In this Baked Eggplant recipe, eggplant is halved, drizzled with a garlic butter and topped with grated pecorino and breadcrumbs. Serve as is or with your favorite marinara on the side.
In a perfect world my family would be down with the whole #MeatlessMonday movement.
The reality of my life is that they are not and if eggplant is involved, I can just forget about it. Me on the other hand, I LOVE a good meatless recipe. Mushroom burgers, cauliflower steaks and all the eggplant. This baked eggplant recipe was inspired by my grilled zucchini recipe that I shared over the summer. While I was grilling the zucchini, I thought baking eggplant in a similar way would be great fall meatless main dish.
With this eggplant recipe I followed a similar path. Making deeper checkerboard cuts into eggplant, drizzling with melted butter, garlic and topping it with a mixture of grated pecorino and panko breadcrumbs.
It’s tender and with so much flavor, thanks to butter, garlic and herbs which contrasts nicely with the crispy, crunchy and cheesy breadcrumbs. Which, if you ask me, is the best of both worlds.
To Make This Baked Eggplant with Pecorino Crumbs You Will Need:
- unsalted butter
- kosher slat
- freshly ground black pepper
- panko breadcrumbs
- pecorino cheese
- olive oil or olive oil spray
Preheat your oven to 350℉ (or 180℃).
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice 2 eggplants in half. Then make crisscross or checkerboard-like cuts two-thirds of the way through. Do your best not going all the way through the skin of the eggplant. Then drizzle or brush each halve with 2 tablespoons melted butter.
If you’re worried about the garlic flavor being a little too intense, sauté the garlic in with the butter for 1 to 2 minutes on medium-low heat, then brush or pour it over top.
Next, sprinkle with 2 cloves minced fresh garlic, 2 tablespoons each minced parsley and basil, salt and pepper to taste. Then, try to work the garlic and parsley into the cuts. This recipe is superb with basil too!
I had plans to do a mix of basil and parsley, but when I checked my basil plant I found the leaves already starting to turn brown and curl. Meaning I couldn’t use it for this post. If you have fresh basil, I would use 2 tablespoons minced with 2 tablespoons minced parsley.
Then in a small bowl combine 1/3 cup each of the freshly grate pecorino and panko bread crumbs and sprinkle over top. Drizzle with a little olive oil before sliding the eggplant into your preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the eggplant is super tender and the breadcrumbs are golden.
The baked eggplant should smell amazing and be slouching down towards the pan. The breadcrumbs golden and crisp.
If desired, drizzle with a little bit more olive oil before serving.
As the main dish, this baked eggplant is SO easy. It’s perfect next to a salad, quinoa or a medley of roasted veggies.
Baked Eggplant with Pecorino Crumbs
- 2 medium eggplants, washed and cut in half
- 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs, homemade or store-bought
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Preheat your oven to 350℉ (or 180℃).
- Line a rimmed, metal sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Meanwhile, slice each eggplant half crosswise (like a checkerboard) 3/4 of the way deep, but not all the way through.
- Drizzle the melted butter over each eggplant half.
- Place the eggplant halves on prepared pan. Work the minced garlic, basil and parsley into the cuts of the eggplant. Toss the breadcrumbs with the cheese and sprinkle it overtop. Drizzle the tops with olive oil.
- Bake the eggplants in your preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender.
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