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a large square of eggplant and zucchini parmigiana on a plate with grated cheese sprinkled on top

Italian Eggplant & Zucchini Parmigiana (Gluten-Free)

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  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This ooey-gooey melty layered Eggplant and Zucchini Parmigiana is as satisfying and scrumptious as your favorite lasagna, but it’s noodle-less (and you won’t even miss them). This Italian “Melanzane e Zucchine Parmigiana” is a family favorite recipe we enjoy year-round.


For the Tomato Passata Sauce

  • 4 pounds fresh Italian tomatoes (or sub two 20-ounce jars San Marzano tomato passata) (1500g)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (30g)
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 3 to 4 medium garlic cloves, smashed
  • salt to taste
  • 1 fresh basil leaf (optional)

For the Rest of the Parmigiana (casserole)

  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick lengthwise (680g)
  • 1 1/2 pounds Italian eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick (680g)
  • 4 balls fresh mozzarella (3 1/2 ounces each) (or 1 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella) (400g)*
  • 3 1/2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (or Grana Padano, or Parmesan cheese) (100g)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (to pan-sear the zucchini) (15g)
  • salt to taste

*Using low-moisture pre-shredded mozzarella is less expensive and results in a slightly creamier baked dish. Use what’s available to you, or the most cost-effective (both versions are delicious). Or try using a combination of both cheeses.


  1. Blanch the tomatoes. (Skip to Step #2 if using bottled tomato passata) Wash and score tomatoes and drop them into a 4-quart pot of boiling water for about 1 minute, or until the skins start to peel back. Remove tomatoes to a bowl using a slotted spoon and allow to slightly cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the peels, chop them in a food processor, strain them using a fine-mesh sieve to remove the seeds, and set the tomato purée aside.
  2. Make the tomato sauce. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat, add the smashed garlic, onions, and carrot, and cook until onions are translucent and the carrots are tender (about 5 to 6 minutes). Add the tomato purée, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, add salt to taste and a leaf of basil (if desired), and cook uncovered over low heat until the sauce is slightly reduced, or about 25 minutes. *If using jarred tomato passata, your sauce may be ready after just 25 minutes of cooking the tomatoes because commercial passata is much thicker to start than freshly puréed tomatoes. Cover the sauce with a lid left slightly ajar and continue cooking over low heat for about 25 more minutes stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and continue cooking for about 10 minutes more, or until the sauce has thickened and is a glistening deep red color; remove the garlic cloves and set the sauce aside.
  3. Dry the eggplant slices. While your tomato sauce is cooking, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and place eggplant slices directly onto the oven racks (just slightly overlapping if needed in order to fit them all) and allow them to cook and slightly dry out for about 25-30 minutes; remove them to a bowl.
  4. Pan-sear the zucchini slices. While the eggplant is drying in the oven, heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add zucchini slices in a single layer, sprinkle with salt to taste, and cook until golden brown (about 3 minutes), then flip them over and continue cooking 2 minutes more and remove from the skillet. Repeat with remaining zucchini slices, adding the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil as needed.
  5. Assemble the parmigiana. In a 9×13-inch casserole dish, add about 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce and spread it out thinly. Add a layer of slightly overlapping eggplant slices and top with 1/4 cup sauce and spread it out thinly. *You may chop all of the eggplant into a large dice if desired and then layer it which makes the finished casserole easier to cut. Add a layer of grated cheese and top with one ball of torn or grated mozzarella. Add a layer of slightly overlapping zucchini, 1/4 cup more sauce spread out thinly, then add grated cheese and another layer of mozzarella. Repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients ending with a layer of grated cheese and torn mozzarella.
  6. Bake the parmigiana. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in a 375°F/190°C preheated oven for 1 hour, remove the foil and continue baking for 20-30 minutes longer, or until much of the juices have concentrated and evaporated allowing you to avoid a watery Parmigiana. Turn the broiler function on and continue cooking the Parmigiana for 5 more minutes, or until the top is golden brown, remove from the oven, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!


  • When making a (non-fried) eggplant and zucchini parmigiana like this one, it’s important to remove moisture from the vegetables first before assembling and baking the casserole. Otherwise, the parmigiana will be runny from the vegetables releasing their natural water while baking.
  • If you feel the parmigiana is too “liquidy” when you first remove it from the oven, don’t worry. This can happen for a couple of easily-remedied reasons.
    • It can be because you didn’t dry out the eggplant enough before layering them in.
    • It can happen because the zucchini has a high moisture content.
    • It can also happen if you didn’t cook the tomato sauce long enough to reduce it to a thicker consistency.
    • None of these issues will ruin your delicious parmigiana! It just means you need to continue baking it a little longer (uncovered). This will help some of the natural water to evaporate and for the vegetables to soak up more of the sauce as it bakes. As the parmigiana cools, it will soak up more of the sauce, so don’t cut it right after removing it from the oven. Instead, allow it time for everything to “set up” before slicing into it. 
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Oven Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 1/8 of the Parmigiana
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