Eggplant and Kale Parmesan

This is a wonderful dish to tuck into on a cold night. Rather than breading/frying eggplant, it’s oven-roasted, and braised kale adds another tasty dimension. And…you can make an amazing sammy with any leftovers!


  • 3 pounds eggplant (about 2 medium)
  • 1 bunch kale – curly or dino
  • ¼ cup plus 4 Tbsp olive oil – divided
  • ¼ cup water
  • Fine sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced – divided
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 28 oz fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 6 oz. freshly-grated mozzarella cheese (about 1 ½ cups packed)
  • 2 oz fresh-grated parm (about 1 cup)


  1. Preheat oven to 425° with racks in the lower/upper thirds of the oven. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Slice off both ends of an eggplant, stand it on its widest flat side. Slice through vertically to make ¼” – ½” slabs. Discard both ends and sides covered with eggplant skin and repeat with other eggplant.
  3. Brush both sides of eggplant slabs with olive oil (will take about ¼ cup). Arrange in a single layer on sheet pans and sprinkle with salt/pepper. Roast 11-13 minutes and then rotate and move pans to different racks. Roast 11-13 minutes more until eggplant is tender and golden. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Strip kale from stems and cut leaves into thin ribbons. In a large pot over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 clove garlic. Stir/cook garlic about 1 minute and add in kale. Stir kale to cover with oil and add ¼ cup water. Stir once more, turn heat down to low and put lid on the pot. Check/stir kale every two minutes, cooking until tender – about 10-12 minutes. Drain excess liquid and set kale aside. Once cool, chop roughly.
  5. In medium saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 Tbsp olive oil until shimmering. Add onion and pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and tender, about 5-8 minutes.
  6. Add garlic and tomato paste. Cook/stir about 1 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, bay leaf and dried thyme; bring mixture to a simmer. Then, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 15 minutes until sauce has thickened. Remove pot from heat and stir in ¼ cup chopped basil and red pepper flakes. Take out bay leaf and add salt/pepper to taste.
  7. Spread about ¾ cup sauce in the bottom of a 9” square baking pan. Arrange about 1/3 of eggplant slices over sauce, overlapping slightly and cutting fit as needed. Add half of the braised kale on top, and then another ¾ cup sauce and ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
  8. Put about half of the remaining eggplant slices evenly on top, followed by the rest of the kale, another ¾ cup sauce and ¼ cup mozzarella cheese. Layer remaining eggplant slices on top and top with ¾ cup sauce (you might have a little leftover) and remaining mozzarella cheese. Evenly sprinkle Parmesan on top.
  9. Bake on lower rack at 425°, uncovered, until sauce bubbles and top is golden, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes so it can set. Chop and sprinkle remaining ¼ cup basil on top. Slice with sharp or serrated knife and serve.

Note: Instead of making tomato sauce, you can use a 28 oz. jar of your favorite.