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Easy Polenta Eggplant Gratin

Eggplant gratin

This dish makes the best lunch accompanied by a green salad. It is a healthier version of the popular eggplant parmesan.
The eggplants are not fried in oil. They are just quickly seared with very little oil or some water, and just a sprinkle of vegan cheese.

The trick is to thinly slice and sprinkle some salt to sweat the eggplants for 20 minutes.
Leave the skin.

Slices of eggplants with salt


I like using a layer of polenta at the bottom because it makes the dish more nourishing. This way you don’t have to use bread!
You can either make polenta from fine or coarse cornmeal or if you are in a hurry, use already made polenta in a tube.
It is really practical and will last for up to 2 weeks refrigerated after opening it. Polenta can be made into a number of dishes like these amazing polenta fries.

polenta slices

I like to use a natural tomato sauce and usually add some fresh garlic, some capers. How to pick the best sauce? Look for the brightest red-colored sauce and it should be in a glass jar. That’s why I don’t buy tomato sauce in an aluminum can.

Tomato sauce

Start with a nice layer of some tomato sauce, then place a layer of polenta slices making sure that you cover the bottom of your baking dish. You may have to trim the slice to fit the dish. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Polenta slices in tomato sauce

Add more tomato sauce and spread. Then a layer of seared thin eggplant slices.

eggplant slices

Add more tomato sauce, eggplant slices, and vegan cheese.
Vegan Planet has a great-tasting cheddar that melts beautifully when heated. You only need to use a little.

vegan cheese

Add more tomato sauce, another layer of eggplants

Polenta eggplant gratin

At this point, I like to sprinkle some fine breadcrumbs with a little seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil before putting it in the oven. Bake at 400F covered with foil for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes at 375 F.

Baked eggplant grating
Polenta eggplant gratin baked to perfection!


Eggplant gratin

Polenta Eggplant Gratin

Skip the high calory traditional eggplant parmesan for this healthier and just as delicious alternative with layers of polenta as the bottom with tender eggplants slices on top.
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian



  • 1 cup coarse or fine cornmeal
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 cup vegan cheese
  • 3 cups tomato sauce


  • 1.5 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


Prepare the eggplant

  • Thinly slice the eggplant with a mandoline or a sharp knife.
  • Place a layer of slices at the bottom of a large bowl or baking tray and sprinkle some salt. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Pat dry or place in a large colander to drain.
  • In a frying pan on medium heat, quickly sear the slices with a little oil or water to precook them. Set aside when done.

Prepare the polenta (if not using store-bought polenta)

  • Heat up 3 cups of vegetable broth and add 1 cup of coarse or fine cornmeal.
  • Using a long wooden spoon (beware of hot bubbling polenta!) stir the polenta over medium heat for the first 5 minutes, then simmer for another 10 minutes, making sure to stir so that the bottom doesn't stick to the pan.
  • Taste and season if needed.
  • Immediately pour the hot polenta in a bread pan. Smoothe the top and let it cool down.
  • When the polenta is cooled and harden and you can slice it.

Assemble the gratin

  • Place a layer of tomato sauce at the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Sdd slices of polenta making sure to cover the entire bottom of the dish.
    Polenta slices in tomato sauce
  • Next, place the eggplant slices and sprinkle some vegan cheese.
  • Add more tomato sauce, another layer of eggplants. Repeat one more time.
    Polenta eggplant gratin

Prepare the topping

  • Place a cup of panko breadcrumbs, a pinch of salt pepper in a medium bowl, and drizzle some olive oil.
  • Quickly mix and sprinkle on top of the gratin. Smoothe the to.p
  • Bake at 400 F covered with foil for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes.
  • Allow to cool down a little before serving.
    Baked eggplant grating


This gratin goes great with a green salad. It is filling yet light making it the perfect lunch option!
Keyword eggplant gratin
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