Eggplant Parmesan with Sausage, Mushroom and Olive Marinara Sauce is make ahead comfort food at its best! Breaded and fried eggplant slices are layered like shingles in two rows in a baking dish along with piquant marinara sauce, Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses.
- 2 medium eggplants, thinly sliced into rounds
- 6 cups marinara sauce
- 1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
- 1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes with garlic, undrained
- 6 large mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 6 to 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound mild Italian pork sausage, casings removed (or purchase bulk)
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 cup (4 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Mozzarella cheese
- Slice the eggplant crosswise about 1/4-inch thick; place in a large bowl of cold water to soak.
- In a large saucepan or skillet, stir together the marinara sauce, olives, tomatoes, mushrooms, Italian seasoning and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer while cooking the sausage.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until no longer pink; drain. Chop briefly in a food processor to break into small pieces. Stir into sauce; continue to simmer while preparing the eggplant.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. Place the breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl. Remove eggplant slices from the water one at a time and dip each slice first into the egg mixture, then dredge in the breadcrumbs.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the eggplant in batches until golden brown on each side. You will be able to cook around 6 slices at a time; add additional oil as needed. Place on paper towels to drain.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a 13- by 9-inch baking dish, spread marinara sauce to cover the bottom. Layer the eggplant like shingles in two rows, with each row going in an opposite direction (you may be able to fit in three rows, depending on the size of your eggplant).
- Cover with remaining sauce (Robert likes to save some to serve over pasta on the side).
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the two cheeses. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the sauce.
- Bake for around 30 to 40 minutes or until the cheese melts and casserole is bubbly hot and golden brown on top. Let rest about 5 minutes before serving.
Gluten free: Use gluten-free Italian sausage. Use gluten-free bread crumbs.
Vegetarian: Use plant-based meat Italian sausage (like Beyond Meat brand).
Make ahead: Eggplant can be prepared and baked up to 24 hours ahead, cooled, covered and refrigerated. Reheat in a 400 degree oven. Can also be frozen after baking.