Eggplant has worked its way into the starring role in many a recipe on this site, from pasta to sliders (you’ve got to see this one to believe it) and every taste in between. But it’s time to forget the forks in favor of your fingers with this easy, cheesy recipe for Eggplant Parmesan Bites with Marinara Dipping Sauce.
This updated take on the Italian classic features bite-sized nuggets of eggplant coated in Parmesan breadcrumbs and fried to crispy, golden brown perfection. And the dip-worthy complement to this snack sensation? Tangy homemade marinara sauce that transforms from raw ingredients to a saucy slam-dunk in just 10 minutes.
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- 2 medium eggplants (about 2 ½ lbs total)
- 2 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs (See Kelly's Note)
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought marinara sauce
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Deep-fry thermometer
- Peel the eggplants and dice them into 1-inch cubes. Place the cubes in a large colander and toss them with 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Let them drain in the colander over a bowl in the sink for 30 minutes to remove excess moisture.
- Combine the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the eggs with 2 tablespoons water. Place the flour in a third bowl. Bread the eggplant cubes in batches by coating them in the flour, then the eggs and then the cheesy breadcrumbs.
- Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
- Add three inches of oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot set over medium heat and attach the deep-fry thermometer. Once the oil reaches 360ºF, add the breaded eggplant in batches, cooking them until they're golden brown on all sides. Using a slotting spoon, transfer the eggplant to the paper towel-lined baking sheet and immediately season them with salt. Repeat the frying process with the remaining eggplant, returning the oil to 360ºF between each batch.
- Garnish the eggplant bites with chopped fresh parsley and serve them with marinara sauce for dipping.
- I prefer a mix of Italian-style Panko breadcrumbs and very fine Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, which produces well-breaded eggplant with a crispy crunch.
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.