Eggplant Parmesan Melts

Eggplant parm melts: a handheld dinner. No need to fry the eggplant (or even bread it), and it bakes up faster than the traditional eggplant parm. #eggplantparmesan #italianfood #openfacedsandwich

can we talking about working in the real world today? (i’m not, but i’m in the midst of finding an internship and remembering what working 4o hours/week last summer [though tbh it was definitely less for various reasons] felt like). about working full time and how i’m having trouble figuring out how anyone can do anything besides lie on the couch and read and sleep after they get home from work. i like to think that i’m fairly cynical realistic, but i still romanticize some things way too much (ie how working is so much better than going to school bc you don’t have to study and [most of the time] once you come home from work, that’s it, no need to do homework or other crap later. hah).

if you have a modicum of energy and ambition after work (kudos to you!! might i suggest calling your senators? i promise it takes less than 2 minutes, and then you can make all the eggplant parmesan melts your heart/stomach could want), make these. if you have slightly less, forget the egg and panko and just roast the eggplant, ditch the bread, then build these up on roasted eggplant. either way, you’re going to end up with a surprisingly hearty meatless dinner, filled with tender eggplant, melty mozzarella, slightly salty/funky/groovy parmesan, and fresh basil. if you have bread: great, you get some crunchy carbs. if not: it’s still january, so you can pass off your laziness as a health streak.

and if you have nothing left in you, then order in or make someone else cook for you or eat cereal bc you deserve it.

1 year ago: Huckleberry’s Chocolate Chunk Muffins, Stovetop Granola: Cinnamon Apple Coconut
2 years ago: Chocolate Meringue Cake with Whipped Cream and Raspberries, Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes
3 years ago: Basic Scones, Espresso Bark

Melty mozzarella blankets over tender eggplant, plenty of marinara sauce and crusty bread on this eggplant parm melt. #eggplantparmesan #italianfood #openfacedsandwich

Eggplant Parmesan Melts
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
Eggplant parmesan, but imagined into an open-faced sandwich. If you've ever wanted hand-held eggplant parmesan, this is it.
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: basil, cheese, eggplant, eggs, herbs, marinara sauce, mozzarella, nut-free, panko, parmesan, tomatoes, vegetarian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 537 kcal
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs work in a pinch
  • 1 medium eggplant sliced into 1/2” thick rounds
  • 1 loaf Italian bread or anything crusty
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 8 oz whole milk mozzarella thinly sliced (not fresh mozzarella)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chiffonaded basil
  1. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs with salt. Spread the panko in a shallow pie plate.
  2. Oil a baking sheet. Dip the eggplant in egg, then panko; transfer to the baking sheet. Drizzle the eggplant with a bit more oil (this helps make them extra crispy). Bake (without turning) at 475F until golden and tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Alternatively, you could just roast the eggplant with oil and salt (no dredging needed).
  3. Cut the bread lengthwise. Remove a bit of the bread so that the filling has somewhere to live (I'd recommend this bit of bread to make breadcrumbs for another day). Layer both halves with sauce, eggplant and cheeses. Bake until cheese is browned in spots, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Cut the eggplant parmesan melts into slices (or just caveman it and eat whole). Sprinkle the basil on top and serve with extra marinara on the side.
Recipe Notes

Adapted slightly from Everyday Food.

You actually don’t need to serve these on bread, if you don’t want to. You can omit it and layer the marinara, cheese and basil on a base of eggplant. Just make sure that you dredge the eggplant in egg + panko (instead of only roasting it), since it helps add more stability to the eggplant.

38 Replies to “Eggplant Parmesan Melts”

  1. I was the same way when I was in school. I said work would be awesome because we wouldn’t have to stress about midterms and assignments and failing. Then when I started to work, well, I still feel the same way. School was stressful, I don’t miss it. 😀 Work is another ball game though, the energy you put into it leaves you like a walking zombie in the evening – and then we have to muster up the energy to eat and oh yea – cook. These parmesan melts are right up my alley, they sound so flavourful and simple to make! Better than the hummus and carrots I used to have night after night on my lazy nights! haha 🙂

    1. well hummus and carrots is a good combo (one that i definitely find myself eating a lot of, along with pb&j and cold tofu sprinkled with furikake) so i don’t blame you 😉

  2. I don’t know why but I’m addicted to eggplant. It could be because it’s purple, and purple is my favorite color, or the meaty texture, whatever it is eggplant is my go-to veggie. I don’t make eggplant parmesan often; I love this recipe 🙂 Working in the real world sucks. When I resigned from my last job to work for myself I told my boss I was having a hard time working on my projects after work, he laughed at me and said… that’s life. Well, life sucks sometimes because I work harder working for myself then I ever have 🙂

    1. sameeee. purple is gorgeous (especially that deep eggplant shade). and i find myself always craving garlic eggplant when i get chinese food; it’s so good! ouch. that sounds rough. glad you have more freedom over when/what you do now!

  3. This looks SO GOOD!! Perfect for a fun get together with friends, I bet! Thanks for sharing! <3 –

    1. thanks! they’d be fun for brunch or lunch with friends. i bake more than cook with my friends, but some savoriness is always nice to break up the sugar, and i can imagine how well these would go over.

  4. These look absolutely fantastic!

    1. thanks tori! they’re definitely comfort food and even though i love playing around with new flavors, sometimes it’s nice to go with old favorites.

  5. Live because to work. Or work because to live..
    This is question 🙂

    Thanks for good recipe.

    1. oooh yes. this. i tend towards the work to live side, but i can see how absorbing it would be to get stuck working non-stop in this competitive, rat race world.

