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The Hairy Bikers' aubergine parmigiana

The Hairy Bikers / 13 May 2022

Aubergine parmigiana, or parmigiana di melanzane, is an Italian dish made by layering aubergine slices, tomato sauce and cheese. The Hairy Bikers share their healthier version of the classic dish.

Aubergine parmigiana
The Hairy Bikers' aubergine parmigiana, photographed by Andrew Hayes-Watkins.

Preparation time

15 minutes

Cooking time

1 hour






  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 aubergines, sliced into ½–1 cm rounds
  • A few fresh rosemary and oregano sprigs
  • Sea salt and black pepper

For the sauce

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Generous pinch of cinnamon
  • 400g can of tomatoes
  • 100ml red wine

To assemble

  • Small bunch of basil leaves
  • 2 balls of mozzarella, well drained and torn


This Italian classic is a great favourite of ours, but it’s usually super-high in calories because aubergines soak up such a huge amount of oil. In this lighter version. we bake the aubergine slices instead of frying and the result is just as delicious but uses much less oil. A beautifully satisfying, comforting dish, so dive in and enjoy.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Mix the olive oil with a tablespoon of water. Place the aubergine slices on 2 or 3 baking trays lined with baking parchment. Brush the slices sparingly with the olive oil and water mix, then season with salt and pepper. Roughly break up the sprigs of herbs and sprinkle them over the aubergines. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes until the slices are squidgy in the middle and nicely browned. Discard the herbs.

While the aubergines are baking, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Add a splash of water and sauté the onion gently until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another 2 or 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the oregano and cinnamon, then pour the tomatoes and red wine into the pan. Rinse out the can with 100ml of water and add this too. Season with salt and pepper and bring the sauce to the boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to simmer until the sauce is well reduced. To assemble, spread a spoonful of the sauce over the base of an ovenproof dish. Add a layer of aubergines and a couple of torn basil leaves. Continue until you have used up all the aubergines and sauce, pressing down well in between each layer.

Add more basil and dot with the torn-up mozzarella. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes until well browned and bubbling.

Nutritional information

Info per serving: calories: 325, protein (g) 17.5, carbs (g) 11, sugar (g) 10, fat (g) 20, saturated fat (g) 11, fibre (g) 7.5, salt (g) 0.8

The Hairy Dieters' Simple Healthy Food: A Guide to Losing Weight and Staying Healthy by Si King and Dave Myers is published by Seven Dials on 12 May in trade paperback at £16.99, photography by Andrew Hayes-Watkins

The Hairy Dieters: Simple Healthy Food

Try one of our other delicious Hairy Biker recipes, such as vegetable enchiladas, homity pie and mushroom bourguignon.

Alternatively, visit our Italian recipe section for more tastes of Italy, or be inspired by one of our other aubergine recipes.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.