A quick 20-minute dinner, this Healthy Instant Pot Eggplant Parmesan isn’t breaded or fried, only calls for 4 ingredients, and makes a delicious, comforting, and low carb meal!
Last updated on January 12, 2020.
HEALTHY INSTANT POT EGGPLANT PARMESAN!! I am like so, so excited for this recipe!
What is one meal that reminds you of your mom? While I could probably name a few, one thing that sticks out in my head is eggplant parmesan. My mom would make it pretty often in our house. She never went off a recipe and changed it up each time, and never actually “fried” the eggplant.
She would either sauté the eggplant up on the stove and cover with sauce and cheese or lightly coat it with breadcrumbs and bake it. I think even a few times she made it into a casserole type dish with long slices of eggplant.
Whatever way she made it, it was one of my favorites. It was always comforting and hearty, while still light. So today I am making my spin it on and making a quick and healthy instant pot eggplant parmesan!
You guys have been asking for more Instant Pot recipes so what better way than having one in 30 Minute Meal Solutions. If you missed it, this month is dedicated to quick and easy, one pan, 30 minute meals! This Instant Pot eggplant parmesan fits into description perfectly. We’ve made this a few time and each time I love it even more.
It’s cheesy, hearty, and comforting, while still being on the lighter side. It’s packed with veggies, is low carb, and just makes a delicious easy meal.
How to make Healthy Instant Pot Eggplant Parmesan
The reason I love this recipe so freakin’ much is because it’s so so easy. All you need is 4 ingredients, 5 minutes of prep time, and then 20 minutes of cook time. Half of that time is the Instant Pot heating up. I’m sure you can guess the ingredients, but this is what you need:
- pasta/marinara sauce
- mozzarella cheese
- water – if needed
To start, you want to cut your eggplant into long 1/4 inch thick strips. I like to cut both the top and bottom off so I can stand it up straight. Then will run my knife down lengthwise making long pieces. Try to get evenly cut pieces as this will ensure even cooking.
Next salt your eggplant and pat dry to remove liquid and salt. Then you begin the layering process. Place 1/2-1 cup sauce to cover the bottom of the pot.
If needed, mix the first layer of sauce with 1 cup water. You want a runny sauce and adding the water will help ensure it cooks and you don’t get the burn notice on your Instant Pot.
Layer with a few slices of eggplant, covering the bottom, another 1/2 cup of sauce, and cheese. Continue until you no longer have anymore eggplant. I had 3 layers of eggplant, but have also used smaller eggplants getting 5 layers.
The amount of layers don’t matter, you just want to make sure you have enough cheese and sauce.
Set your Instant Pot to manual mode on high pressure for 10 minutes. You can either release pressure manually or let it naturally release, I found that the pressure naturally releases in about 5 minutes anyways.
Troubleshooting Instant Pot Eggplant Parmesan
I have made this recipe countless times and have never had an issue with it not cooking or getting the burn notice on my Instant Pot. Unfortunately that is not the case for a lot of you. Here are some time to help:
Make sure you are using enough sauce
You need to make sure you fully cover the bottom of the pan with sauce. If you don’t you run the risk of burning your Instant Pot and the eggplant. You want a more watery based sauce as well.
I found that a heaping 1/2 cup worked perfectly for my 8QT Instant Pot each time I tested and made this recipe. But if you feel like you need more, add more! Or mix your sauce with water as stated below.
Make sure your sauce is watery
You want a watery/runny sauce. This ensures there is enough liquid in the pot, it will come up to temperature and cook the eggplant, and you don’t get the burn notice on your Instant Pot.
Add water to your sauce
If you sauce is not runny enough, or if you are unsure if it is, add water. I suggest mixing the sauce that goes on the bottom layer with 1 cup of water. Again, this will help so you don’t get the burn notice.
Please note that I have never had this issue, but it was suggested by the Instant Pot team since people have trouble with this recipe.
If you are having trouble with this recipe, please watch this step by step video.
