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Lighter Eggplant Parmesan

Baked eggplant and a healthier bechamel match up in an Italian classic made virtuous. The cheeses are on top, instead of in layers, with a creamy pink sauce underneath.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
Lighter Eggplant Parmesan

Source: Everyday Food, 2008


  • 1 large eggplant (2 pounds), sliced 1/2 inch thick crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup fat-free (skim) milk
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup homemade or best-quality store-bought marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated part-skim mozzarella
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Arrange eggplant on two rimmed baking sheets. Brush eggplant on both sides with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown and very tender, 20 to 25 minutes, turning slices and rotating sheets halfway through.

  2. Meanwhile, make sauce: Off heat, in a medium saucepan, whisk together 1/4 cup milk, flour, and garlic. Gradually whisk in remaining 3/4 cup milk and 1/2 cup marinara sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until pink sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Alternate layers of baked eggplant with pink sauce. Dollop with remaining 1/4 cup marinara sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake on upper rack until browned and bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes.

Reviews (35)

  • Matthew James 9 Mar, 2015

    Very good, but it needs twice the marinara sauce (2 cups total).

  • Leann 13 Oct, 2013

    Give yourself time to cook this dish... But once done, you'll love it! I serve it over bucatini pasta - absolutely delicious! It tastes just wonderful.

  • cegan 12 Feb, 2013

    I substituted mozzarella almond cheese, and it turned out well.

  • allee_007 29 Aug, 2012

    I caught part of this on the Today Show for the Labor Day segment. I am developing a craving for eggplant but fried eggplant is too heavy unless I drive a bulldozer over it with paper towels.I will use real mozzarella but bake it. Counting calories is so 80's. I used to miss out on truly great flavor by undermining recipes.

  • kszymano 10 Feb, 2012

    This is delicious, have made it many times. packergal, this is lighter than breaded and fried eggplant parm with full fat mozzarella.

  • arcoirisdesign 30 Jan, 2012

    Tried Yesterday and was delicious!!

  • banders5 26 Aug, 2011

    As per usual, no food values are given and this makes this lighter than what?

  • private 19 Aug, 2011

    Salad eggplant

  • enon 9 Aug, 2011

    This meal is devine! Flavors are light and delictable and it is very easy to prepare.

  • JBrun 5 May, 2011

    Are there no meatless recipes on this site that don't have a bunch of cheese in them?

  • jdmatpeace 7 Apr, 2011

    Definitely need larger eggplants to fill that sized dish. I ran out of marinara, but I just used pink sauce & the cheese to top. I had some beet greens I wanted to use up, so I sauteed them in a tiny bit of olive oil with some Italian spices and then layered them between the eggplant. Delicious! Serve with a salad and some whole grain pasta for a great, filling meal!

  • JanetHaimowitz 1 Apr, 2011

    Love this recipe , BUT... The measurements are off, way off. I had to double the sauce in order to get all the eggplant covered. I also added the ricotta cheese, lo skim, to this recipe in between the layers. This not only enhanced the flavor ,but also stretched the recipe to fill a 9x13 pan. I used 3 nice sized eggplants , just a little over 2 pounds and it did not fill the 9x13 pan. Taste fantastic but you will have to make adjustments....

  • lauralee422 20 Mar, 2011

    YUMMY :) I used whole wheat flour and it was great, definitley doesn't taste light. Will be sure to make this again.

  • slausonkitten 15 Mar, 2011

    Why is it necessary to pre cook the eggplant?

  • Kakemakker 5 Mar, 2011

    All these recipes are great but with no calorie count, how do we know what healthy means? Please consider giving nutritional information on all your recipes.. thanks

  • lsegrest 15 Oct, 2010

    How about fat/sodium/calories/serving size - all that needs to be added to the recipe so that you know exactly what you are eating

  • sweinm1033 28 Sep, 2010

    I am currently working on losing 70 lbs. I am on a low fat, high protein diet. My dietian liked this recipe but suggested adding a layer of no-fat or low-fat ricotta cheese to ramp up the protein.

  • ecollins 5 Aug, 2010

    This is delicious and so easy! I don't feel like I've over-indulged, either. Everyone is right about the sauce--it's 2 1/2 cups. I added a little extra paremsan, too.


