air fryer 8-12 minutes until browned.
- Pre-heat oven to 400F
- Assembly. Note – Parmesan can be very salty – if you want to reduce the amount of saltiness, use less Parmesan.
- 1/4 cup marinara
- 1 eggplant slice
- Sprinkle mozzarella
- Sprinkle 1/2 tsp (or less if you want less salt) of Parmesan
- 1/4 cup marinara
- 1 eggplant slice
- Sprinkle with mozzarella
- Sprinkle with Parmesan
- Top with marinara, mozzarella, and Parmesan.
- Bake in oven on a oven safe baking tray for 23-28 minutes until you see the marinara bubbling and cheese is melted. Kick on the broiler and place tray under it until cheese becomes slightly golden.
- Remove and let cool for a while (it will be hot!).