Some things are classic for a reason. Eggplant parm is the ultimate freezer food because it somehow holds up more perfectly than almost anything else no matter how much you deviate from the recipe or how long you leave it in the freezer. This might not look like the Italian American version you know, due to its lack of breading, but this is a take on what they serve in southern Italy. This dish is easier and healthier – with no frying involved - but keep in mind that the ingredients here truly matter. Buy a high-quality mozzarella and marinara sauce, and try to shy away from the huge eggplants because their seeds will add a lot of bitterness. You can slice them and salt them for a few hours, but I find that that’s a step too
far when medium-sized eggplants are just as readily available. The main thing to keep in mind is that this dish is meant to be easy.
4 medium or 6 small eggplants
Heavy drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
Dash salt, plus more as needed
2 pounds mozzarella (Buffalo preferred)
32 ounces marinara sauce
1 cup basil
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus more as needed
Make sure the top rack of your oven is approximately 4 inches from the top. Turn on your oven’s broiler. Slice your eggplants crosswise into ½ inch discs. Place them on a sheet pan with a healthy drizzle of olive oil on both sides. Add a generous dash of salt and place them under the broiler for 4 minutes, or until the eggplants have softened. You will want to do this in batches so that the eggplants don’t overlap. While the eggplant cooks, slice or dice the mozzarella as thin as you can.
In oven and freezer-safe dishes, build the eggplant parmesan. Start with a layer of marinara sauce on the bottom. Add a layer of eggplant. Add a thin layer of mozzarella, a dash of salt, then roughly tear some basil on top. Cover with a thin layer of the Parmesan, then start the same process again. Layer until you have almost reached the top of the dish, then sprinkle a heavier layer of Parmesan on top.
If You Are Eating Now
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Place the dish in the oven for 30 minutes. You can broil at the last minute if you would like a bit of browning on the cheese. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.
If You Are Freezing for Later
Make sure all ingredients are cool (if you are not cooking now you will want to let the eggplant cool down as much as possible before touching the cheese). Cover the dish (or dishes) with a lid or plastic wrap and aluminum foil, being sure to get out as much air as possible. Place into the freezer.
When you are ready to eat, preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the covering from the dish and place into the oven. For 2 servings, cook for at least 40 minutes and increase the timing from there, depending on how large the dish is. A good rule of thumb is to add another 10 minutes or so for every serving. If you’re doing more than 4 servings, you can cover the dish for the first hour as needed. You can broil at the last minute if you would like a bit of browning on the cheese. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.
Excerpted from Modern Freezer Meals: Simple Recipes to Cook Now and Freeze for Later. By Ali Rosen (Simon & Schuster, 2021). © 2021 by Ali Rosen.
When you shop using our links, we earn a small commission. It’s a great way to support public media at no extra cost to you!
Each week, The Splendid Table brings you stories that expand your world view, inspire you to try something new and show how food brings us together. We rely on you to do this. And, when you donate, you'll become a member of The Splendid Table Co-op. It's a community of like-minded individuals who love good food, good conversation and kitchen companionship. Splendid Table Co-op members will get exclusive content each month and have special opportunities for connecting with The Splendid Table team.
Donate today for as little as $5.00 a month. Your gift only takes a few minutes and has a lasting impact on The Splendid Table and you'll be welcomed into The Splendid Table Co-op.