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Healthy Eggplant Parmesan

     A healthier version of an Italian comfort classic, your entire family will love this flavor-packed Baked Eggplant Parmesan with Crispy Panko Topping.

    Healthy eggplant parm in a dish

    With a last name like Della Croce, you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m married to an Italian man. Lucky for me, I also married into a giant Italian family full of incredible cooks including my Aunt Dolly who we visit every time we visit Boston.

    Boston Family

    Inevitably, she and her son Rich (pictured above with all the cousins) spend hours in the kitchen cooking a 4-course spread for us. It starts with bruschetta made with tomatoes from her garden and ends with pastries from the local Italian bakery. Just when you think you can’t take another bite, you find room for just one more.

    Assembling the Eggplant Parm - The Lemon Bowl

    When my friends at BelGioioso asked me to create a recipe showcasing their Sliced Mild Provolone, I decided to create a dish that would remind my husband of home. Between Aunt Dolly’s house and the inevitable visit to Boston’s North End, it is hard to compete in the Italian food department but I was up for the challenge.

    BelGioioso Grana and Provolone - The Lemon Bowl

    One of my philosophies when it comes to healthy eating is to make my calories count. By nature, cheese is higher in calorie which is why I only eat and cook with high quality, high flavor cheeses. Unlike typical provolone cheeses, (made here in America) is aged for more than 60 days before hitting your refrigerator. As a result, it has a really deep, sharp and almost nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with the broiled eggplant and homemade tomato sauce in this healthy baked eggplant parm.

    Jacob eating Eggplant - The Lemon Bowl

    As you can tell, Jacob thought it was finger-licking good. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how many servings he ate. Let’s just say this little bambino loves Italian food as much as his daddy.

    Ooey, gooey, melty and cheesy, the 2-pound packs of pre-sliced BelGioioso Mild Provolone can be found at your nearest Costco as well as your local grocery store. I love having extra cheese on hand to make the boys a quick quesadilla or for an added boost of protein and calcium in my Ham and Cheese Baked Egg Cups.

    PS: This freezes fabulously and is the ideal meal to gift a new mom or someone who could use a little taste of the good life.

    Your fork is waiting.

    Healthy eggplant parm in a dish

    Healthy Eggplant Parmesan

    4.89 stars average
    A healthier version of an Italian comfort classic, your entire family will love this flavor-packed Baked Eggplant Parmesan with Crispy Panko Topping.
    PREP: 30 mins
    COOK: 40 mins
    TOTAL: 1 hr 10 mins
    Servings: 8


    • 2 large eggplants (sliced 1/2 thick)
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
    • black pepper
    • 1 medium onion (diced)
    • 3 cloves garlic (grated)
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (divided)
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon chili flakes – divided (divided)
    • 32 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
    • 14 ounce can tomato sauce (low sodium)
    • ½ cup red wine
    • 6 slices BelGioioso Sliced Mild Provolone (or equivelent )
    • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
    • 3 ounces BelGioioso American Grana® parmesan (grated)


    • Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer amongst two foil-lined baking sheets sprayed with cooking spray.
    • Brush the top of each eggplant round with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Bake eggplant until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Remove eggplant from the oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees.
    • While eggplant is baking, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add diced onion to the pan along with a small pinch of kosher salt. Stirring frequently, cook onions until they become translucent, 4-5 minutes.
    • Grate garlic directly over pan and add 1/4 teaspoon of the chili flakes. Stir in tomato sauce, whole peeled tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of the oregano. Use scissors or a potato masher to gently break down the whole peeled tomatoes. Add red wine then bring to a boil before reducing heat to low on simmer. Check for seasoning and add salt or pepper to taste; set aside.
    • To begin assembling the eggplant parm, ladle 1 cup of the tomato sauce and spread across the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Place one layer of eggplant on top of the sauce, overlapping each slice a little.
    • Pour another cup or so of the tomato sauce on top of the eggplant and continue until you’ve used all of the eggplant, ending with sauce on top.
    • Top the last layer of sauce with 6 slices BelGioioso Sliced Mild Provolone overlapping one another to cover the entire pan.
    • In a small bowl, mix together panko bread crumbs, BelGioioso American Grana® and the remaining spices: 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
    • Sprinkle the panko/cheese mixture in an even layer on top of the provolone.
    • Bake at 350 degrees until dish is gently bubbling and the cheese/panko topping is golden brown: 35-40 minutes.
    • Let pan rest 5-10 minutes before slicing to allow ingredients to settle. Serve over pasta or with crusty bread.


    Calories: 274kcalCarbohydrates: 19.6gProtein: 12gFat: 15.7gSaturated Fat: 5.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9.9gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 860mgFiber: 4.6gSugar: 8.1g

    SHOW AND TELL ON INSTAGRAM!Show me your creation and rate it below! Mention @thelemonbowl or tag #thelemonbowl! I would LOVE to see!

    Liz DellaCroce

    Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families. Click Here To Subscribe to my newsletter:


    1. Having married an Italian man myself, I totally know how you feel about the cooking! Your baked eggplant would be a hit at our house (and I can say with certainty at my in-laws, as well :) This looks fabulous, Liz!

    2. I LOVE BelGioso and all of their cheeses. Have you tried their burrata or ricotta? They’re amazing. Love your recipe, eggplant parm is one of those dishes I order out but rarely make in. Need to change that.

    3. Love this, as a new grandma and soon to be great aunt I’m trying recipes that freeze well to help my daughter in law and niece! Going to have to try this out soon, one for now and one for the freezer. No complaints from husband and son that they are ‘guinea pigs’.

    4. Bravissima, Liz! Eggplant Parmigiana is one of my favorite things to eat. I usually fry the eggplant for my version, which is so delicious but can be heavy on the calories and sometimes makes the end result a little too greasy. I’ve started baking the eggplant slices and I love the end result even more. The eggplant gets a slightly smoky flavor from the time in the oven and the finished dish is just as tasty. I love your addition of Panko to the top for extra crunch and Bel Gioioso is one of my favorite brands of cheese.

    5. Love this!!! I can just picture those meals with Rich’s family!! I love eggplant parm, my parents made it perfectly at their restaurant, I miss it!
      Jacob is so cute!! Micah is a lover of Italian food too :)

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