Monday, May 7, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan (without Parmesan)

Eggplant parmesan is normally eggplant cooked until it's basically nothing, coated in egg, then covered in breadcrumbs, and then sometimes, it's actually fried at that point. THEN it's covered in cheese, baked and served over noodles with tomato sauce.
What's scary to me is that most people would consider eggplant parm a healthy choice at an italian restaurant. The word healthy is tricky because it doesn't really mean anything. I'm suggesting traditional eggplant parm isn't healthy due to it's high amount of carbohydrates, refined fats, and animal products.
If your diet/bodily needs include those things- then go for it. I made my eggplant parm without animal products, without refined fats, and using minimal amounts of sprouted wheat. I also snuck an extra vegetable in there!

Check that beauty out! I ate the whole thing for dinner and I was so satisfied.

Keep reading for the recipe...

(serves 4)
1 Ezekiel Bun
1 medium sized eggplant
1 cup of coconut milk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
Various dried spices (I used basil, rosemary, parsley, tiny bit of cumin, and garlic)
3 large zucchinis
3 plum tomatoes and 1 container of cherry tomatoes
1/2 of a red pepper
splash of red wine
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
3oz tomato paste
1 cup cashews (soaked for 1 hour)
2 tsp lemon juice
3 more tbsp of nutritional yeast

That seems like very many ingredients but it's for all the components: eggplant, pasta, cheeze, and sauce!

I like to make the Sauce first so it can simmer:

Saute 1 yellow onion, diced,  in some water. Add the tomato paste when the water boils away and add more water as needed. Add the garlic in at this point.
In the food processor blend the tomatoes and red pepper until mostly smooth. Add that puree into the pot with the onion. Simmer! Eventually splash in some red wine and some basil/salt/pepper. The red peppers will keep it pretty sweet so you don't need to add sugar.

Next up, Eggplants:

Set a rack on top of your baking sheet. I used the top of a cooling rack, with the stands removed. It doesn't have to fit perfectly. This allows the eggplant to get crispy on the bottom. (shout-out for my chef friend Mike for that beautiful trick)
Slice the eggplant about 1/2 inch thick, I got 4 large slices.
Whisk the coconut milk, worcestershire sauce, and 2tbsp nutritional yeast.
In the food processor crumble the ezekiel bun into crumbs and add your spices.
Set it up in separate bowls.
Dip the eggplant in the milky sauce and really dunk it in there.
Dip in the breadcrumbs, pressing breadrumbs into both sides.
Gently place on the rack over your baking tray.
Repeat 4 times.
(if you're gluten free you can process some gluten free bread in there and it would be fine! You don't have to buy breadcrumbs - make them with whatever bread you like)

Bake at 300 degrees for a while (sorry I didn't time it) until the eggplant is tender and then crank the heat to 350-400 to crisp up the coating.

After you bake the eggplants, you'll want to cover them in cheeze:
After you soak the cashews simply process them with a little water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and a little salt and pepper.
Spread the cashew cheeze over the eggplants and put back in the oven for a bit until warm and then broil for 1 min (or so)

The eggplant is already coated in bread and Spaghetti from flour seems overkill so I'm making raw zucchini noodles:
Spiralize the zucchini on the small blade setting. Easy :) If you don't have a spiral slicer you can make thin noodles with a vegetable peeler.

Putting it all together:
Noodles down first with some sauce on top! The warmth of the sauce will soften the zucchini slightly.
Eggplant with Cheeze on the side.
It was so crispy and delicious! You could actually taste eggplant and I didn't use any oil! The cashews are a great source of fat so skip processed oils this time.
Italian food can totally be done vegan, even american-ized italian food!

What is your favorite "italian" dish to make at home? How do you make it work for you and your family?
Happy Eating!

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