If you are a fan of Italian food, or if you have a non meat eater coming for dinner, chances are you’ve heard of Eggplant Parmesan. It’s delicious, filling and very healthy, and uses neither meat nor pasta. it makes a wonderfully tasty main dish, ideal for vegetarians and those watching their weight. You can make this in advance then freeze it before the final cook, or you can make it and bake it, then freeze it after.
Let’s look into the steps in a little more depth. Can you freeze eggplant parmesan?
What is eggplant parmesan?
This is constructed similarly to lasagne, in that it is a layered dish. Thinly sliced eggplant forms the “pasta”, and there is a tomato based sauce, and, of course, cheese.
The eggplant must be salted before cooking, to remove any excess moisture as it is a vegetable that hold a lot of water.
The salting stage is one of the reasons that eggplant parmesan freezes so well – if the whole dish is uncooked then it will freeze without going mushy, and if it is already cooked then it will retain its shape and texture just as well.
Read also: Can You Freeze Risotto?
To make an eggplant parmesan, the eggplant slices are dipped in flour, then into beaten eggs and cheese, then breadcrumbs, and then fried in oil. Then a layer of sauce is placed in a casserole dish, some of the eggplant spread over the top, then a layer of cheese.
This layering is repeated twice more, then sauce and cheese are spread on the top and it is baked for an hour, then served in squares.
It is a very popular dish in Italy, and its fame has spread to the rest of the world – for obvious reasons!
How to freeze eggplant parmesan before baking
- Prepare your eggplant parmesan as you normally would, with the layers of eggplant, sauce and cheese.
- Let it stand at room temperature until every element of it is completely cooled – if you skip this step then it will freeze unevenly.
- Once cooled, cover the finished dish with cling film, making sure that no air pockets are trapped underneath the wrap that can affect the freezing process.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminium foil, which will protect and insulate the finished eggplant parmesan while it is in the freezer.
- Write the name of the dish, and the date it was frozen, on a piece of masking tape and stick it to the top of the dish so you remember what it is and when you froze it.
- Place it into the freezer, with nothing on top of it – at least until it is frozen solid.
- Remove from the freezer and eat within three months, for the best and tastiest effect.
How to freeze eggplant parmesan after baking
- Assemble your eggplant as usual, then bake it in the oven as you normally would.
- Allow it to cool thoroughly at room temperature – this could take an hour or two. You can use a cooking thermometer to test the temperature on the inside to make sure it is cool enough.
- Cover it tightly with plastic wrap, securing it well around the sides so no sneaky air pockets can be found that will affect the final freezing.
- Cover it with a layer of aluminium foil to protect and insulate it from the freezer.
- Place it into the freezer, having first noted the name of the dish and the date it was frozen on a piece of masking tape secured to the top.
- Eat within three months for maximum deliciousness.
- If you want to simply freeze some leftovers after you have eaten a freshly baked parmesan, follow the steps above for the best results.
If you’ve never made eggplant parmesan before, you are in for a treat. If you are seasoned maker of this then you will already know how good it is!
This yummy dish will remain tasty and healthy however you want to eat it – whether straight away as soon as it is cooked, or defrosted from the freezer having previously made it and eaten some of it.
There is no meat component to it, so you don’t have to worry too much about getting food poisoning – just make sure that you reheat the parmesan till it is piping hot, as you would with any frozen meal.