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Playing Rach's "Fun and Easy" Alternative to Eggplant Parm

"This is one of my mom and sister's favorites—eggplant patties," says Rach. What are eggplant patties? Think of pan-fried fish cakes made with mashed roasted eggplant instead of fish and then topped with a simple tomato sauce and basil. Even better, for the "ultimate" experience, says Rach, "add thin slices of mozzarella on top so it really does look and taste like eggplant Parm." It's a "fun and easy" alternative to that popular classic!  

For more delicious takes on eggplant Parm, check out Rachael's Roasted Eggplant Parm Soup and Roasted Eggplant Parm Stacks with Hot Honey


  • 2 firm, heavy eggplants
  • About ¾ to 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • A handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup flour
  • Frying oil (½ inch layer in skillet)
  • Mozzarella slices (optional)
For the Sauce:
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • 1 large onion, very finely chopped or grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or pasted
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • A few leaves of basil, torn, plus more for garnish


Serves: 4


Preheat the oven to 450°F. 

Poke a few holes in the skin of the eggplants and roast on a foil-lined tray for 40 to 45 minutes until tender, then cool, peel and drain them. Chop and mash the flesh and mix with breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, egg, cheese, salt, pepper and red pepper. Form small patties 2 to 3 inches wide and ½ inch or so thick. Just before frying, dredge in flour.   

Fry oil should be about ½ inch deep in pan and heated over medium to medium-high heat. Cook, in batches to avoid crowding pan, for a few minutes on each side. Let the patties drain on rack or paper towel-lined plate.   

While the eggplant is roasting, prepare this simple sauce.  

Heat a medium pot over medium-low heat with EVOO.

3-Quart Covered Saucier

3-Quart Covered Saucier

Rachael Ray

Add onions and garlic, season with salt and cook until sweet, fragrant and very soft, about 15 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir, then add canned tomatoes and basil and keep warm. 

Top patties with sauce and extra fresh basil.  

Variation: You can also melt thin slices of mozzarella over the patties topped with sauce for a "cheesier" experience, then top with the basil.