Here is a vegan eggplant parmesan recipe that will hit the spot. I’m talking soft, melt-in-the-mouth tender eggplant layered with rich marinara sauce and coated in a crunchy layer of panko crumbs.

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan on a plate

If this Italian-style recipe sounds good, check out my vegan lasagna roll-ups (with vegan ricotta and spinach) – you’ll love them too!

Eggplant Parmesan is my Dad’s absolute favorite dish. An Italian dish, vegan Eggplant Parmesan is one of those dishes that make you feel happy when you eat it:) It is definitely a comfort food for my Dad. Served with a side of spaghetti and broccoli, you can hardly find anything more satisfying.

Why you’ll love this vegan eggplant recipe

Here is why you have to make this recipe:

  • Versatile dish: I love that I can serve this as an appetizer, a side, a main, at lunch, or at dinner. It’s a genuine all-rounder. 
  • Easy to customize: This dish is easy to customize. You can adjust the seasoning and sauce – it is a flexible and adaptable recipe.
  • Crowd-pleaser: Vegan eggplant parmesan is a crowd-pleasing dish that will impress vegans and non-vegans. It’s also a popular choice for family dinners, gatherings, and potlucks.
  • Comfort food appeal: With its hearty layers of eggplant, sauce, and vegan cheese, vegan eggplant parmesan has the comfort food appeal of traditional eggplant parmesan.

Ingredients and substitution notes 

This is what to gather for this incredibly delicious vegan eggplant parmesan:

  • Eggplants: Choose small, firm ones for the best texture and flavor. Look for ones with smooth, shiny skin and no blemishes.
  • Panko bread crumbs: I recommend using panko crumbs for their light and crispy texture. Use gluten-free panko for a gluten-free alternative.
  • Dried parsley, basil, oregano: These dried herbs give the most delicious, herbaceous taste to the vegan parmesan. Make sure your dried herbs aren’t old – you want them to be packed with concentrated flavor.
  • Garlic powder: This adds a savory, garlicky taste to the vegan parmesan without needing fresh garlic.
  • Cayenne: For a little kick – it’s optional, of course.
  • Flour: You can use all-purpose flour or a gluten-free alternative.
  • Fresh basil: You can also use fresh oregano if you like. 
  • My marinara sauce: Grab my recipe here. 
  • My vegan parmesan topping: Grab my recipe here.

Recipe variations and add-ins

Here are a bunch of twists and turns you could take with this recipe:

  • Spicy: Add a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes for a spicy kick. You can also add a teaspoon of smoked paprika for a smoky flavor.
  • Nutty: Add in different nuts like walnuts, pecans, or pistachios.
  • Zesty lemon: Add the zest of one lemon for a bright, citrusy flavor. Adding lemon is a lovely way to cut through the richness of the marinara sauce.

Top tips to make the best vegan eggplant parmesan

Here are some top tips to make your vegan eggplant parmesan stacks extra delicious:

  • Quality eggplant: Begin with high-quality ingredients. Choose the most beautiful, firm eggplants you can get your hands on! These will hold their shape a lot better than soft eggplants will.
  • Uniform slicing: Ensure uniform slicing of your eggplants to ensure even cooking and easy stacking. A mandolin slicer is handy!
  • Serve warm: Serve your vegan parmesan stacks warm for the best taste and texture. 

Make ahead of instructions and storage

Making vegan eggplant parmesan stacks can save you time when entertaining or preparing meals in advance. Here’s how you can prepare them ahead and store them properly:

Make Ahead Instructions

  • Prepare vegan parmesan cheese: If you’re making my DIY vegan parmesan cheese, you can prepare it ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Prepare your marinara sauce: You can absolutely make the marinara sauce up in advance and store it until you are ready to go!

Storage Instructions:

If you have leftover baked vegan eggplant parmesan, let them cool to room temperature before transferring them to an airtight container. Store them in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

If you want to freeze unbaked vegan parmesan stacks, assemble them, but do not bake them. Instead, flash freeze them on a baking sheet until solid, then transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag with parchment paper between the layers. They can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Serving Suggestions 

If you are serving your vegan eggplant parmesan as a main course, serve it with a fresh pear pecan green salad.

I also love to pair it with my easy kale salad for a boost of added goodness.


Are you just skimming through? Here are some of the key takeaways from this article: 

Can I use any type of eggplant for this recipe?

Yes, you can use different varieties of eggplant, such as Italian, globe, or Japanese eggplant. 

Do I need to peel the eggplant before slicing it?

It’s not necessary to peel the eggplant for this recipe. The skin adds texture and nutrients to the dish. Just remember to wash the eggplant thoroughly before slicing.

Can I substitute the breadcrumbs for a gluten-free option?

Absolutely! You can use gluten-free panko or even crushed gluten-free crackers or oats for a gluten-free alternative. Make sure to check the ingredients to ensure they are suitable for your dietary needs.

How do I prevent the eggplant slices from becoming soggy?

To prevent the eggplant slices from becoming soggy, you can “sweat” them before cooking. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the eggplant slices and let them sit for about 30 minutes. This helps draw out excess moisture. Afterward, pat them dry with paper towels before breading and cooking.

Can I make the vegan parmesan cheese substitute ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the vegan parmesan cheese substitute ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. This allows for easier preparation when you’re ready to assemble the dish.

How do I store leftover vegan eggplant parmesan?

Store any leftover vegan eggplant parmesan in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until heated through before serving.

Can I freeze vegan eggplant parmesan?

Yes, you can freeze vegan eggplant parmesan. Place the cooked and cooled eggplant parmesan slices on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. 

Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag with parchment paper between the layers. They can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Reheat in the oven until heated through.

Watch My Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Recipe Video

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Fabulous Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Chef Ani


  • 2 baby eggplants
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup vegan parmesan (see recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 + cup water
  • Fresh basil, chopped


Click Here for my Marinara Sauce Recipe

Click Here for my Parmesan Topping Recipe


Start by washing the eggplants.
Slice each eggplant (1/4 in thickness)
Place on a cooling rack, with a baking tray underneath. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 30 min.
With a paper towel, dry each piece of eggplant.

In a shallow bowl mix together flour and water.
Add enough water to make a thick batter, should resemble a pancake batter. Set aside.
In another bowl add dry ingredients: bread crumbs, vegan parmesan, parsley, basil, salt, garlic, cayenne and oregano. Stir to mix.
Dip each piece of eggplant first in the batter, then in the bread crumb mix, place on a silicon mat (or greased) on a baking tray.
Bake at 375F 25 minutes, turning over midway through.
Prepare marinara sauce: (See recipe below)

When the eggplant come out of the oven assemble the dish.
In a baking dish, add a thin layer of tomato sauce. Place one layer of eggplant.
Cover each eggplant with a spoonful of tomato sauce. Place another layer of eggplant.
Then cover each eggplant piece with a spoonful of tomato sauce again. Continue this way until all the eggplant pieces are covered. Finish the dish with a layer of tomato sauce and top with your favorite vegan cheese or cheese sauce.
Bake at 375F for 10-30 minutes.


If you like your eggplants crispy, just heat dish in oven for a few minutes. If you like your eggplant and tomato sauce really marinated, leave in oven for 20-30 minutes.
Remove from oven. Sprinkle with fresh chopped fresh basil and serve.