Impress with Easy Pesto Eggplant Parmesan

by | Nov 9, 2023 | Dinner | 0 comments

A Match Made in Heaven: Basil Pesto & Eggplant

Imagine the delightful blend of flavors in your mouth. Basil pesto and eggplant come together in this dish, creating a taste sensation. This Pesto Eggplant Parmesan is not just any ordinary dish. It’s a symphony of flavors that perfectly complement each other. The basil pesto elevates the humble eggplant to new heights, creating a dish that is both sophisticated and comforting.

Quick and Easy Pesto Eggplant Parmesan, Yet Fit for Company

Preparing a meal after a long day can often feel daunting. However, this dish changes the game. It’s quick and easy to prepare, making it ideal for those busy weeknights. But don’t be fooled by its simplicity. This Pesto Eggplant Parmesan is also elegant enough to serve to company. Impress your guests with a dish that looks like it took hours to prepare, but in reality, was a breeze to make.

Fresh Ingredients for the Best Flavor

The key to this dish’s irresistible flavor lies in its fresh ingredients. While you can use store-bought marinara sauce and pesto, the dish truly shines with homemade versions. And let’s not forget the star—fresh mozzarella cheese. Its creamy texture and rich flavor take this Pesto Eggplant Parmesan to the next level. Trust me, using fresh mozzarella is a game-changer.

The Recipe: Simple Steps to Deliciousness

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 large eggplant, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 c. marinara sauce
  • 1/2 c. basil pesto
  • 1 7-oz. ball fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 c. fresh basil, chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preparation: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Roast the Eggplant: Arrange the eggplant slices on the baking sheet. Roast until browned, about 20 minutes.
  3. Layering: Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish with the remaining olive oil. Layer half the eggplant, marinara, pesto, and mozzarella. Repeat the layers, finishing with parmesan on top.
  4. Bake to Perfection: Roast in the oven until bubbly and golden, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Serve Hot: Garnish with fresh basil. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Pairing for a Complete Meal

To round off this exquisite meal, pair it with a hearty salad. The freshness of the salad balances the rich, savory flavors of the Pesto Eggplant Parmesan, creating a perfectly harmonious meal.

Embracing Vegetarian Elegance of a Pesto Eggplant Parmesan

Embracing a vegetarian lifestyle or simply incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet has never been more delightful. The Pesto Eggplant Parmesan is a testament to how vegetarian dishes can be both hearty and luxurious. Eggplant, with its meaty texture, provides a satisfying heartiness, while the basil pesto adds a burst of fresh, herby flavor. This dish stands as a prime example of how vegetarian meals can be as indulgent and fulfilling as their meat-based counterparts, proving that you don’t need to compromise on flavor to enjoy a plant-based diet.

The Magic of Fresh Mozzarella

The use of fresh mozzarella in this recipe cannot be overstated. Unlike its pre-shredded counterpart, fresh mozzarella melts beautifully, creating a creamy, oozy layer that perfectly complements the textures of the roasted eggplant and the rich pesto. The difference is noticeable, elevating the dish from good to gourmet. If you haven’t cooked with fresh mozzarella before, this recipe is the perfect opportunity to experience its transformative power in a dish. It’s a small detail that makes a world of difference in the final result.

A Symphony of Flavors in Every Bite of the Pesto Eggplant Parmesan

Each bite of the Pesto Eggplant Parmesan is a symphony of flavors. The roasted eggplant provides a smoky, earthy base, layered with the tangy sweetness of the marinara sauce. The basil pesto adds a vibrant, herby kick, while the creamy mozzarella and sharp parmesan create a rich, cheesy melody. It’s a harmonious blend that dances on the palate, making each bite a delightful experience. The combination of textures and flavors in this dish is a testament to the magic that happens when simple, high-quality ingredients come together in just the right way.

Pesto Eggplant Parmesan

Pesto Eggplant Parmesan

Discover the joys of Pesto Eggplant Parmesan: a quick, elegant vegetarian dish perfect for busy nights or special guests. Fresh mozzarella stars!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: eggplant, mozzerella, pesto, vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 407kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 large eggplant thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups marinara sauce homemade or store-bought
  • ½ cup basil pesto homemade or store-bought
  • 7 oz ball fresh mozzarella cheese thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • ½ cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 dash sea salt to taste
  • 1 dash black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F and grease a large rimmed baking sheet with one tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Arrange the prepared eggplant slices on the greased baking sheet and place in the oven to roast until nicely browned around the edges, around 20 minutes.
  • Remove the eggplant slices from the oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes. 
  • Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Arrange half of the roasted eggplant slices on the bottom of the casserole dish. Top with half of the marinara, half of the pesto, and half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat for the second layer and finish by sprinkling the parmesan on top. You can also use a smaller baking dish and make more layers for a taller eggplant parmesan.
  • Place in the oven to roast until everything is bubbling nicely and the cheese is all melted and golden, around 10-15 minutes. Top with fresh parsley and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

The basil pesto really complements the eggplant in this easy vegetarian dish. This dish is quick and easy making it a perfect weeknight meal, yet it is elegant enough to serve to company. Pair with a hearty salad for a delicious complete meal. Note – Fresh mozzarella is highly recommended in this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 1149mg | Potassium: 588mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1592IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 403mg | Iron: 2mg

Conclusion:

This Pesto Eggplant Parmesan recipe is more than just food; it’s an experience. It’s the perfect blend of ease, elegance, and exquisite taste. Whether you’re cooking for yourself on a weeknight or entertaining guests, this dish is sure to impress. Give it a try and watch it become a new favorite in your culinary repertoire!

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