Vegan Baked Italian Eggplant in Marinara (No Parmesan Required!)


This vegan baked Italian eggplant beckons to eggplant parmesan, but it’s completely free of dairy, cheese, and even cheese alternatives. In fact, it’s made top allergen-free. You can sprinkle on some dairy-free parmesan or mozzarella if you wish, but we think this eggplant dish is delicious as is, or simply topped with diced olives. This recipe was a special Valentine’s Day creation from the chefs at Enjoy Life Foods. They shared it with us!

Baked Italian Eggplant in Marinara Recipe (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free & No Parmesan!)

Special Diet Notes: Baked Italian Eggplant

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.

Baked Italian Eggplant in Marinara (Vegan & Gluten-Free)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe doesn't use any dairy-free cheese alternative, but you can sprinkle on some if desired.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2 to 4 servings
Tapioca Gel (egg substitute)*
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour / starch
  • 1½ cups water
”Breadcrumb” Mix
  • 1 cup whole grain gluten-free cereal (like brown rice crisps; can sub allergy-friendly breadcrumbs)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 medium-sized eggplants, optionally peeled
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • Tapioca gel (prepared above)
  • “Breadcrumb” mix (prepared above)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large jar allergy-friendly marinara sauce
Tapioca Gel
  1. Combine the tapioca flour and water. Bring to a boil, whisking the entire time. Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely before using. Mixture will be sticky, but not too thick. It must be runny to work. Place in a wide, shallow bowl.
“Breadcrumb” Mix
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until mostly pulverized. Leave some large pieces for a more interesting look. Place in a wide, shallow bowl.
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Slice eggplant about ½-inch thick and sprinkle with salt, coating all surfaces. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, or until the eggplant starts to give off water. Wipe the salt and water from the eggplant; pat dry.
  3. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  4. Place the rice flour in a wide, shallow bowl.
  5. Working from left to right, place the eggplant, the bowl of rice flour, the bowl of egg or tapioca gel and finally the bowl of “Bread” crumbs. They should be in a neat line in front of you. The baking pan should be to the right of those bowls.
  6. Working carefully, take a piece of eggplant and dredge it in the rice flour, so that the entire piece is dusted with while. Next, drop it into the tapioca gel (or the egg) and cover it completely; shake off the excess. Drop this into the “bread” crumbs and coat the entire piece.
  7. Remove and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all eggplant pieces are coated or you have run out of “bread” crumbs.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, or until tender and golden.
  9. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  10. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with the olive oil. Place about ¼ cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom and cover with eggplant pieces.
  11. Layer on the eggplant pieces more sauce, and another layer of eggplant. Repeat until all eggplant has been used up. Pour the last of the sauce over the top layer.
  12. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until bubby and hot all the way through.
  13. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for two months.
*If you aren't strictly vegan, and do use eggs, you can substitute 2 eggs for the tapioca gel mixture.

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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