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Chef Dawn Ludwig at Always Hungry Shares her Eggplant Parmesan

eggplant parmesan on white plate with fresh basil
eggplant parmesan on white plate with fresh basil

Image courtesy of Chef Dawn Ludwig

Eggplant parmesan is the perfect dish for chilly autumn days because of its hearty warmth and creamy texture. Most recipes achieve this via breadcrumbs that offer very little in the way of health benefits. Why add a highly processed element to a delicious, whole foods meal? This recipe uses tofu to accomplish all the heft and body of breadcrumbs, but with the added benefit of protein. If you’re a little weary of tofu, this is the perfect recipe to get you in a loving mood towards the soy product. Crumbled into the cheese sauce, the tofu adds only that little extra oomph that makes the dish both filling and satisfying. Try for yourself and let us know what you think!

eggplant parmesan in pan with melted cheese and whole tomatoes on the vine

Image courtesy of Chef Dawn Ludwig

The ALWAYS HUNGRY? book program is geared towards people that are not yet vegetarian. We hope to guide our readers in the direction of eating a plant-based diet, but we still provide recipes with meat in them. Almost all of our recipes, both in the book and on our website, include a vegan or vegetarian option listed right along side it. We hope you come check it out!

Eggplant Parmesan

Servings: 4


  • 1 medium eggplant about 1 pound, cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon salt adjust based on the saltiness of marinara sauce
  • 14 to 16 ounces extra-firm tofu drained and gently pressed with an absorbent towel
  • ¹/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 large zucchini cut into ¼-inch rounds
  • 2 cups marinara sauce no added sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup grated vegetarian or vegan Parmesan cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Brush the eggplant with the oil and arrange the rounds in a single layer, or slightly overlapping at the edges, on a large baking sheet (or two, if necessary). Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Roast until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven but leave the oven on.
  • Meanwhile, crumble the tofu into a large bowl with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the pepper. Combine well. Stir in the mozzarella and ricotta until well mixed.
  • Cover the bottom of a 9 x 12-inch baking dish with ¾ cup of the marinara sauce. Top with half the basil, then half the roasted eggplant, half the zucchini, and half the mozzarella mixture. Repeat by topping with another ¾ cup of the marinara sauce and the remaining basil, eggplant, zucchini, and mozzarella mixture.
  • Top with the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan
  • Roast until the eggplant is soft, the casserole is bubbling throughout, and the Parmesan is golden brown on top, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.


This recipe can be made with vegan cheeses or with cheese not made with animal enzymes.
Craving more veg-friendly recipes? Shop our collection of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks!

Excerpted from the book ALWAYS HUNGRY? By David Ludwig, MD, PhD. Copyright ã 2015 by David Ludwig, MD, PhD. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing.  All rights reserved.