Eggplant. It’s on the list of vegetables I wouldn’t touch as a child. It was right up these with peas. But now, I love it. In fact, my favourite sandwich features this purple vegetable. Yes, my eggplant parmesan grilled cheese sandwich, which I am finally sharing with you, is my favourite sandwich. I could eat it every day. But I don’t. And my pants thank me for that.
My mom never even attempted to get me to eat eggplant when I was at the height of my pickiness as a child. She knew better. I scoffed at any vegetable that wasn’t celery, lettuce or potato (there were probably more that I tolerated but those were the ones my parents didn’t have to bribe me to eat). I went more than two decades without eggplant in my life. That’s two decades of missing out on this incredible eggplant parmesan grilled cheese. Sigh.
My life forever changed a few years ago when we went to this little hole in the wall Italian place while in Ohio for a dog show that our friends had discovered the year before. Barb knew what she was going to order without even so much as a glance at the menu — the eggplant parmesan. Eggplant wasn’t even in my vocabulary then. I settled for the veal parmesan. It was delicious.
I glanced at Barb’s plate and instead of thinking ew, I thought mmm. I kept staring at her plate. She offered me a taste and I accepted. I am so glad I did. And you should be too. If it weren’t for that single bite of eggplant parm a few years ago, I wouldn’t be able to change your life with this amazing sandwich.
Eggplant is now one of my favourite vegetables. I enjoy it most breaded and smothered in cheese and sauce, like it is in my eggplant parmesan grilled cheese sandwich. This eggplant parmesan grilled cheese sandwich is amazing. It’s ooey, gooey grilled cheese goodness like you’ve never had before.
I have wanted to share this recipe for quite some time but I can’t control myself when this sandwich is in front of me. I can’t resist the cheesy filling, the spicy arrabbiata sauce and the crunchy, meaty eggplant long enough to photograph it. It is that good. Trust me. I finally gained enough self control to take a few photos of this amazing eggplant parmesan grilled cheese sandwich the other day when I had it for lunch (I was only able to resist because I had it for dinner the night before).
Even if you’ve never eaten eggplant, you will love this sandwich. It’s everything that eggplant parmesan offers only sandwiched between two slices of buttered then grilled bread.
When I was a kid, grilled cheese meant one thing: processed cheese slices (which I loved back in those days) and buttered Wonder bread toasted up in a pan. It was the perfect combination of cheesy goodness for a picky eater like myself. The only “veggie” that was welcome anywhere near my grilled cheese was ketchup, which I literally used to put on everything at that age, white rice and pancakes included (don’t judge).
But now that I’m an adult (when did that happen?), I allow myself to stray from my original, favourite sandwich (which I now make using real cheese rather than that pre-wrapped, one molecule from a garbage bag “cheese” I so used to savour). I love making fancy grilled cheese sandwiches. I make a killer chicken grilled cheese with pepperoncini apple butter sauce that is almost as amazing as the eggplant parmesan one I am about to share.
Nothing tops this sandwich. I could eat this everyday. If I were trapped on a desert island and could only eat this sandwich I would be perfectly content. It has everything: a crispy crust, warm, gooey, cheesy centre and golden-baked slices of delicious eggplant. I wish I was eating it for dinner tonight. It’s the perfect combination of crispy eggplant, rich tomato sauce and melted mozzarella (it is also amazing with a blob or two of ricotta thrown in the mix, Asiago is good too. Pretty much any Italian cheese will work in this heavenly sandwich).
And now what you have all been waiting for — the recipe:
Eggplant Parmesan Grilled Cheese
Baked Eggplant Slices
- 1 eggplant
- bread crumbs
- 2-3 eggs (farm fresh preferably)
- olive oil
Heat oven to 375.
Slice eggplant into thin rounds. Dip in bread crumb, egg, then back in the bread crumb. Place on a greased grilling rack over a cookie sheet. Drizzle top with olive oil. Bake 15-20 minutes per side.
Eggplant Parmesan Grilled Cheese
- Baked eggplant slices
- Arrabbiata sauce
- Mozzarella cheese
Butter outsides of bread. Slather tomato sauce on the opposite side of the bread slices (DO NOT skip this step, the bread absorbs the sauce while still crisping up nicely on the outside). Sprinkle as much or as little cheese as you wish. Top with two of the eggplant slices and slather them with sauce. Repeat the next step so that you have four, saucy slices of crispy, baked eggplant on your sandwich. Add more cheese. Place the other slice of sauced bread on top. Toast in a skillet over medium heat until bread reaches desired level of toastiness.
If you make anything on my blog, it should be this eggplant parmesan grilled cheese sandwich. Go now, to your kitchen, and make this sandwich. I’m serious. You will not regret it.