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This crispy Italian pizza with eggplant is topped with fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, delicious soft eggplant slices, parmesan and pops of fresh basil leaves. It looks and tastes AMAZING!
It’s not secret that that I’m a big pizza lover and I absolutely adore any sort of vegetarian topping, from this Greek pizza with feta to this veggie pizza or artichoke pizza. Crispy crust, creamy mozzarella, delicious veggies… vegetarian pizzas are hard to resist!
Today I’m sharing one of the most wonderful Italian pizza recipes: pizza with eggplant aka pizza parmigiana, inspired to the iconic eggplant parmesan (parmigiana di melanzane, in Italian).
It’s a must, definitely one of the most popular pizzas you’ll find in pizzerias all across Italy.
Guess what? You’re going to love it, seriously!
Although the traditional eggplant parmesan uses deep fried eggplant slices, for this recipe you can actually pan fry or grill them instead: the eggplant will be soft, juicy and will retain its delicious hearty flavors without becoming too heavy.
And it will taste outrageously good with molten mozzarella, savory parmesan and fresh basil. So simple, yet crazy delicious!
List of the ingredients
- Easy pizza dough (or your favorite dough)
- Mozzarella cheese in water (or firm shredded mozzarella)
- Quick pizza sauce (or your fav tomato sauce)
- Fresh basil leaves
- Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper
How to make pizza with eggplant
(Note: this is a quick description with step-by-step photos, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page).
- First step, start by making this dough (with video tutorial, easy peasy).
- Secondly, cut the whole eggplant into thin slices with a sharp knife.
- You can cook eggplant slices by using a cast iron grill pan, you can roast them in the oven, or you can simply pan fry them with a touch of olive oil until golden and soft. I used my favorite non-stick pan here.
- When the dough is ready, stretch it gently into a rectangular shape.
- Top with this quick pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, eggplant slices, grated parmesan, basil leaves. Drizzle with a little of olive oil and sprinkle some fine salt.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes until golden and crusty!
Homemade pizza dough: I used my easy no-knead pizza dough, it’s easy to make in one bowl and makes a lovely crispy crust. You’re welcome to use your favorite recipe or a store-bought pizza dough if you wish.
Pizza sauce: for this recipe I love using my super easy pizza sauce: packed with fresh flavor, quick to whip up, and goes so well with any vegetarian topping.
Mozzarella cheese: I think whole milk mozzarella in water is the best, but keep in mind it’s important to not overload the pizza with it. This is because the mozzarella water content can make the crust soggy. Alternatively, shredded firm mozzarella works just fine.
Eggplant: I simply pan-fried the eggplant slices in a greased non-stick pan, but you can deep fry, roast, or grill them if you wish.
Parmesan cheese: with its delicious savory flavor makes a HUGE difference here. But you can skip it if you prefer a 100% vegetarian pizza with eggplant!
Fresh basil: you want fresh basil leaves on top with its fresh, bright flavor. No excuses! : )
Extra virgin olive oil: for flavor, I use a little drizzle before and after baking.
Tips for the best eggplant pizza recipe!
For the best crispy pizza (no soggy bottom, thanks!) follow these easy but essential rules:
- Preheat the oven. The hot oven gives a burst of initial heat!
- Place the rack in the lowest position close to the heating element. This is the right spot in my oven, but feel free to use the position that in your oven works best and makes the pizza bottom crispy.
- Don’t use a rolling pin! Use your fingers to stretch the pizza dough and try to keep all those nice gas bubbles inside the dough, they make the crust light and airy. ; )
- Use parchment paper and a pizza peel (or the back of a baking sheet) to transfer your pizza to the hot stone. This helps especially if you use a sticky high-hydration dough like my easy no-knead dough.
- Bake your pizza on a hot pizza stone or pizza steel. Alternatively, you can use a baking tray (see my tips in the recipe card!) and make sure the pizza stone is inside during preheat, so it’s already hot when you bake your pizza. This will avoid a soggy bottom and makes the crust crispier.
More delicious pizza recipes?
If you looks for vegetarian pizza recipes, this amazing collection of 17 veggie pizzas are perfect to inspire you! Here a few of my favs:
- Pizza with zucchini
- Pizza with gorgonzola
- Spinach pizza
- Easy onion pizza
- Quick Caprese pizza
- Easy no-knead Italian focaccia
If you make this pizza with eggplant this weekend, or you have a question, let me know by leaving a comment. I would love to hear from you and get your feedback! x
Pizza with Eggplant
- 1 easy pizza dough (or your fav dough)
- 1 eggplant (aubergine) skin on, cut into thin slices
- ½ or 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzle
- ⅓ cup pizza sauce or your favourite tomato sauce
- 5 oz (150 grams) fresh mozzarella in water (or from ½ to ⅓ cup shredded firm mozzarella)
- 3 Tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
- 10 basil leaves
- Follow the easy no-knead pizza recipe through step 5, including shaping the pizza and preheating the oven.
- Cook the eggplant: while the pizza dough is resting, cut the eggplant/aubergine crosswise into thin slices (about 6mm or 1/4 inch thick, even a bit thicker is fine).
- Grease a non-stick pan with ½ tablespoon of olive oil and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the slices of eggplant and cook for 2-3 minutes, before flipping and cooking for a further 3 minutes or until soft and slightly golden. You might need more olive oil during the cooking time, it depends on the type of frying pan you use. Keep an eye on it ad grease again if needed. Place the pan fried eggplant slices on a large plate covered with kitchen paper.
- Prepare the cheese: If use fresh mozzarella cheese in water, cut it into ½ inch thick pieces. If it’s very watery, you may want to dab the mozzarella with the paper towel to remove excess moisture.
- Shape the dough: when the dough is ready follow step 5, place the dough on a parchment paper sheet and starting from the center, gently press it out with your fingers until you get approx a 9×13 inch pizza. Then gently place the dough onto a pizza peel or onto the back of a rimmed baking sheet.
- Add the topping: top the dough evenly with pizza sauce (or your favorite tomato sauce) mozzarella cheese, and eggplant slices. Finish with parmesan cheese, sprinkle some fine salt on top, add a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a few shredded basil leaves (save the rest for garnish at the end).
- Bake the pizza: make sure the oven is hot and use the pizza peel to carefully transfer the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone. Bake the pizza until the cheese and crust are nicely browned, approx 15 minutes. Each oven is different, keep an eye on it (e.g. in a forced fan oven it will take about 8-10 minutes).
- Serve: allow the pizza to cool for a minute or two before adding the rest of the fresh basil leaves (whole leaves, or lightly torn) and again a final drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if desired. Slice and serve immediately.