Gluten-Free Eggplant Chicken Parmesan

Make one of your favorite comfort foods, like Chicken Parmesan, a little healthier by adding eggplant.  More veggies always make it better for you!  Plus it keeps the gluten-free breading from getting soggy.

Summer is the Season for Beautiful Eggplants

Eggplant Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parm is such a staple comfort food around here.  And this version of eggplant chicken parmesan shows up on the menu often!  

Especially during the summer when eggplants are in season.  The eggplant adds a nice texture and taste to the dish.  Plus it keeps the chicken nice and crispy when you put the red sauce and cheese on top.

It is another way to “healthify” gluten-free fried food.  And do we love fried food.  Since I could start eating goat’s milk again we’ve been frying up all sorts of stuff.  

Like fried goat cheese mozzarella sticks, and we used goat’s milk yogurt to make chicken fried steak, chicken tenders and fried okra.  Oh I just love brined fried chicken tenders in a healthified fried chicken salad!

Okay so there are several steps to making this delicious eggplant chicken Parmesan.

Eggplant slices sprinkled with Italian seasoning cooked under the broiler and homemade marinara sauce.

Season and Brown Eggplant Slices

First, I start by slicing the eggplants so that the rounds are about 1/4-inch thick. Place them on parchment paper. Spray or drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle on Italian seasoning, salt and pepper on both sides.

Place under the broiler and let brown, then flip over and broil the other side. This should take about 3-5 minutes per side. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Sometimes if the eggplants are good, there will be more than what you need for the eggplant chicken parmesan.  So use it as a side dish! The extra roasted eggplant is fantastic tossed with gluten-free pasta and a little EVOO and a spoonful of red sauce.  So good!

Red Sauce

So I usually make my red sauce from scratch. We start with about 1 cup of tomato sauce then add some water and white wine.

I then add a sprinkle of garlic powder (or minced if I’m in the mood to chop a clove), onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt and agave. If I’ve got some fresh basil, I’ll add it as well. Then I just cook it down until it tastes the way I like it.

You could always use your favorite store-bought marinara sauce and just heat it up. Freeze what you don’t use for the next time you need a marinara sauce.

Parmesan Cheese and Goat Cheese Mozzarella

The Cheese

We are going to use a combination of Parmesan cheese and goat milk mozzarella cheese. You could always use one or the other or any type of cheese that melts well. Just grate it and set aside. Let it come to room temperature so it will melt easily when assembled.

Crispy Gluten-free Fried Chicken for the Eggplant Chicken Parmesan

Fried Chicken

So for this eggplant chicken parmesan recipe, the chicken will be coated with a gluten-free rice cereal ground up to substitute for panko or Italian bread crumbs.

Rice cereal really makes makes a fantastic coating that can be baked or or lightly fried. We like to fry it in a combo of coconut oil and olive oil.  I really like the gluten-free brown rice crisps cereal from One Degree Organic Foods.

Here we are going to use the method of dipping the chicken in gluten-free flour first, then the egg wash, then bread crumbs to prepare the chicken. You could add Italian seasoning or Parmesan to the bread crumbs, too. We usually do that if we aren’t using the eggplant.

Sometimes we can find pre-cut thin chicken cutlets, which makes this dish even easier.  But if you can’t find thin-cut cutlets, use boneless breasts instead.

Jut cut boneless chicken breasts in half and pound out the chicken pieces so that they have an even thickness and are thinner.

Italian seasoned eggplants on top of fried chicken for the eggplant chicken Parmesan.

Then the eggplant slices go on top of the fried chicken so that the chicken doesn’t get soggy from the red sauce when baked in the oven. Then add the red sauce and grated cheese. Place in the oven for about 5 minutes at 425 degrees F to melt the cheese.

Gluten-Free Eggplant Chicken Parmesan

We are usually just cooking for two, but I always make extra so we have leftovers for the next day. So good. Serve with gluten-free garlic bread, salad or pasta.

Such a delicious comfort food for sure!

Gluten-Free Eggplant Chicken Parmesan

A lightened up, gluten-free version of our favorite comfort food Chicken Parmesan with seasoned eggplant and rice cereal as a substitute for Panko.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword eggplant chicken parmesan, gluten-free fried foods
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Author Deana Larkin Evans

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants, cut into slices about 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • olive oil, for spraying
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless boneless thin-cut chicken breasts cutlets (or 2 boneless breasts cut in half and pounded thin)
  • 1/2 cup GF all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup GF organic rice cereal
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil, for frying
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut oil, for frying
  • 1 cup spicy marinara sauce
  • 3 tbsp goat cheese mozzarella, grated
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler. 

  2. Wash and dry the eggplant. Cut slices and place on a rimmed baking sheet covered with parchement paper. Spray both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil then sprinkle with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Broil until browned and tender, turning once, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from oven and set aside.

  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.

  4. Finely crush the rice cereal using a a mini-prep or rolling pin. Put the flour, eggs and cereal mixture in three separate shallow bowls. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, dip in the eggs then thoroughly coat with the crushed cereal. Set on wax paper on a plate. Repeat for the rest of the chicken cutlets.

  5. Heat the olive oil and coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for about 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off excess oil.

  6. Meanwhile, heat the marinara sauce in a small saucepan.

  7. Place the fried chicken on a baking sheet or cast iron grill pan. Place 1-2 eggplant slices on each fried chicken cutlet and top evenly with the marinara sauce. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan and mozzarella. Bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Enjoy!

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Deana Larkin Evans

You get one life - do your best to ENJOY IT! So hi, I'm Deana. This food blog is all about cooking wholesome real food and developing gluten-free recipes for some of our favorite comfort foods. I had to start eating gluten-free in 2010, then cut dairy and casein (except for the occasional Parmesan) in 2014. We learned A2 casein (goat, sheep and buffalo milk) is easier to digest than the predominate A1 form in cow milk. So we brought back goat milk dairy into our recipes in 2016. Thank goodness, right! So I'm kind of a science nerd, too. In the '90s, I earned an undergrad degree in biochemistry from The University of Texas at Austin. Hook 'em! Then followed up with a PhD in biochemistry and a law degree from the University of Houston. I recently earned a certificate in genomics/sequence analysis from Johns Hopkins University, where I also took a very cool food microbiology course. Currently, I'm learning about the microbiome and gut health. And trying to come up with healthy recipes to feed those gut bugs! #feedthegutbugs

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