  6. These eggplant parmesean melts look incredible! I love that they’re easy enough that I can make them after getting home from work and being all zombie/lazy. I have to admit that on days like that I usually order take out (shhh..) but now I’ll make these amazing sandwiches instead! No more excuses! Thanks for this delicious recipe!

    1. self-care in the form of take out is completely acceptable 😉 some of these components can also be made ahead (ie if you roast the eggplant and make the sauce on the weekend, then there’s just assembly and baking the sandwiches off on the weekday!).

  7. Made me laugh – as I work a full time job and then try to run a food blog in my spare time – and I also just want to lay on the couch most nights! Thanks for the recipe inspiration to get us all through!

    1. oy. i feel like 99% of bloggers do it as a side hustle/hobby and then work full time as well. idk how everyone does it along with everything else! major props to you.

  8. These are gorgeous! Love that they’re baked. I’ve only ever used panko crumbs on fish, but they sound perfect for crispy eggplant slices. and I’m so with you with collapsing after a full day of work – I don’t know how some of my classmates manage to study for hours in the evening. I’m straight in bed!! x

    1. panko is amazing on everything i’ve put it on (it’s delicious on tofu, and i think i’ve done baked chicken tenders with it)! last night i gave up and ate celery with peanut butter for dinner, then watched youtube in bed. oops.

  9. I could totally go for this right about now. I think these winter days make it extra hard to be motived after work. I’m all about Netflix and lazy girls suppers < 3

    1. i think the winter helps and hurts, lol. i’m lazier, but at the same time want something warm and cozy rather than cold cereal/toast/hummus and veggies.

  10. This is one of my favorite way to eat eggplant. This recipe is super easy and tasty!!

    1. thanks, carlos! it’s one of my favorites, too (i mean, anything with bubbly, melty, golden cheese is my favorite 😋 but still).

  11. I love this cheesy eggplant combined and with bread, I can’t even! 😍 In Syria we love fried eggplants with potatoes and cauliflower, a bit of garlic and spice but whenever my Dutch side kicks in, you just have to put cheese on it too! I’ve never tried eggplant like this though, definitely have to make it! Thanks for sharing 💙💙

    1. whoa, do you have a recipe for that fried eggplant with potato and cauliflower dish?! that sounds amazing! i definitely lean more towards vegetables/carbs than meat, and fried anything is delicious. what kind of cheese do you use for it?

      1. Hi Heather 🙂 I don’t have a recipe exactly but you basically just fry eggplant, cauliflower and sliced potatoes and serve with sliced bread. I’m going to ask my mum for more details as she’s the best chef on earth 😉 as for cheese I usually use mozzarella and I’ve even seen a recipe for mozzarella filled fried eggplants, i think breaded! Oh I’m going to have to search for that recipe and I’ll definitely send it to you! 🙂

        1. i think asking your mom for help is something you never grow out of (though it seems most prevalent in college lol). can’t wait to see the recipe! and goodness mozzarella filled fried eggplant?! do you have a recipe for that, too?

  12. This is delicious fuel to keep being awesome. I love eggplant – beautiful presentation on these savory sammies!

    1. thanks, jessie! i love how the different colors and textures layer, and it’s easy to make it look pretty 😊

  13. This looks so delicious! I am growing eggplant in my garden this year after falling in love with it in last year’s garden for the first time and this looks like a great recipe to try!

    1. is eggplant easy to grow? my family usually does some basil and tomatoes (okay, usually we buy a basil plant during spring and we end up bailing on the tomatoes and reaping the benefits from my aunt’s tomato plants), but never eggplant!

      1. I bought a small patio eggplant last year and it grew easily after our heat subsided closer to fall. We got the most delicious small round eggplants. They were beautiful and delicious! In Oklahoma, our summers get so hot, we struggle with tomatoes which makes me SO SAD!

        1. might have to experiment with growing eggplant then! will still be chowing down on storebought/farmers market ones in the mean time (: i’m fresh out of tomato gardening advice except maybe move to california/a more moderate climate just for summer to grow tomatoes? that makes a lot of sense (;

  14. I’m always afraid of using eggplant, but you make this look so easy! Definitely need to give it a try! Thanks for the great recipe.

    1. eggplant is easy to use, i promise! last night i cubed it and cooked it with garlic, onions and fennel until it was tender. it got served with some couscous and a fried egg, super tasty! it’s also really tasty grilled and roasted. and you can flavor it however you want.

  15. I have some fresh eggplant right now! Looks like I’m making this for dinner 🙂

    Happy Valentine’s Day by the way! What did you do? 🙂


    1. let me know how it goes if you try it out! it’s the morning of valentine’s day here in california so i haven’t done much yet besides fight with my wifi, and then i have a midterm tonight. fun day, i know, but i’m not a huge valentine’s day person anyways, so it’s fine 😊

  16. I’m in the same situation right now as graduation is coming up fast! It’s so stressful. I wonder what this would taste like with dairy free cheese. Can’t have dairy 🙁

    1. i can’t say i have much experience with dairy free cheese except maybe nutritional yeast (does that even count as cheese? it tastes cheese-y), but i’m sure as long as you like it alone, you’d like it in the melt (: the eggplant, tomato sauce and bread are pretty tame so they’d be fine pairing with a lot of different cheeses.

  17. I love eggplant parmesan and eggplant sandwiches like these. So yummy! I like to fry or bake up a bunch of breaded eggplant and then flash freeze them so I can just pull out a few slices at a time.

    1. that’s a good idea! i don’t freeze my leftovers as much as i should (and therefore end up eating the same thing for lunch and dinner for days, haha).

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