Unfortunately when I contacted Instant Pot to see if they could help, this is what they had to say. “Also, all Instant Pot are not the same and hence the results may vary depending on how some people are able to have it cooked perfect were as other’s can’t.”
This really baffles my mind as how can you make an appliance where you can’t guarantee the same results, but I guess you can.
What can I serve with Instant Pot Eggplant Parmesan?
For the ultimate experience, I would serve eggplant parmesan with a side of crusty bread, some pasta, and a side salad. This dish is naturally low carb due to the fact it isn’t breaded. If you wanted to keep it low carb, you could serve it with some cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles to help absorb the sauce.
You could also use white rice to keep it gluten free. We’ve served it with anything from gluten free pasta, rice, salad, bread, and more veggies. Anything will work!
Can I bake healthy eggplant parmesan/make it in the oven?
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, I think this recipe would work just fine to be baked. Follow the direction as it, just use a glass baking dish instead of your Instant Pot. Bake it at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes until eggplant is tender and cheese is melted.
If your sauce looks watery after cooking
If you open up your Instant Pot and it looks like there is a lot of liquid in the pot, don’t be alarmed. The eggplant gives off some water and combined with the sauce, there will be liquid in the pot.
Once you cut into the eggplant parmesan and remove it, there really isn’t much left. We love to spoon the sauce over the top of the eggplant or pasta, because who doesn’t love sauce?!
If needed, you could place your Instant Pot on sauté mode for a couple minutes to help absorb the liquid. Just be careful not to burn the bottom of the eggplant. Also, as the eggplant cools, the sauce will thicken up some.
Can you make this dairy free?
While I haven’t tried it, you could sub a dairy free and vegan cheese if you want. I would just make sure it melts as you want to get the gooey and melty consistency of the cheese on the eggplant.
More 30 minute One Pot meals:
Healthy Instant Pot Eggplant Parmesan
- 2 large eggplants (780 grams)
- 2-2 1/2 cups marinara sauce, divided*
- 1 cup water* (see notes!)
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups)
- for servings: fresh basil, red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese...
- Prepare eggplant. Cut off the top and the bottom of the eggplant and stand up straight. Slice eggplant lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Salt eggplant slices on both sides and let sit for a few minutes. Pat dry with a paper towel to take off excess moisture and salt.
- In your Instant Pot, add 1/2-1 cup of marinara sauce and spread out evenly on the bottom. Add with 1 cup of water and thoroughly mix with the sauce, spreading out evenly on the bottom.* This will also help ensure you don't get the burn notice on your Instant Pot. Cover sauce with a layer of eggplant, covering the bottom as best you can. Add 1/2 cup of sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Continue layering the eggplant, sauce, and cheese (I had 3 layers).
- Close Instant Pot lid, make sure vent is set to sealed, and set to manual mode on high pressure for 10 minutes. Manually or naturally release pressure when done (pressure releases natually in about 4-5 minutes). There will be a lot of liquid in the pot - use to top eggplant or if serving with pasta. After you cut into it and remove eggplant, there isn't that much either. Cut into 4 equal pieces and top with optional toppings. Enjoy!
- Make sure you are using enough sauce - you need to make sure you fully cover the bottom of the pan with sauce. If you don't you run the risk of burning your Instant Pot and the eggplant. You want a more watery based sauce as well. I found that a heaping 1/2 cup worked perfectly for my 8QT Instant Pot each time I tested and made this recipe. But if you feel like you need more, add more! Or mix your sauce with water.
- Make sure your sauce is watery - you want a watery/runny sauce. This ensures there is enough liquid in the pot, it will come up to temperature and cook the eggplant, and you don't get the burn notice on your Instant Pot.
- Add water to your sauce - if you sauce is not runny enough, or if you are unsure if it is, add water. Mix the sauce that goes on the bottom layer with 1 cup of water. Again, this will help so you don't get the burn notice. Please note that I have never had this issue, but it was suggested by the Instant Pot team since people have trouble with this recipe.
- Make sure there is enough liquid in the pot - follow the steps above to make sure there is enough liquid.
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