I Tried Martha Stewart’s Twist on Eggplant Parmesan, and I’m Never Making It Any Other Way
I have all the best intentions for my “saved” posts on Instagram. One day, I’ll organize them into categories (likely by meal, since 99 percent of them are recipes) and map out my meal plan each week accordingly. But until that day comes, they sit there untouched, and I admittedly cook through very few of them.
This was almost the fate of Martha Stewart’s stacked eggplant Parmesan. I had saved Martha’s step-by-step shots of the recipe a little over a week ago, but they’d already gotten buried under more recent photos. But then, just yesterday, the dish resurfaced on the official Martha Stewart account. This was clearly no accident — Martha was practically begging me to make it!
I happily conceded. I’m a big fan of any eggplant Parmesan recipe that doesn’t require frying, and I was particularly intrigued by Martha’s cute stacks. It looked easy, fun, and completely delicious. Would it be my new favorite way to make the classic dish? I tried it to find out.
How to Make Martha’s Stacked Eggplant Parmesan
Because this recipe is written in an Instagram caption, it doesn’t include nearly as many details as the recipes on her website. That said, it was fairly easy to estimate about how much of everything I’d need. Here’s what I recommend:
Start by slicing two eggplants into 1/2-inch thick slices. (The more recently posted recipe says 1 1/2 -inches thick, but Martha’s original post says 1/2-inch, which made much more sense to me.) You’ll need three slices per stack, so if you’re serving four people and want to plan on two stacks per serving, you’ll need about 24 slices. I used two eggplants that weighed about 1 pound 3 ounces each, which proved to be the perfect amount.
Martha then says to lightly salt the eggplant, place it in a glass bowl, and refrigerate overnight. I was eager to make the dish ASAP, so I salted my eggplant around lunchtime and let it sit until I was ready to cook dinner. This proved to be plenty of time — the eggplant released a significant amount of moisture as it sat, which is the primary goal of salting.
Rinse and dry the slices, divide them between two parchment-lined baking sheets, then brush with olive oil. I used about three tablespoons of oil total, and brushed both sides of each round. Martha then instructs you to roast them at 400°F for 20 minutes, but because my eggplants looked a bit bigger than hers, I roasted for 25 minutes total, flipping the slices halfway through and rotating the baking sheets top to bottom.
Now for the fun part. Top a third of the rounds with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan, followed by fresh mozzarella, a spoonful of tomato sauce, torn fresh basil leaves, and salt and pepper. Add a second slice of eggplant and repeat. For the final round, add the eggplant slices but then swap the cheese and the sauce so that the cheese is on top (I’m not entirely sure this is correct, but it’s my best guess as to how Martha did it). I used a total of 1 ounce Parmesan, 8 ounces mozzarella, and 2 cups tomato sauce.
Lastly, top each round with fresh breadcrumbs. I mixed 1 cup breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper, and it was plenty. Bake at 350°F until the cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes.
My Honest Review of Martha’s Stacked Eggplant Parmesan
It took everything in me not to scarf this dish down in two seconds. It was so good. The eggplant slices were perfectly tender but not mushy, the cheese was melty and gooey but not too rich, the basil kept everything tasting light and fresh, and the breadcrumbs on top added a nice salty crunch. If you’ve found yourself in a dinner rut, try this dish: it’s a joy to make and everyone will love it. Plus, it comes together more quickly than the classic and also doesn’t taste nearly as heavy, making it the perfect vegetarian meal to add to your spring and summer rotation.
I also love that the presentation of this dish is both playful and practical. Assembling the stacks directly on the baking sheet used to roast the eggplant means you don’t have to dirty a casserole dish, and lining the baking sheets with parchment makes cleanup even easier. There’s no hard-to-find ingredients or complicated techniques here: it’s simply a really great-tasting twist on eggplant Parmesan.
4 Tips for Making Martha’s Eggplant Parmesan Stacks
- Use your favorite store-bought marinara sauce. Martha suggests using thick homemade tomato sauce, but I’ve honestly never made anything that tastes as good as Rao’s. It worked great here and saved me tons of time. To save even more time, you could also opt for panko instead of homemade breadcrumbs.
- Finish under the broiler. To get the breadcrumbs nice and crispy, I broiled the stacks for two minutes after they were done baking. Just be sure your sheet pan is in the center of the oven and not too close to the broiler, or you run the risk of the parchment paper burning.
- Top with red pepper flakes. If you like a little bit of heat like I do, top the stacks with red pepper flakes just before serving.
- Grab a knife! These cute little stacks are easiest to eat if you cut them with a knife and fork.
Have you made Martha Stewart’s Stacked Eggplant Parmesan? Let us know in the comments!