  • Deborah18 19 Jul, 2010

    Made this tonight and it's FAB! But the 1 cup of sauce must be a misprint. You need closer to 2 cups.

  • azgirlchar 13 Jul, 2010

    I haven't tried the recipe yet, but as I read it -- I interpret it to used 1/2 cup in the bechamel sauce and part of the remaining cup of the marinara under the eggplant and the other part remaining on top. I am not sure if the one cup called for would be enough marinara. I hope the website will publish a clarification of this issue.


  • kajinkat 26 Jun, 2010

    I noticed the mistake about the marinara sauce too, used about 2 1/2 cups instead and only one large pan for the eggplant. The results - amazing. Easily the best eggplant Parmesan I've ever had and I'm a big fan of that dish! I try it whenever I go to an new Italian restaurant but will be making it at home from now on.

  • sacker 23 Jun, 2010

    eleroy44: perhaps they assume the use of two rather large baking sheets, in which case you'd put one on each rack?

  • eleroy44 22 Jun, 2010

    And something else, while I'm writing. The recipe calls for 1 cup of marinara sauce. You use a half cup to make the b?

  • eleroy44 22 Jun, 2010

    This recipe says to put the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. When baking the eggplant first, there is no reference to which rack to use. After the dish is assembled, however, it is finally baked on the upper rack. I'm guessing the first baking effort is on the lower rack. Is that the assumption of others?

  • sarahdugan2000 17 Apr, 2010

    I just entered this recipe in my LivingCookbook software. It comes out to 230 calories; 10.3g fat; 12.7g protein; 22.7g carbs per serving

  • delraynancy 6 Apr, 2010

    I made this last night and it was delicious, I did put a little ricottta cheese in it. My husband loved it

  • Tuftongirl 25 Mar, 2010

    Actually, nutritional information would really be helpful for all the recipes on this site. And...I don't think sarcasm is warranted or wanted!

  • Taterheadder 9 Mar, 2010

    To phoebew - Well, "fat free" and "part skim" are kind of clues to light vs. heavy-duty traditional Italian. Same for quantities -- like 1/2 cup vs. 1 cup. If you're worried about nutrition numbers, have a dry cracker instead.

  • katstar 6 Mar, 2010

    I made a vegan version with soy milk and rice-based mozzarella and rice parmesan and the family devoured it! So easy to prepare, this will become a new weekly staple.

  • rwselch 2 Mar, 2010

    How we know it's "light"? There are no nutrition facts!!

  • Annemarsh 17 Feb, 2010

    This meatless dinner satisfied and then some. It was well received, even by the "I don't like eggplant" tasters. Served with a crisp salad, it was delightfully easy and delicious.

  • allygezelle 30 Mar, 2009

    I made this recipe for my family and everyone loved it (and they're a tough crowd)! This will replace my favorite Italian classic recipe as it's so healthy and tasty. It's easy enough to make on a school/work night. Very yummy. Thanks again Martha!

  • tifscatku 8 Dec, 2008

    This was a very easy, delicious recipe. Make sure that you cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch thickness. I did 1/4, because that was the highest thickness on my mandolin, and they were too thin ( I should have reduced the time to 15 minutes total). I put foil down for the eggplant slices, and will spray it with Pam to reduce sticking. I found that there was plenty of sauce, I used a small jar of store bought marinara. Next time I'll add crushed red pepper, 1/4 tsp., to the recipe to spice it up!

  • omall004 8 Dec, 2008

    I peeled off strips of the eggplant skin as ajca suggested and that worked well--this isn't exactly eggplant season so the skin is pretty tough. I used 2 1-pound eggplants as my store didn't have any larger. Otherwise, this was really good. Quite easy to make. My sauce/eggplant ratios worked out fine per the recipe. The only other suggestion I would make is to let it sit for a few minutes after it comes out of the oven to thicken up a bit.

  • ajca 20 Nov, 2008

    This was yummy, but the skin on the eggplant was very tough. I would try peeling some of it off in "stripes" next time. Also, I found that I used more sauce and twice as much eggplant.

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