cup panko Japanese bread crumbs
cup Progresso™ Italian-style bread crumbs
cup grated Parmesan cheese
teaspoon salt, plus extra for sweating the eggplant
teaspoon ground black pepper
large eggplant, cut into 1/8 inch slices - about 25 slices
cups whole milk ricotta cheese
cups shredded mozzarella cheese
cup grated Parmesan cheese
tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
teaspoon ground black pepper
cups warmed Marinara sauce, either prepared or your own fab recipe
Layout eggplant slices on paper towels, sprinkle with salt and top with another layer of paper towels. Allow to sit for a few minutes. This will remove some of the water from the eggplant and make it more tender.
Place a large metal rack on a baking sheet and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the the filling ingredients – the three cheeses, parsley, salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a shallow container, mix together panko, seasoned breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Lightly whisk the eggs in another shallow container.
Cut the eggplant slices into thirds, lengthwise – you'll have about 50 full strips. Dip each eggplant strip first into the eggs and then into crumb mixture, coating both sides. Place on prepared baking rack.
Bake the eggplant strips at 400°F for 8 minutes, until tender, but not quite golden brown. Allow to cool until you can handle easily.
Spoon about a tablespoon of the cheese filling, and roll lightly into a ball. Place on one end of an eggplant strip and roll up. Secure roll with a toothpick. Place the eggplant rolls on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the filling is just warm and the cheese is beginning to get melty.
Serve the Eggplant Parmesan Bites with warmed marinara sauce, for dipping.
More About This Recipe
- I love Panko bread crumbs–in a completely wholesome and only mildly obsessive way, I swear. Panko gives even oven-baked foods a satisfying, yet light, crunch.And it makes me forget about deep frying. Most of the time. There’s only one thing I don’t love about Panko: despite its many lovely qualities, there’s no other way to say this–it’s kinda bland. So I’m always rummaging around for additional seasonings to throw into breading mixtures, with wildly varying results. Find the complete recipe for the these Eggplant Parmesan Bits here.Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention: the cupboards were bare And I was running low on just about everything, including Panko. So, I made a breading mixture for my favorite little Eggplant Parmesan bites, using the Progresso Italian Style Breadcrumbs with a half-and-half of Panko and Progresso seasoned bread crumbs. It was perfect – still light and crispy, and the seasoned bread crumbs gave the mixture enough “umph” that it only needed a tiny, wee little bit of salt and pepper (and even I can handle that!).Maybe you all do the 50/50 already, but it had never even occurred to me. As such, I became semi-obsessed, and already have a list of recipes I’m dying to 50/50. First, I’d make chicken nuggets out of this Pesto Parmesan Chicken, do the 50/50 and serve with a Pesto aoli. (Yum!) I’d follow that up with Almond-Crusted Shrimp, maybe using the garlic herb flavor. (Double Yum.) Finally, although I loathe to mess with celebrity chef Michael Chiarello’s recipe, I just might give it a go with these fab Crab Cakes Chairello. (Crescendo of yum!!!)Alright, now that I’ve got that out my system, lets talk Eggplant Parmesan Bites. They’re easy and delicious, and everything you love about an eggplant parm, in a self-contained little bite!Serve the Eggplant Parmesan Bites with warmed marinara sauce, for dipping.
- Here are some other fun Panko recipes.
Eggplant Parmesan Casserole
This cheesy, saucy Eggplant Parmesan Casserole is my kind of comfort food. The sauce is fresh and tomato-y, the sour cream/cream cheese layers are creamy and tangy and indulgent, the breaded eggplant slices are tasty and “meaty” and the overall effect is warm, cheesy and delicious. It’s also one of those vegetarian meals that’s hearty enough that you’ll never miss the meat!
The recipe has a few steps, but the initial baking of the eggplant slices can be done at the same time as you make the tomato sauce and mix the sour cream and cream cheese together, so I promise it doesn’t take as long as it looks. I served this with a side salad and I was stuffed afterwards – a great “bargain” at just 257 calories or 7 Weight Watchers SmartPoints on all three myWW color plans!
Ingredients for Eggplant Parmesan Bites
- 2 Eggplants (peeled and diced into small pieces)
- 75 grams (1/3 cup) of Tomato Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons of Fresh Basil (or 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil)
- 35 grams (1/3 cup) + 2 Tablespoons of Freshly Grated Parmesan (more or less to taste)
- 200 grams (1 cup) of Mozzarella Cheese
- 50 grams (1/4 cup) + 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 8 Sheets of Frozen Phyllo Dough (defrosted)
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Eggplant Parmesan Poppers
The only thing I’ve ever really known how to cook with eggplant (before this week) was eggplant parmesan. And I wasn’t even very good at that. They’d always come out soggy or chewy or good enough (but not good enough to actually serve to anyone). But I wanted to master the magnificence that is eggplant parmesan.
So I thought hmmm, how can we get these puppies to cook evenly. Dice them! Yes, yes…we’ll dice them then bread them! Breading is a fun, messy step that I always love. It involves an assembly line of flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs.
But how can we incorporate in that parmesan? With the breadcrumbs! These Eggplant Parmesan Bites are a fun and tasty snack to serve up as an appetizer, sprinkled over a bed of pasta, or as a meal by themselves.
Now a lot of recipe will have you deep fry then bake your eggplant parmesan, but that’s just 1) not the healthiest way of doing this and 2) too much damn cooking for this air condition-less European summer heat. No, no baking or frying.
Today we’ll pan-fry, which is just cooking on the stove with a small amount of oil. At a medium heat you’ll get a nice, crispy exterior while also reaching a fully cooked eggplant center. And it only take like 4 minutes!