Who doesn't like a good grilled cheese?

Aside from the lactose intolerant, perhaps, and vegans, I think one can safely say, pretty much no one. Quick, easy, and versatile, they're the staple of any overworked, time-short, cheese-loving student — myself included. But even a cheese lover can get bored; hence, why I came up with this eggplant Parm grilled cheese.

Being lucky enough to have a mother who was an avid cook and insisted on full, nutritious meals, the grilled cheese was actually a rather elusive treat for me until I left home for university. At which point, no longer under the strict maternal eye, I proceeded to indulge in the crusty, cheesy delight pretty regularly.

However, by the end of term — at which point I was living off Domino's, pasta, and more leftover Domino's — I was craving real food, I was craving vegetables. Not enough to resort to a salad, nor sad bland boiled veg, but enough to make myself consider how I could incorporate some green into my cheese-laden life.

I resorted to my favourite vegetable dish, the Italian melanzane parmiagiana — affectionately known in American English as eggplant Parm. Slices of soft aubergine nestled in tomato sauce and oozing with melted mozzarella and Parmesan — what's not to love?

The actual dish requires much more effort than this eggplant Parm grilled cheese sandwich, as well as an oven. This sandwich version is much more convenient. Not to mention the extra layer of crunch created by the Parmesan crust!

Eggplant Parm Grilled Cheese

  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:10 mins
  • Total Time:30 mins
  • Servings:1
  • Easy


  • 2 slices bread
  • Pre-made tomato or marinara sauce
  • 1/2 a ball fresh mozzarella
  • 50 grams Parmesan cheese
  • Butter
  • 1 small eggplant/aubergine
  • Light olive oil
pork, tomato, chicken, barbecue, vegetable, sauce, meat
Isabella Darby
  • Step 1

    Gather your ingredients.

    Isabella Darby
  • Step 2

    Slice the eggplant into medium slices. For one person, you will probably only need to use half the eggplant.

    pasture, vegetable
    Isabella Darby
  • Step 3

    Salt the eggplant slices and leave aside to draw out any bitterness. In the meantime, prepare the other ingredients.

    squash, vegetable
    Isabella Darby
  • Step 4

    Grate the Parmesan finely and shred the mozzarella into small pieces. This makes the cheese easier to melt.

    flour, cream, sweet, dairy product, milk
    Isabella Darby
  • Step 5

    Pat any excess moisture and salt off the eggplant slices and brush with olive oil. Fry on a medium-high heat until the slices are browned and softened on both sides. Set aside on paper towels to absorb any excess oil. If you prefer a slightly charred flavour, you can grill your slices.

    cake, bread, sweet, dairy product
    Isabella Darby
  • Step 6

    Slice your bread.I prefer thicker slices, but keep in mind that the thickness of the slice affects the time it takes to melt the cheese, and you may end up with a charred exterior if you cut too thick.

    dough, toast, rye, cereal, flour, wheat, bread
    Isabella Darby
  • Step 7

    Butter one side of each slice, then coat with Parmesan. Shake any excess cheese back into the bowl to be used later. Skip this step if you don't want a crunchy Parmesan crust.

    beignets, dairy product, cream, cake, wheat, pastry, sweet, flour, bread
    Isabella Darby
  • Step 8

    Spread the non-buttered side of each slice with tomato/marinara sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and then the remaining Parmesan on each slice.

    cream, jam, dairy product, sweet, cake, bread
    Isabella Darby
  • Step 9

    Melt butter in your clean pan on a medium heat. Place each slice butter-side down on the pan and begin to fry.

    bread, cheese, dairy product
    Isabella Darby
  • Step 10

    If your cheese doesn't appear to be melting quickly enough, you can cover your pan. The trapped heat will help the cheese melt.

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  • Step 11

    When the cheese is melted, top with the eggplant slices. I like a large amount of filling, so I chose two layers of eggplant, but one would be sufficient (and probably less messy when it comes to eating it!).

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  • Step 12

    Carefully flip one slice onto the other and sandwich the two slices together. Remove from the heat, and eat immediately!

    meat, lasagna, tomato, grilled cheese sandwich, sandwich, cheese
    Isabella Darby